Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Haas’ team boss Guenther Steiner says that, upon reflection in 2019, he should have listened more to the drivers about the car upgrades.
Haas’ 2019 has been something of a nightmare, despite having a car that appears capable of tremendous speed on occasion. The team have never really gotten to grips with the VF-19, meaning the cars performance is something of a mystery for each race event. This mostly came about as the team went through their upgrade cycle throughout the year, with the car getting more and more confusing as the season progressed.
Such was the team’s failure to understand their car, Romain Grosjean ran his car in ‘Australia-spec’ for several races over the middle of the season – this being the car in its original specification for the opening race of the year. Kevin Magnussen would then run the latest updates on his car, to allow for direct comparison. Frequently, there was little difference in apparent performance, and both drivers complained of a complete lack of grip – especially in race trim.
As a result, team boss Guenther Steiner says the lesson he’s taking from 2019 is to listen to the driver’s feedback a bit more as they regroup for next season.
“One thing I would do is to just do something different after we introduced the upgrade in Barcelona.” Steiner explained. “I would listen a little bit more to the drivers and be a little bit more self-critical.”
“It was obviously a tough year for us in our fourth season. You learn and, overall, we’re pretty strong anyway. We had to learn some lessons to get better. Next year will be a new book and, hopefully, we go back to the kind of performances we had in 2018.”
Steiner says there are some positives to be taken from the team’s first really challenging season since entering the sport in 2016: “I would say there is a silver lining. We started to react during the summer break to work on the 2020 car – to try to avoid the mistakes we’ve made this year. We don’t want to repeat them. We’re just moving forward, analyzing and working hard on the 2020 car.”
Romain Grosjean was particularly vocal in his criticism of the updates introduced in Barcelona, having wanted to revert immediately, and then volunteering to race in the older spec car. He says that things could have been different this year, and he’s hopeful communication will improve for 2020: “I think this year was positive in that we’ve learned where not to go. We’ve learned what we need to look for. We’ve learned that communication needs to be key. This year, the feeling was that from Barcelona, things obviously didn’t go as expected.”
“Maybe if we’d reacted earlier, things could have been different. That’s something we’ve learned this year and, as I’ve said, that’s the first time we’ve been in this situation. It’s not easy to adjust and to know what to do, but now we’re much better prepared for the future. I’m very much looking forward to 2020.”