Haas’s team boss Guenther Steiner says the team will aim to cut down on failures, however small, after his drivers stopped on track three times during Wednesday’s test.
Pietro Fittipaldi was on track for Haas during the morning session, representing himself well as a rookie driver by finishing P6 on the lunchtime timing screens. 1:19.249 was his best time, set on the softer C4 tyre. He was sent out on a short, fast run approaching the lunch break after he was the cause of the day’s first red flag.
Breaking down on track, the VF19 had suffered an ignition coil issue which resulted in him needing to be recovered back to the pits on a truck – a stoppage Fittipaldi explained as being precautionary.
All fixed up for the afternoon, Romain Grosjean took over the car for the afternoon but had only been out on the track for a few minutes when he, too, brought out the red flags. He had stopped the car in a similar position to Fittipaldi’s earlier issue and he also needed recovery back to the pits. Coming back on track after an hour’s break, he circulated again before another failure with four minutes remaining of the day, again caused by the ignition coil. He finished P7 with a best time of 1:19.060 on the C3 tyre.
Speaking afterwards, team boss Guenther Steiner praised Fittipaldi and said that there were a few too many failures and that they need to be stamped out: “We had a small issue [with Pietro], but he got going again and carried on with our program. He did a good job. It’s quite amazing as he comes into this environment, with everyone watching, and delivers a mature performance in testing. Our thanks go to him for the job he’s done. The rest of the day saw us with a few too many stops out on the track. We need to get rid of these failures. We got a good amount of mileage in at the end of the day though. We keep on learning, but we want to fast-track the process to get us ready for the Australian Grand Prix.”
Grosjean, despite coming back to the pits twice in a recovery vehicle, was still cheerful at the end of his day: “It’s not been a bad day to be fair. Yes, we came back a couple of times on the flatbed truck having had to stop the car on track, but that’s part of testing, it’s finding out what the limitations are, and what we can do better on the car. It’s not ideal, and we’d like to do more mileage, but the more we drive, the more we find the car is getting better. The feeling in the car is good. Positive steps have been made since I ran on Monday, and I was already happy then, I’m even happier now. We’re getting there. I’m quite pleased with all the work that’s been done.”