Ferrari has made ‘amazing’ progress with its 2017 Formula 1 engine, says its customer team Haas.
While Ferrari’s own works team showed impressive pace with its new car over the four days of Barcelona testing this week, its revamped power unit also ran without major drama.
And for Haas, which suffered a spate of reliability issues throughout 2016 testing and racing, the steps that its Maranello partner have made over the winter have left it impressed.
Team principal Gunther Steiner said: “The engine and gearbox here, we had almost a flawless test with the same engine – we never changed engine.
“We had twice an electronics problem but it was a software problem, nothing big mechanical. They [Ferrari] have done a fantastic job in my opinion.
“To come out here with a new engine, a complete new engine, and be this reliable, it is amazing. If you look at the other ones around, and they are no dummies, they have quite a few issues.
“So from last year to this year [Ferrari] stepped up a lot and it is very good.”
Although a lot of teams have not yet started work on performance running, the early indications from the test are that there will be a super-tight midfield battle this season.
Haas appears to be in that pack, but Steiner says it is far too early to build up hopes of where exactly it can slot in.
“I think we made a step, but how good it is is difficult to say yet,” he explained.
“We are pretty happy. We still have some work to do to utilise it, but I think it is more like – we made a good step but have the others made an even a better step? We don’t know yet.
“The times are very confusing here. With the tyres it is pretty easy to see what they are doing, but the fuel loads are tricky to find out, or be certain about what is happening.
“In general, we are pretty confident we are in the mid pack. But are we at the top of the midpack or are we at the back? I don’t know yet.
“I just hope we are more to the middle of the midpack than last year.”