Hungarian Grand Prix – Haas drivers Romain Grosjean & Kevin Magnussen have quelled speculation they aren’t getting along after recent track clashes.
Much has been made of the relationship between the two Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen after several recent on-track clashes that haven’t always been completely clean. A spirited overtake and defence from Magnussen in Spain eventually resulted in Grosjean losing positions and points, but it was the British Grand Prix where it appeared to escalate.
With the team under the spotlight for off-track sponsor issues, as well as needing to run separate specifications on their cars to attempt to figure out setup problems, Grosjean and Magnussen made light contact entering the Wellington Straight on the first lap at Silverstone. The touch was minor, but both drivers suffered punctures and the resulting damage meant both were out by Lap 9. Team boss Guenther Steiner was incandescent with bristling rage afterwards, stating that ‘both drivers are in trouble’ as a result.
Tensions had cooled as Hockenheim rolled around last week, until the closing stages of the race when Magnussen dived up the inside of Grosjean into the hairpin with the two banging wheels. It prompted Grosjean to get on the radio to exclaim: “This guy will never learn!” but the pair survived and went on to finish P7 & P8 with Grosjean and Magnussen respectively.
Asked to explain why he and Magnussen keep making contact in races, especially with Steiner publicly angry with the nature of their squabbling, Romain Grosjean said: “I don’t know really. I think it’s… you know… it’s happened a few times this year and, in terms of… it happened in Silverstone and it had a consequence for both of us. We punctured. I think that was pretty unlucky, to have two cars puncturing for such a small contact. There were no bad intentions from either of us in that moment. It was just… we came together and then punctured . Later in the race you see other cars flying into each other, flying over the track and nothing happened. Got to look at that as well to say, bad luck really. That’s pretty much it.”
The pair are in their third year working together as teammates at Haas, with the duo generally quite harmonious in the midfield. Grosjean explained that, at this point, his relationship with Magnussen is very good and they do stay in contact between races to talk about what’s going on: “We love each other!”
“That’s why we get on, have a bit of a kiss on track. No, I think, as Kevin said, there’s been a bit of bad luck in Silverstone. I think the relationship, people could think that it doesn’t look good but actually the relationship with Kevin is really good. We phone each other once a week or so. We sat down and said, ‘what can we do better’, just to make sure that’s not happening again.”
“Obviously we’ve got the same car, so it’s happening that we are side-by-side on track more often than with the Mercedes, for example. Yeah, there are things we can probably do better. I think the most important is that we always try to do our best for the team, and give our best and maybe just the cursor wasn’t well positioned on some of the occasions we had, and we just going to make sure we get better from there. Honestly, the relationship is very good and we actually like – well, I like working with Kevin, maybe he doesn’t – but I think he likes it also. We work well together and we get on nicely.”
Magnussen, asked to weigh in and whether he feels the same way about working at Haas with Grosjean, replied: “Absolutely.”
“I think in the heat of the moment, we’re blaming each other on the radio and stuff like that – but what people don’t see is that we get together between the races and talk it through and try to be constructive and move on in a constructive way. Apart from those incidents on track, I feel that we have a pretty good working relationship. And actually, Romain is a cool guy, and we actually have a good time when we go to work. So, it’s being blown out of proportion a little bit. I know you guys love a bit of a conflict and stuff like that, so… but it isn’t as bad as it looks.”