MELBOURNE, Australia -- Twelve months ago Haas left the season-opening Australian Grand Prix distraught after suffering a double DNF and failing to capitalise on their best ever qualifying performance.
Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were running in P4 and P5 respectively before a pair of botched tyre changes in successive laps saw them grind to a halt on track. Incredibly, both cars had an issue with the left rear tyre and in the blink of an eye, 22 championship points -- which ultimately would have been enough to promote the team to fourth in the constructors' championship, ahead of Renault -- vanished before them.
Fast forward to Albert Park in 2019 and Haas once again enjoyed a strong Saturday with Grosjean qualifying in P6 and Magnussen back in P7. As expected, plenty in the paddock have brought up the events of 12 months ago, but team boss Guenther Steiner insists there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
"I'm as confident as I can be because last year, after we had the debacle here, we didn't do anything wrong [for the rest of the season]," Steiner said. "There's nothing specific about this track which makes us leave the wheels loose. We've had a good preparation. If we do our job like the rest of last year, we'll be fine."
Magnussen echoed Steiner's words, claiming the team went to extreme lengths in the off-season with its pit-stop practice to ensure the errors seen in 2018 don't ever resurface.
"The team has done like 300 pit-stops leading up to this race, whereas last year it was more like 20 or something. Maybe not even," Magnussen said after qualifying. "You can never say 100 percent sure nothing will happen, but we've prepared a lot better this year. That's the first box ticked."
Grosjean added: "We've had 20 races since that insanity in Melbourne and we've had some good ones. I think Austria there was a lot of pressure on the team, when we were running 4th, so I think we're good. I have got absolutely no worries for tomorrow."
Haas looked impressive throughout winter testing in Barcelona but few would have expected them to be less than four tenths of a second off the pace of a Ferrari in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.
Steiner says the team was always quietly confident with their car, crediting the hard work that was going on behind the scenes.
"We were never concerned with our car," Steiner said. "We knew we were around there, but we didn't know where the other ones were.
"We've just got good people, it's as simple as this. We started [working on the 2019 car] pretty early last year and still kept the other car going. It's down to the people in the team which worked hard and understood what we wanted to do.
"Everybody wanted to get better and instead of going home at five o'clock they stayed two hours longer If you get better, you get faster as well and move forward."