Australian Grand Prix – Haas lost out on a potentially very strong double points finish at Albert Park, with both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen retiring with loose wheels.
Both Haas drivers were enjoying strong races early on in Australia, with Kevin Magnussen jumping past Max Verstappen to take P4 out of Turn 1. Romain Grosjean, running P6, moved up past Verstappen when the Red Bull driver spun, leaving the two Haas’ P4 & P5 respectively approaching the first pitstops.
Magnussen came in first, emerging back on track in P9, but slowed going down the straight towards Turn 3. He pulled off the track and radioed in to report he felt a suspension failure, but replays showed that the pit crew were waving to try stopping the car during the pitstop. It appeared to be a loose wheel that caused his retirement, which would have felt like a suspension failure to the driver.
Mere moments later, Romain Grosjean came in for his stop and the exact same situation unfolded. The pitcrew at the front left wheel waved frantically after the tyre change, but the car was released. Grosjean stopped on the inside of the exit of Turn 2, triggering the Virtual Safety Car that ended up decisive for the final results.
Speaking after his retirement, Kevin Magnussen said: “It’s a tough one to swallow for us for both cars to exit from great positions. We had so much anticipation coming to this race, and then we get into a great position. It’s heartbreaking to finish like that. We’ll fight back, though, and get back on top.”
Romain Grosjean was similarly downbeat, saying: “We had a good car all weekend, we were happy with pace everywhere – low fuel, high fuel loads. I could have stayed with frontrunners a bit more if I had been ahead of Kevin. We have to figure out what happened and we’ll come back stronger next time. We need to figure out whether the problem was with the guns or the mechanics, but we had no problems in testing. Lots of points lost today.”
The team have been fined 5000 US dollars per offence for releasing a car in unsafe condition, so 10000 in total for the two cars.