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Haas not getting carried away by rival comments ahead of F1 debut

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner is taking positive comments from other teams on the F1 grid with a pinch of salt ahead of its debut in 2016.

Haas will join the grid this year with Ferrari engines, a close relationship which prompted the FIA to tighten up rules to prevent collusion on aerodynamic testing in future after Mercedes asked for clarification on the regulations during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Haas has made extensive use of Ferrari's Maranello wind tunnel and facilities to develop its car and will enter the championship with the engine which finished 2015 a close second to Mercedes.

This has prompted some to speculate Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez could immediately challenge the midfield, with Sergio Perez recently predicting the team could fight with Force India "straight away". However, Steiner has moved to play down expectations around the American team.

"It's positive to hear, but it's talk," Steiner told GPUpdate about comments made by rival teams. "What we need to be careful of is not to believe the propaganda of what people are saying. As I've said, it's always very difficult to predict, because everybody else [could have] developed better things.

"You don't know who moves where. If they all did a fantastic job, to get into the lower midfield will be difficult.There's a lot of big talk about us, which is nice to hear, but I don't get carried away, I try to stay realistic."

Haas is on track to make the opening winter test in Barcelona on February 22 and will attempt the FIA's mandatory crash tests later this week. Steiner says Haas is not getting carried away by setting targets before it has even completed a lap.

"We haven't put a wheel on the ground yet. We will, obviously, but I'm not predicting that we are going to beat Force India, you know. They were fifth, so I would say they're doing a pretty good job. I always say, even to come last in Formula One is a big job - it's not as easy as it looks.

"We don't target anybody because we don't know how good they are [going to be] ...what we would like to get is the lower midfield -- we don't want to be last."