Romain Grosjean says there is little hope of Haas being any higher than in the fight to escape Q1 in Belgium after a difficult Friday for the team.
Grosjean and team-mate Kevin Magnussen suffered unrelated power unit issues during the early stages of first practice and had to sit out the remainder of the session.
Haas’ mechanics had to undertake engine changes on both cars and the time taken to fit the units meant the duo were able to only join the action for the final half hour of FP2.
Grosjean and Magnussen finishes as the slowest of the 20 drivers – though the Franco-Swiss racer was within reach of the Ferrari and Williams drivers in spite of the lack of running.
“We at least managed to get out in the afternoon – the boys did a mega job,” said Grosjean, who hasn’t scored a point since last July’s German Grand Prix.
“The car didn’t feel too bad. We’re obviously not at the top of the timesheets, but that’s understandable after doing just one timed lap on a one lap tyre.
“Being two tenths away from [Sebastian] Vettel after having only done one lap, it’s not bad. The car actually felt good, so that’s nice, but we’ll pay the price for the straight line here.
“I believe we’ll be in the fight for 15th to 20th – I just don’t really see much more, but I hope I’m wrong.”
Magnussen added that “the car didn’t feel too bad, you only really get one lap on the C4 soft tyre – and that’s your first flying lap. It’ll come though.
“We’ll see where we are tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll get on top of the pace. You can’t just go into your first lap and be right on the pace. There’s a lot of lap time missing from us just getting up to pace.”