Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Haas left Baku with no points on Sunday, having spent their weekend mired in the bottom half of the field.The team have been struggling with tyre usage in race trim in recent races, an issue that team boss Guenther Steiner acknowledged ahead of the race in Baku.
Those issues continued unabated in Azerbaijan, with Kevin Magnussen only able to limp home in P13, while Romain Grosjean retired on safety grounds with brake issues.
Grosjean had been one of the few drivers to start the race on the Medium tyre, and initially climbed up as high as P7 as Soft tyre starters pulled in for their stops. Slowly pushed back down the order as the race went on, he was running in P11 when he locked up his brakes entering the final sector. Spinning back around and resuming the race, his rhythm was gone. He retired on Lap 39 due to the brake issues that had developed on his car.
“My brake pedal was going to the floor, so for safety reasons we had to retire my car.” said a downbeat Grosjean afterwards. “Before that it was going as well as we could have hoped for. The first few laps on the medium tire were very difficult, then the softs grained, but we came back a little in the fight. I was really pushing the car to its limits. I had a lock up in turn 15, I went straight and had to go a little bit on the escape road, which wasn’t great. I then tried to hang in there, but the pace wasn’t there. We need to sit down now and really analyze everything we can. We need to react to be able to fight for a good constructors’ championship place. I believe we’ve got the car for it, it’s just very annoying to have this underlying issue, which we believe is tire related. Hopefully for Barcelona we can be in a better place.”
Magnussen, who utilised a more conventional strategy by starting on the Soft tyre, struggled on the Medium tyre during his supposed final stint, but pitted again under the Virtual Safety Car to swap back to the Soft tyre. He was consigned to P13 by the flag and was disconsolate afterwards:
“It was a tough day today. It’s obviously not the result we were hoping for. We’ll work hard for Barcelona and move on, at least we have some data from there in terms of where the car was working in testing, although temperatures will be a lot different. We didn’t expect this kind of start to the season, but all we can do is keep working to resolve our issues – keep looking for a solution.”
Haas have thus dropped to P8 in the Constructor’s table, four points clear of Toro Rosso in ninth position.