Russian Grand Prix – Haas will run a mixture of two specification aero packages on their cars this weekend at Sochi for the Russian GP.
Haas will be running a mixture of two of their aerodynamic specifications this weekend in Russia. The team experimented with specs between the British and Hungarian Grands Prix prior to the summer break, with Romain Grosjean driving with the Australia-spec VF-19 and Kevin Magnussen in the most recently available aero-spec.
Following the summer break, both drivers have been using the latest specification aero package available (ie. the Germany upgrades). Spa-Francorchamps and Monza require low downforce settings, which required the latest spec package to be used. The latest spec was then kept on the cars for Singapore, albeit in high downforce settings.
For Russia this weekend, as planned a few weeks ago, Haas will re-introduce elements of the Australia-spec aero package as they continue to try to find ways to figure out their car. Having struggled for pace once again in Singapore, both Grosjean and Magnussen will run VF-19s which are a mish-mash of the Australia-spec and the latest-spec aero packages.
Guenther Steiner explained that this work will continue throughout the remainder of 2019, as it’s all valuable information for 2020 with stable regulations: “Obviously, all this work is brought forward to next year, because next year’s car will be an evolution, as there’s no regulation change. This year it was a new regulation, so whatever we learn on this car we can implement on next year’s car. That was our aim from halfway through the season when we realized we were struggling with our car. We want to make sure not to make the same mistakes on next year’s car – that was our main aim from midway through this season.”
Romain Grosjean has been the guinea pig for swapping between the different specs throughout the last third of the season. He explained that correlation between data and the real world has been the toughest task for Haas in recent times: “We’ve brought updates during the year on the car, and those updates haven’t really been working as expected. So, we’re really trying to understand where the correlation from the wind tunnel to the track is. That’s why we’re going to try a different setup, a different aero package on the car, and see if we can actually get a clear understanding and prepare as good as we can for 2020.”
Explaining why they’ve taken the decision to use the mixed package at Sochi this weekend, Grosjean said: “We need to understand why the new package wasn’t giving us the rear downforce that we want and expect. Sochi is a difficult circuit to generate tire temperature. If we get the rear downforce, then we should be able to generate the temperatures. Also, the consistency through the corner on a low-grip circuit is very important. If we get to that point, where we get the consistency from the chassis and the aerodynamics and the downforce to generate the grip with the tires, that’s what you want to get in Sochi. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”