Just a day prior to its first session of preseason testing, Haas F1 Team debuted its Formula One race car for the 2016 season: the “VF-16.” But even though the car looks like a rocket, team owner Gene Haas recently said he expects the team to be a backmarker for a few years—just like his NASCAR team was at first.

The team paired up with Ferrari for the season, and Autosport reports that the team called off its initial plans for a full pre-season launch. With that decision came the knowledge that the car would debut at preseason testing in Barcelona, Spain, but Haas F1 changed plans again in order to show off the car a day early.

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Haas F1 Team calls the car the “VF-16,” which the team said honors “the first CNC machine manufactured by Haas Automation, the VF-1, launched in 1988.” And while it’s a symbol of American pride on the F1 grid, most of the team’s work actually occurs in the United Kingdom rather than in the U.S.

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As for the people working on the Haas F1 cars and with the team, Haas managed to hire Guenther Steiner—who has manegerial experience at top levels of rally racing, as well as Jaguar Racing and Red Bull Racing in F1—as team principal. The drivers who will pilot the VF-16 are Romain Grosjean and former Scuderia Ferrari third driver Esteban Gutiérrez, and Steiner said Ferrari has been a huge help to the team prior to its first season. From the Haas announcement:

“... our methodology behind the VF-16 was to make it the best evolution of a good F1 car,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team. “We’re a new team, so we looked at what the successful teams were doing to give us a baseline of the direction we needed to go with our design.

“We have very experienced designers who worked hard to develop all the little things from an aerodynamic perspective that, collectively, add up to a lot. And our technical partner, Ferrari, provided our power unit, and that really defined the rear end of the car and how big it needed to be.

As for the car itself, below is the video Haas F1 Team used to unveil it. It looks good, and we’ll get to see how it drives this week in testing:

In addition to the video, here are a few photos of the new car:


Images via Haas F1 Team