Haas are the latest team to confirm their driver line-up for 2020, and will keep both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
While Danish driver Kevin Magnussen was already known to be staying on at Haas for next year, the identity of the second driver was left up in the air in recent weeks. Team boss Guenther Steiner made it very clear that Romain Grosjean’s seat wasn’t guaranteed, especially after the pair had a few on-track incidents that cost the team dearly. Steiner outlined that the seat had become a direct head to head between Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg – the current Renault driver having lost his seat to Esteban Ocon for 2020.
However, on Thursday of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, Haas confirmed they will continue with Romain Grosjean for at least another season – the French driver having been with the team since the very start of their tenure within F1 in 2016. Magnussen & Grosjean have been a strong pairing over the years, scoring 166 points together since their pairing up in 2017 and the team’s best finish in their short history has been P5 in the 2018 Constructor’s Championship.
While 2019 has been a much more challenging season as the team have failed to figure out how to unlock the potential of the VF19, they’re keeping the faith with their drivers and Steiner says this stability allows them to figure out how to get on top of their issues: “Experience, and the need for it, has been one of the cornerstones of Haas F1 Team, and with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen racing for the team in 2020, we continue to have a driver lineup that offers us a solid platform to continue our growth.”
“Their understanding of how we work as a team, and our knowledge of what they can deliver behind the wheel, gives us a valued continuity and a strong foundation to keep building our team around. It’s been a tough year for us in 2019 with the fluctuation in performance of the VF-19, but our ability to tap into our combined experiences will help us learn, improve, and move forward as a unit in 2020.”
Grosjean, who entered Formula 1 with the Renault team in 2009, has finished on the podium 10 times over the year and has tallied up over half of the Haas team’s entire points haul since 2016 – 102 out of 195. Speaking in recent weeks about the head to head between himself and Hulkenberg, Grosjean said he felt he’d shown enough to keep his seat for 2020. After having his contract confirmed, he said: “I’ve always stated that it was my desire to remain with Haas F1 Team and keep building on the team’s accomplishments.”
“Having been here since the very beginning and seen the work both Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner put into the team to make it competitive, I’m naturally very happy to continue to be a part of that. To finish fifth in the constructors’ championship last season in only the team’s third year of competing was something very special. We’ve had our challenges this season, but we’ll use both the experience of last year and this year to move forward into 2020. I’m looking forward to working with Kevin (Magnussen) and the whole team and continuing our journey together.”
While Kevin Magnussen was never in doubt for 2020, the Danish driver says that his confirmed contract situation has meant he’s been able to get through a difficult 2019 without worrying about his future: “I’ve had the comfort of knowing I’d be continuing with the team in 2020 and that’s very much been a positive throughout what’s often been a difficult 2019 season.”
““Knowing we can work to make things better, improve our understanding of our situation, and get back to the level of competitiveness we showed last season – these are the things that excite me about 2020. We’re a team full of racers, led at the top by Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner. Nobody’s satisfied with how the 2019 season has played out, but the determination to turn things around is very much in evidence. I’m grateful the team have always believed in me and what I can bring to the table. We share a common goal and together with Romain (Grosjean), I’ll be giving it my all on-track for the remainder of this season and into 2020.”