Romain Grosjean reckons the issues Haas F1 Team faced in the Bahrain GP was down to the tyre performance as he feels the car will be fine in Chinese GP.
Haas had a strong run in Australia until another pit failure for Grosjean – although Kevin Magnussen brought the car home well in sixth position. It looked like the fourth best team, even ahead of Renault and in fact, closer to Red Bull Racing.
The American team continued its upward performance in Bahrain qualifying with both cars into Q3. However, it nose-dived in the grand prix on Sunday where they expected lower pace but not the kind they saw where Magnussen finished a lap down.
A clash with Racing’s Lance Stroll at the start compromised Grosjean’s race but the Frenchman believes the issue the team faced was largely tyre related because the car was same as in Melbourne with no significant upgrade brought in for the Middle Eastern race.
Grosjean says the post-GP test gave them to run some programmes to identity the issue which points towards tyre co-operation. “Bahrain wasn’t our best showing in terms of race pace,” said the Frenchman ahead of Chinese GP weekend.
“Unfortunately, that was the feeling I had from the Friday of the weekend. We didn’t quite manage to get on top of it. Saying that, I didn’t do much of the race, so it’s hard to judge if what we had done on my car was good enough. I think China’s going to be great.
“It’s a very different circuit. I think we’ve got some good tools to get ready for China and our testing in Bahrain has been another good opportunity to learn a bit more about what happened in the race there.
“It has to be tyre-usage related because the car is the same as we had in Melbourne and in preseason testing, where we were fast and we were fast again in qualifying in Bahrain. We’ve got the downforce and we’ve got the balance.
“We just need a little bit more cooperation on the tires. If we can process the information from testing, we should be fine for the race.” Teammate Magnussen did not dwell into the reasoning but pinned on the Bahrain test for answers.
“We had very strong qualifying pace but, unfortunately, the race pace wasn’t as strong, which was very disappointing for the whole team, of course,” he said. “Fortunately, we had the test after the race which will have allowed the team to evaluate.”
As mentioned above, Haas looks like the fourth best team currently especially after Renault’s Bahrain failure but team principal Guenther Steiner doesn’t want to pinpoint its exact position, although he feels they are in the upper midfield.
“It’s a good car, but we still need to find where we really are,” he said. “It looks like we’re in the top group of the midfield. Obviously, with the new regulations a lot of things changed. It’s an evolution.
“We used what was good on the previous car – we didn’t reinvent it – but we adapted it in a very good way to the new rules. Everyone did a very good job over the winter. I expect us to still be in the upper midfield in Shanghai.”
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Check out tyres selected by drivers for China