2016 F1

Grosjean gave Haas F1 credibility to sign staff – boss

2016 Haas F1 team boss Gunther Steiner and driver Romain Grosjean

2016 Haas F1 team boss Gunther Steiner and driver Romain Grosjean

Signing Romain Grosjean is helping to attract staff to F1’s new American outfit Haas, boss Gunther Steiner says.

Founded by Nascar team co-owner and machine tool magnate and billionaire Gene Haas, Haas is debuting in 2016 with the strong backing and support of Ferrari.

But Steiner told Sky Sports that it is the high-profile signing of French driver Romain Grosjean that is giving Haas credibility when it comes to signing up staff.

He admitted that in F1 at the moment, “it is more difficult to attract people and be credible after a few teams have gone out of business in the last year”.

“So that was my biggest challenge to convince people, but the signing of Romain helped a lot to give it credibility as people said ‘If Romain Grosjean – one of the best drivers in F1 – joins the team he should know what he is doing as he has been in the business for a long time, so he must have done his due diligence’,” Steiner said.

“A lot of good people applied for a job with us after that.”

He denied, however, that one of the signings will be someone as high-profile as Rob Smedley, a leading engineer at the British team Williams and formerly with Ferrari.

“Established people (are coming), but no big names,” said Steiner. “There is no Adrian Newey for example.”

He said Haas is targeting Q2 and a points finish on debut in Australia, having reported just before Christmas that work on the 2016 car is on schedule.

“We will start to produce a car in mid-January, we will do the crash test at the beginning of January and then we will start to put one together,” said Steiner.

“We will roll it out hopefully the day before the testing starts.”

He added that a decision on the colour of the livery is yet to be taken.

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