Grosjean compares Haas 2019 problems to Lotus in 2014

Haas’ Romain Grosjean says the team’s ongoing correlation problems remind him of the same issues he had at Lotus in 2014.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean says the ongoing performance issues with the team’s troublesome VF-19 remind him of the same problems his former Lotus team had back in 2014. With Haas with a seemingly fundamentally fast car, their inability to unlock its potential is understood to be mainly linked to being unable to get the tyres to work within the correct working windows most of the time. This is apparently due to a correlation problem between what their simulations say the car should be doing, and what it’s doing in reality.

Speaking to the official Formula 1 website, Grosjean compared the situation to what he experienced back in 2014 while driving for Lotus (now the Renault team):

“Lotus 2014 was a really good example,” Grosjean said. “I was told in January 2014 that the car was good enough to be world champion, which I believed at the time. I believed! Obviously, it was not.”

“What we were seeing in the wind tunnel and what we were seeing on the track was a very different situation,” he explained. “It took until after [the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix] to actually get everyone to agree and understand that there were big correlation issues, and they made some really good work after that, they understood it and 2015 was much better.”

“There’s a lot of correlation issues, yeah,” Grosjean continued. “The rest is downforce, also, and it’s not really good in terms of pure numbers. But the biggest issues [are] correlation – behaviour on track versus wind tunnel.

“If you believe wind tunnel and everything, it’s all good and it’s all getting better. If you believe the lap time and feeling and what we’re measuring on track… not so much. So that’s what we’re really trying to analyse at the minute: what’s really the problem, and [what’s] causing the correlation issue?”

However, the VF-19 has shown on occasion that it has plenty of speed over a single lap. Grosjean, now confirmed alongside Kevin Magnussen for 2020 for another season at Haas, says that finding the turning point should mark a significant upturn in performance: “I think we honestly started [2019] pretty well.”

“And if you think that I raced in Hockenheim and Budapest with the old [Australia-spec] car and qualified sixth and ninth, or something like that, it’s quite amazing over one-lap pace,” Grosjean continued.

“Race pace is a different story because the tyres are not new anymore. And if you’re lacking the ultimate downforce you’re going to struggle with a car [on tyres that are] 14-laps old…

“At the minute we really don’t know how to make it quicker. First it’s correlation, and then we can start having some fun,” he concluded.

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Thomas Maher

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