As the Haas F1 Team heads into its third season of Grand Prix racing, Romain Grosjean believes it is armed with the best car the young team has ever had.

The US outfit has undoubtedly gained in maturity since it embarked on its epic F1 adventure 24 months ago. But an opening round always offers its own set of challenges as performance is blended with reliability on a full-scale race weekend for the very first time.

Keeping the gremlins at bay will be an important factor in Melbourne, but also in the first few races of the season, to help Haas settle in with its new VF-18 charger.

“I think for 2018, we’ve prepared very well, and early on,” said Grosjean before heading down under.

“I’m hoping we’ve done a great job. Obviously, we’re going to see from the first races where we are, then try and keep up the development. I think this year’s a bit more straightforward.

    Grosjean lurking in the wings at Le Mans drive!

Indeed, teams had new regulations to contend with at the outset in 2017 while this season sees an evolution of everyone’s design.

Based on its performance in pre-season testing, Haas has a solid foundation from which to grow its performance this year.

“The VF-18 has a very good baseline. The feeling I get in the car is very good, which is the main thing. It’s a good-looking car,” explained the Frenchman.

“We know where we can update it and try to get more performance from it. We’re going to work on that. I think it has a good consistency and a very good platform that all of us, as drivers, want.

“I think it’s the best car we’ve ever had so far for Haas F1 Team.”

Still, as good as the “white Ferrari” – as paddock insiders have named the VF-18 – appears to be, a solid start to the first part of the year would likely go a long way towards helping Haas’ cause further down the road when it enters the thick of its development programme and fights to hold its own in F1’s massively competitive mid-field.

“Early on in the season it’s really key to get reliability,” confirmed Grosjean.

“It allows you to get results you maybe weren’t expecting.

“Hopefully, that’s going to be on our side, then we can score quite a lot of points early on and stay in the fight for a good constructors position.”

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