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8 F1 2018 predictions: Haas bottom of constructors' championship

Written by  Feb 01, 2018

As the calendar changes to February, excitement is building ahead of the 2018 Formula 1 season with car launches and the first winter test to take place in the next four weeks.

With that in mind, it's time to look ahead to what is anticipated to be one of the most competitive year's in F1 in recent memory and make eight bold predictions as to how it will all play out and to start let's look at the back of the grid and why Haas could end the season earning the wooden spoon.

The American team stood still in 2017 as, despite being more consistent than in their debut year and scoring 18 more points, they ended in the same eighth place in the constructors' standings they achieved in 2016.

In Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, Haas does have two dependable drivers behind the wheel, however, while they have maintained stability, a concern is those around them last year are likely to make big gains this.

McLaren, who finished ninth last year, was already ahead of Haas in the pecking order by the end of the year and now with Renault power, have set their sights on the big three.

Perhaps their main competition is Sauber, who did bring up the standings last year and in 2018, is relying on rookie Charles Leclerc to show the potential he did in F2 alongside Marcus Ericsson, who was the only driver to compete at every race and not finish in the top 10.

Both will use the most upto date Ferrari engine this year but the Swiss team, which has a history of creating a strong chassis, is overhauling their design after last year's car was underdeveloped due to financial problems.

And it is in this area where Sauber could gain an advantage too, with Haas admitting they ended work too early on last year's car and, as still a young team, have struggled to maintain the pace of development during the season.

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The most likely team to slip back would be Toro Rosso, in part due to the Honda engine which, despite much improvement, will continue as the worst performing of the four makes of power units on the grid, but also their inexperienced line-up of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley, who have yet to score a point in their F1 career's.

What goes in favour for the junior Red Bull team though, is the resources available to Honda to keep finding gains and the chassis produced by technical director James Key is very often one of the best in the midfield.

Haas has the ability to follow the example set by Force India and become a strong lower budget team which punches above its weight but it needs to overcome the problems which continue to hinder them as they gain experience of competing in F1.

Will they do that in 2018? It's hard to tell.

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