Haas drivers contrite after horror Baku race

Image courtesy Haas F1

Haas drivers contrite after horror Baku race

Formula 1

Haas drivers contrite after horror Baku race


Haas team principal Gunther Steiner has called on his team get it together after losing a podium place and a significant points haul in Azerbaijan.

Both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen caused crashes late in the race, throwing away what would have been just the third and fourth points-scoring finishes for the team from their eight entries so far this season.

Instead Haas languishes second-to-last in the constructors standings with just 11 points to its name.

“At the moment we cannot get it together to jell,” Steiner said. “We need to get it all in one race. Always we do things very good, and then we mess up one [thing].

“I think we need to get a little bit sharper — or not sharper, but to tie it up together. We just need to get it once in the bag, get everything together, then we will shine.”

“We’re always between the fourth- and fifth-fastest car on the weekends, we just have the second-least points at the moment, which doesn’t do credit to what we’ve got.”

Grosjean was set for a result that would have given the team the credit Steiner said it deserves, as the Frenchman harried eventual podium-getter Sergio Perez for much of the race after a clever strategy call behind the first-lap safety car enabled him to climb up the order from his last-place grid spot.

But Grosjean crashed his car while trying to warm his tires behind the safety car, throwing away a swag of championship points and leaving him to wonder what could have been.

“This hurts a lot and I want to apologize to the team,” Grosjean, visibly emotional after the crash, said. “Seeing Perez on the podium, knowing I was fighting with him, is very painful for all of us.

“We were in the middle of an amazing race, starting last and running P6. It was going very well. The conditions were tricky, there was a lot of wind, the car was going left and right, pushing then not pushing.

“I was warming up my tires and bumped into a switch that I’d moved by two positions. When I touched the brakes, the brake balance was locked rearward — it just locked the rear wheels and I spun.”

Magnussen locks his brakes. (Image by Hone/LAT)

As a small consolation Grosjean’s teammate, Kevin Magnussen, was promoted to 10th as a result, but even this meager result evaded the team when the Dane crashed with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly after the safety car restart.

Magnussen was judged to have moved “unpredictably and unnecessarily” alongside Gasly at Turn 20 and was handed a 10-second time penalty and two penalty points for the error.

“Obviously things aren’t going our way at the moment,” he said. “It’s just been a tough start to the season, especially when you see the potential in the car, it’s even more frustrating.”

But Magnussen remained optimistic that the season could be turned around.

“We’ll come back from this. It was just a tough weekend overall,” he said. “We still have a car that is performing well, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.

“We’ve got a competitive car that we can score points with, and on a regular basis if we have smooth weekends. I’m sure we’ll be all right.”

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