Oxnard-based Haas Automation’s new Formula 1 racing team had a nice showing in its inaugural race on the open-wheel circuit.
French driver Romain Grosjean finished near the front with a surprising sixth place finish in the Australian Grand Prix on March 20.
New Formula 1 teams traditionally serve apprenticeships at the back of the pack during their first seasons. With Grosjean’s high finish in the 22-car field, though, Haas is on everyone’s radar.
Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez also drives for the new Haas Automation team and had a close call during the race. Spanish driver Fernando Alonso clipped the left rear of Gutierrez’s car heading into a soft right turn.
Alonso’s car careened into a gravel pit and flipped over twice before hitting a tire wall. Gutierrez’s car spun out harmlessly into the same gravel pit. Incredibly, both drivers walked away from the crash.
Hass Automation, a manufacturer of industrial machine tools, started its Formula 1 team in 2014. Originally slated for a 2015 debut, Haas later delayed its debut until 2016.
Since 2002, Haas Automation founder Gene Haas has also owned a NASCAR team.
• Contact Philip Joens at [email protected]