Haas’ NASCAR experience helped the team in its Formula One debut, according to team owner Gene Haas. The American team joined NASCAR back in 2002 and struggled to make an impact in the series. Learning from the mistakes they made fourteen years ago helped Haas at the start of their first season in F1. “Our first year in NASCAR was a really arduous task,” Haas told the team website. “We always ran at the back and we did it for like six years straight and never had much luck. We started in NASCAR in 2002 and the competition for drivers and crew chiefs was intense and we just struggled. “Everything we learned that we did wrong in NASCAR we avoided in Formula One, and the most important thing was immediately seeing what works and what doesn’t work. “We learned that the hard way in NASCAR, so when we went to Formula One our focus was not so much on how we did things, but who we did things with.” Haas said his team accomplished its major goals and surpassed expectations at the start of the year. It finished eighth in the championship with five points finishes. But none of that would have been achieved if it hadn’t changed a key part of the car early on. The American team ran a close partnership with Ferrari in their first season. Haas brought any parts the regulations allowed them to from Ferrari, as well as their engine. But that wasn’t the original plan. “When we first started in Formula One, the whole idea was that we were going to make everything ourselves,” Haas said. “We were going to be the traditional constructor where we were going to make our own chassis, suspension, components and aero. “But it was a massive undertaking, so we reversed course a bit and said ‘Ok, who could we partner with?’, because this is such a monumental task there’s no way that we can accomplish this in the eight or nine months we had to do it. So we had a complete change in strategy. That’s when we ended up partnering with Ferrari.” The success in their debut season puts pressure on Haas to build on 2016 going into “year two”. Though a new car and a new set of regulations will pose a new challenge, Haas believes his team will be able to move forwards. Haas pointed out that they have less to prepare for their second season in F1, but less time for what they do need to prepare before the season begins. “It’ll be just as challenging as it was last year, but I think with the knowledge we have, we should actually perform a little bit better this year. “If we can do a little bit better because our business model in Formula One allows us to operate more efficiently, we might be able to move up a position or two.” Magnussen is also hoping to move forward this season. For more Formula One news and discussions head over to the RaceDepartment Formula One sub forum and join in with your fellow community members. Do you think Haas will move forward this season? Let us know in the comments below!