Guenther Steiner got emotional with points finish for Haas F1 Team in Hungarian GP courtesy Kevin Magnussen as Romain Grosjean affected by contact.
It’s been a while since the Haas F1 team have been given a reason to smile. The financial situation is always in question which expanded due to pandemic. And then, upon on their return to racing in Austria at the start of this month, they suffered a double-DNF.
Styria was not better for the team as both cars finished outside the points, even though they felt better there. However, the F1 Hungarian GP was a turn of fortunes for the American team, as they – through a brilliant strategy – got one of their cars in the points.
Originally, Magnussen finished a solid ninth but he was later be demoted to 10th as the FIA penalised Haas for instructing their drivers to pit on the formation lap. Reflecting on the mini-win for the team, Steiner said that it was an emotional race, especially after all they’ve been through to get to this point.
“I mean, it’s important for all the people, we were in furlough for three, four months before going to Austria and the results there weren’t fantastic to say the least,” said Steiner. “The guys have been on the road now for third week, so going away from here and – now they have a weekend off, fortunately – going away from here with points is something which is like a morale booster.
“You don’t have to speak any more. Points speak for themselves for a race team. So I think everybody did a good job. Nobody gave up and we got some points. That’s the most important thing. It’s emotional because we’re going through a hard time with the pandemic, our financials, sending people on furlough, it’s all things you have to do.
“Then you come back in and the car is not what you wanted it to be and so on. So it is quite emotional for me, and you know how much I put into this one. And how much the guys put it. I’m just happy for everybody here because it shows that even in a very bad situation we can get something out of it, if you don’t give up and keep on working,” summed up Steiner.
Adding more on the significance of a point as they fight against the likes of AlphaTauri, Williams and Alfa Romeo Racing, Steiner, stressed the importance of the team being opportunistic in times like these – especially due to the short 2020 F1 season.
“I expected qualifying to be better and we made up for it in the race and I will enjoy these points but it’s fairly difficult for us to get points at the moment,” said Steiner. And especially some of the races which are coming up, they’re not in our favor, so we always try to do our best and maybe we can find some opportunity like we get today, you never know.
“If you give up you never find the opportunity so you need to keep on trying to find something. But you don’t expect it,” summed up Steiner. Magnussen, meanwhile, was understandably thrilled with his Top 10 finish. “I’m so happy, I mean the team had an amazing call before the start of the race, on the formation lap to go on slicks,” he said.
“That was an amazing call from the team. Really strong from them to give me that trust, to put me out on dry tires in these conditions. It wasn’t easy, and they gave me that trust, and it worked out. The pace was there, I was able to get the tyres alive, and then move all the way up. I started from the pitlane, and in a few laps I was P3 or something.
“I knew P3 wasn’t for us, but that was an amazing starting position in the race. I just thought I’d try and hold onto it for as long as I could. I was thinking, trying to judge where I might be able to hang on, because there’s no point in trying to hang on to P4 or P5. I’d just lose too much time. I was thinking and asking the team, ‘where do you think I’m going to be?’
“Eventually it was P9 [P10]. I opened the gap to the Ferraris, who would have thought that? I was able to keep the McLaren’s at bay. It just shows what a good car we have in the race, and it proves that the team has done an amazing job even though we were struggling a little bit in qualifying,” summed up Magnussen, whose efforts were hailed by Steiner.
Teammate Grosjean was less gleeful but Haas credited his efforts as his holding up job helped Magnussen to stay afloat in the points. While the out-and-out pace gave him something to celebrate, he seemingly had contact with Red Bull Racing’s Alexander Albon that damaged his car. In the end, the Frenchman finished P16 after penalty.
Interestingly, the move wasn’t aired on TV and no video footage has been shared by F1 so far. Although, a radio call around Lap 33 has Grosjean discussing about floor damage as he started losing pace and also places to drop outside the Top 10.
“It was a good move from the team,” said Grosjean. “I had radioed and said it was too dry for the inters, so we took the gamble. The first few laps were a bit hairy but after that things worked really well. The pace was good. I started to have graining on the front left tire, we hadn’t protected it enough.
“Anyway, it was going okay, then sadly – and I need to review it, Albon had quite a late move on me at turn one, he hit my front wing and damaged it. I had much less performance in the car after that. We tried but things went out of sync after that, we just couldn’t stay in the points.”
Here’s details of the post-race investigations including Haas
Here’s how the F1 Hungarian GP panned out
Here’s what Guenther Steiner said regarding F1 Concorde Agreement
The story was edited by Darshan Chokhani