Having made a strong début in Formula 1 in 2016, the Haas F1 team is feeling confident that it can do even better this year.
“It’ll be just as challenging as it was last year," said team owner Gene Haas.
"I think with the knowledge we have, we should actually perform a little bit better this year.
"I think by the end of last season we silenced the critics and, now, most people see us as a serious competitor."
Haas got off to a dream start in 2016 when Romain Grosjean finished in the points in Australia. The team was later beset by reliability issues but still took eighth place in the constructors championship.
“I wouldn’t say that normally the second season is harder than the first one, but a lot of people predicted that we would have big issues," remarked Haas F1 Team principal Guenther Steiner.
"But they predicted as well before the first year that we would have big issues, and we didn’t have them.
“This year I could see that we were better prepared, which is natural because we’ve already done one year.
"We know a lot more, which just comes from experience. We’ve got one year of experience. All our partners, Ferrari and Dallara, they were better prepared, again, because they had one year of experience.
"All in all, it went a lot smoother," he summarised. "The preparation was a lot better for us this year than last year. I hope also the performance of the car is better.
"Testing went very well. I hope we’ve got a little bit of luck, as well, in the first race, like we had last year, and can take points home.
"We know the second year is harder and so we tried to prepare as best as we could for it. Let’s wait a few races and then see what we’ve achieved.”