German Grand Prix – Haas has confirmed that Romain Grosjean will, once again, run early-season spec parts on his car in a bid to understand their car’s shortcomings better.
Haas elected to experiment with their car setups for the last Grand Prix at Silverstone, with Romain Grosjean running his car in the specification used at the season opener in Australia back in March. Kevin Magnussen used the updated version of the car, with the aim being to gather as much data as possible to allow for a direct comparison and see what updates worked and what didn’t.
However, having managed to get through Friday and Saturday, the two drivers managed to ruin all their good work by running into each other on Lap 1 – forcing both of them into retirement through damage. Team boss Guenther Steiner was furious afterwards, saying that “the best that our drivers could bring to the battle was a shovel – to dig the hole we’re in even deeper.”
As a result of this, Haas will once again run different specification cars this weekend, with Grosjean again running in Australia-spec.
“We decided on this exercise to get data and understand better what the difference between the two cars is, good or bad, then we can see where we can make improvements.” explained Steiner. “We weren’t sure if the update we introduced in Barcelona was better or not. We’re running this again in Hockenheim, which is a different type of track with different temperatures – they’ll be a lot higher – and, as we all know, we couldn’t get a lot of data from the race at Silverstone from either of the cars.”
Grosjean has been vocal about his desire to use the original spec car, saying the feel of the car is much better without the upgrades: “When we brought the upgrade in Barcelona, I wanted to revert back on the Friday evening. For me, the feeling was not so good from the rear end, especially through medium- and high-speed corners. The feeling hasn’t been good in those corners since then. Going back to the Melbourne package, the car felt a lot better in those regions. It shows that something was not working as expected. Now the aero guys are looking into it, but we know it’s been our weakness. Obviously, that launch package has some limitations also. It has less downforce, but it has better stability.”
Haas are also rolling out a bigger upgrade package for the German Grand Prix, with Kevin Magnussen being the sole user of these. Steiner explained the changes that are being brought to the VF-19 for the German race: “We’ve changed a few parts on the car. There’s not one specific area we’re targeting. We’re just making the car, in general, better, more drivable with more downforce, which always helps you go fast. We’re trying to make the tires work better for us. That’s the biggest improvement we can make at the moment – getting into the window of the tire – and that’s got a lot to do with downforce.”
Magnussen says that the direct comparison of the latest spec on his car with Grosjean’s old spec from five months ago will allow the team to pinpoint where they’ve gone wrong over the first half of the season: “We’re still looking to experiment and learn as much as possible with the issues we’re having. Hopefully, the upgrades we bring to Hockenheim will give us not only more answers, but also more performance.”