Hungarian Grand Prix – Haas have confirmed they will run their two cars in two separate specifications again this weekend in Budapest.
In an effort to address their car’s weaknesses, which the team haven’t actually quite figured out, Haas will run their cars in separate specifications again this weekend at the Hungaroring.
Unable to tell exactly where they have gone wrong with the updates introduced since the start of the season, Haas ran Romain Grosjean’s car in the specification it used for the season opener in Australia at both the British and German Grands Prix. Kevin Magnussen offered comparison by using the car in its latest specification, including new updates at Hockenheim. Grosjean finished P7 with Magnussen in P8 after the Alfa Romeo time penalties at Hockenheim.
With Hungary being the last race before the summer shutdown, Haas are chasing the most comparative data they can gather and will employ the same tactic again for the slower and twistier Hungaroring.
“Having compared the three specs at Hockenheim, we still haven’t come to a conclusion as to what is actually happening on our race pace – where we seem to be slow, but can do a good qualifying lap.” explained team boss Guenther Steiner. “So, we’ve decided to run again in Budapest – Grosjean with the Melbourne spec and Magnussen with the Hockenheim spec.”
As for what the team will actually be doing with the two sets of gathered data, Steiner said: “You take all the data and just try to compare where we can improve and see where we went off the plan. At the beginning of the season we were looking very competitive, then in the races after Melbourne, that’s not been the case anymore.”
“So, we need to understand what went sideways, and that is what you do when you compare two specs of car. Hopefully, we can get as much information as possible and come to a conclusion in which direction we need to work.”
Romain Grosjean has been very frank about his preference for the handling characteristics of the original specification Haas, even if it doesn’t quite offer the same potential performance as the more recent updates. Heading to a venue where he finished on the podium back in 2012, as well as finishing in the top ten on three other occasions, Grosjean says he has no idea what to expect this weekend: “We don’t really know how it’s going to go. We take everything race-by-race at the moment. For now, we’re in an experimental time as the car has been quite tricky to understand.”
“At some tracks where we thought we’d do well, we did not, and other tracks where we thought it was going to be a bit more tricky, things actually worked better. So, let’s just go race-by-race. Hungary is one of my favorite races of the year. I love the fans there, I love the circuit, the atmosphere, and it’s always the summer. It’s right before our summer break, so you know you can really go flat-out then recharge your batteries. I’m looking forward to going there.”
Kevin Magnussen, the guinea pig for the most recent specification VF-19, also couldn’t make any predictions, even with the circuit being similar in characteristics to Monaco where Haas were reasonably competitive: “It’s hard to say, really. We were strong in Monaco – that’s a pretty low-speed track, as is Hungary – but obviously not quite like Monaco. We’ll see when we get there. It’s pretty hard these days to make too many predictions.”