After two races, the Haas F1 team have already secured more points in Formula 1 than HRT, Caterham and Manor have achieved in five years of racing at the highest level.
For a debutant team, the performances put in by Haas firstly in Australia and then in Bahrain have been nothing short of brilliant. They've raced well, implemented perfect strategy and have got to grips with the new tyre compounds already to post sixth-placed and fifth-placed finishes respectively.
Inevitably, this early-season success has stirred jealousy and criticism within the paddock of the midfield teams, who have dubbed the team 'Ferrari-Lite', a nod to the loophole tactics Haas deployed of using as many Scuderia listed parts for the car as they can get away with.
For team boss Guenther Steiner, it's water off a duck's back; in fact, he sees the criticism as a compliment:
"I would rather we were criticised for being good than people feeling sorry for us because we’re so bad".
Steiner added that it would've been arrogant to assume that Haas could take the same approach as HRT, Caterham and Manor and produce better results as opposed to opting for the model they adopted:
"Sometimes you need to change the plan, and now it’s up to the other teams to do what they need to do. The regulations are the same for everybody".
There is something of a catch-22 for Haas this year, however. Regulations and absurd F1 rules means that Haas won't see a penny of the prize-money on offer for teams finishing ninth or above in the Constructors Championship. They'd have to wait until 2018 before they can start claiming money and profiting from the sport. Why? Only Bernie can answer that one. Nonetheless, a strong finish in their opening season will pave the way for lucrative sponsoring (and mass exposure for the Haas brand) in 2017.
Judging by the opening two races- never a guarantee of how the season will pan out- Haas have it in them to finish as high as seventh. Ninth place is effectively in the bag, whilst the US outfit have shown they have more about them than McLaren and perhaps even Force India this season. It'd be a brilliant opening season if they do finish seventh, and more importantly it'd be great for a sport that has been plagued by accusations that it's just a club for the big three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull to parade their brand around a circuit for two hours.
With rumours that Sauber may be on the verge of bankruptcy, the drift of bad news is never far away in F1. Hopefully the murmurings that Ferrari will bail out Sauber with a view to rebranding them as Alfa Romeo are true...