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Romain Grosjean: Big start less important in 2017

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Romain Grosjean says Haas naturally wants to emulate its points-scoring debut at the Australian Grand Prix, though he thinks the team should be more focused on finishing the season on an upward swing.

Grosjean drove to sixth in Australia last year at Haas' first race since joining the grid, a result he bettered at the next race in Bahrain, where he finished fifth. Despite the strong start to the season, F1's newest team suffered numerous problems as the year progressed, with ongoing brake issues still a concern going into the new campaign.

The Australian Grand Prix is renowned for producing surprise results and giving smaller teams a chance of grabbing a big haul of points, but Grosjean thinks a fast start will be less important in 2017 with such big gains to be made from Formula One's new cars throughout the year.

When asked how important it would be to score points in the opening races, Grosjean said: "I think this year it's actually going to be the opposite. This year, if you had to choose, I think you'd want to start slow and finish hard, and not the opposite.

"This is because in 2018 the cars are going to be very similar to 2017, and therefore if you're finishing on a high it means you've understood the regulations and everything's going well. Your next car will be on that trend. We really want to keep the development going and push through the year, improving race after race."

Haas enjoyed an impressive winter campaign with few reliability issues. Team boss Guenther Steiner believes the team's form in Barcelona highlights the lessons the team learned in its rookie campaign.

"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 [this year]," Steiner said. But they predicted as well before the first year that we would have big issues, and we didn't have them. The preparation was a lot better for us this year than last year, so I hope also the performance of the car is better.

"Anyway, testing went very well, and 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."