The early success of the new F1 team Haas is splitting opinion in the paddock.
While some hail Romain Grosjean’s double points-scoring efforts in Australia and Bahrain, others wonder if the close alliance with Ferrari is really a good thing for F1.
Frenchman Grosjean, meanwhile, is delighted at his decision to leave Enstone on the eve of the new works Renault project.
“Some people said it was suicide for my career,” he told L’Equipe, “but I’m sorry for those guys who were wrong.”
Indeed, former McLaren and Ferrari driver Stefan Johansson is impressed, not only with Grosjean but the new Haas model of becoming effectively a ‘B’ team.
“If you look at Sauber, Force India, Manor and the rest who sit at the back of the grid and rise or fall a little bit every year and wind up being similar at the end of day, you have to ask why” he said on his blog.
“What Haas has done seems to me to be the obvious way to go.”
Johansson says he has worked closely in the past with Pat Symonds, who declared last week that he thinks the Haas ‘model’ threatens the very notion of what a F1 constructor is.
“Well,” Johansson commented, “something has to change.
“When the bottom teams are spending close to $100m per year, something is seriously wrong. Everyone in the paddock is well aware that the model is unsustainable, yet everyone seems shocked at what Haas has done.
“Shame on everyone else for not adopting the same idea,” he added.
It is undeniable, however, that all of Haas’ F1 rivals at the moment are fundamentally full constructors, so Force India thinks the new team could run into trouble when it comes to developing in 2016 and preparing for 2017.
“The more stringent the rules regarding wind tunnel and CFD usage become, the more difficult the work between these manufacturer and client teams will be,” deputy boss Bob Fernley is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport.
Sauber team manager Beat Zehnder agreed: “What will they do in five years, when the rules are even stricter and you have to build the whole car yourself?”