Guenther Steiner values Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen’s partnership as the drivers cautious on 2020 F1 season performance.
While Haas’ performances have seen an up and down phenomenon in the last few F1 seasons, the one thing that has remained constant since 2017 has been their driver line-up, with Grosjean and Magnussen being the American team’s drivers of choice since then.
And in the eyes of Haas team principal Steiner, this partnership longevity has benefited, and will continue to be fruitful for the F1 team, as the Italian praised the duo for the good camaraderie ahead of the first Barcelona pre-season test.
“The biggest thing from having drivers paired together for so long is that as a team we have quite a good understanding of where they’re good and where they’re not,” said Steiner. “We can then focus on areas where one is better than the other and so on.
“I think also, the respect between them, is quite good. They look at each other and they don’t need to put a show on or anything like that. They’ve known each other a long time. It’s pretty good to have that relationship.
“In general, there’s a good understanding between the two of them, and there were some hard lessons learned last year in a car that was underperforming. Those lessons learned will be applied into this year.” It was indeed a difficult time in 2019 F1 season.
It did cause some troubles between the drivers too at one point but it was all sorted out. The biggest worry for Haas is their performance in 2020 after the troubles in 2019. Looking ahead, Grosjean hopes that they avoid lull and keep F1 testing form in the season too.
“It’s important to get a good first feel of the car [during these tests],” said Grosjean. “You want to feel comfortable in a new car. We’re normally quite effective at knowing quickly if the car is good or not. We’ve also learned a lot from 2019, when testing went well, but the rest of the season not so much.
“I think issues were masked by the fact that we had been fast in Barcelona at the start of the year. Then in some F1 races we were fast but in others not. We’ll use testing to cover as many different scenarios as we can.” Magnussen went in-depth with similar thoughts.
“I think, generally, you try to approach testing the same way independent of your own expectations and fears or worries,” he said. “You try to go about it in a professional way, and you try to help the team as well as you can. You have to do what it takes to get yourself up to speed.
“Then you’re just hopeful, and maybe anxious, about getting a good car. You just have to make sure you help the team the best way you can to correct any faults or weaknesses there might be with the car. In the last two F1 pre-season tests, the team has provided a car that’s felt very good and very competitive.
“In 2018 that then proved to be very competitive throughout the season, leading to our top-five placing. We didn’t achieve that in 2019, but at least in pre-season testing the car felt very quick, and we showed over the season that it was very quick at times.
“It just had some weaknesses that proved to be a big problem in the races. I’m confident that the team is going to provide another good car this year. Hopefully we’ve learned from the mistakes of last year so we can have a good season. I’m very confident on that.”
Haas became the first F1 team to reveal their 2020 colours last week as they return to their old scheme aboard the VF-20 after going black and gold in 2019 due to Rich Energy. The car will be officially unveiled on Day 1 of Barcelona test on February 19.
2020 F1 car/livery launches:
Haas – livery
Mercedes – livery
Renault – renders only
Mercedes – car
Alfa Romeo – shakedown
The story was edited by Darshan Chokhani