Haas attributes its struggles during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend to a decision to remove fragile bodywork that was failing on the street circuit.
Now in its third season of Formula 1, Haas has struggled with the robustness of many of its parts, suffering front wing failures early in its debut season and bodywork issues last year. This season has also seen a number of instances where parts of the intricate bargeboard design have fallen off, and after the two cars struggled all weekend Kevin Magnussen admits Monaco has accentuated that weakness.
“We didn’t expect it to be this bad,” Magnussen said after qualifying 19th. “A pretty disastrous day for us today but I think if you look at the actual deficit it’s not that big; it’s just tough that the whole field is so tight. It’s great for Formula 1 and everything but it means you don’t need to be that far off to be at the back.
“One point is that our upgrades have been delayed so we are with the same car as the first race. Not only that we have also damaged parts on the car and things are breaking on the car, nothing big. We fixed the issues that are safety related but still little winglets on the bargeboard on the floor keep breaking off and when you repair, you basically cut them off now so that means we have basically less downforce than the first race.
“Everyone else is putting on downforce so that means you’re going to lose out. I think we are just kinda surprised to see that it’s this bad. Barcelona is a very smooth track, it’s not very bumpy, you don’t take a lot of curbs there, the car did not break and I think also it suited our car very well with the medium and high-speed corners. We saw in Barcelona that our absolute biggest weakness was Turn 10 so it’s kind of these corners when you have a lot of yaw on the car the car is struggling a lot.”
Asked if Haas has removed parts of the bargeboards this weekend, Magnussen replied: “Cut them off, yeah.
“We thought it was better to at least cut them off and make them nice, nice edges and kinda control it than go out and hope it didn’t break off. Here you take a lot of this curb in Turn 13, 14 around the Swimming Pool where you actually go flat, but you’re just taking the curb just damaging the floor and the bargeboards. It’s worse than expected but we did expect it to be a little bit bad here obviously very disappointed to be straight off Barcelona to this.
“It is a little disappointing that we haven’t got enough parts to maintain a new proper conditioned car but that is a point we need to improve. Even so I am still very proud of the team that the fact they’ve been able to design such a competitive car with such a limited budget and limited resources.
“To have a car, when it’s in one piece, that is actually that competitive. We’ve proven that on many different tracks that it works well so I think it’s just now we just need to put those new parts on the car.”
Team principal Guenther Steiner added that Haas was struggling to understand how the car is affected by the changes because it has never run in the wind tunnel with such modifications made to aerodynamic devices.
“It’s a problem we are trying to fix now for six races obviously and we achieved it in some places, but we didn’t achieve it here,” Steiner said. “Actually to stop it we had to take some measures to take them out proactively instead of waiting that they fall off.
“So that doesn’t help the car performance as you all know because these parts are not on to look good, they’re on for aerodynamic reasons and they didn’t stay on so we decided to do something about it.
“We have new parts in Canada, different parts, so hopefully they stay together, that’s the aim. We have been working on that one for four weeks because I wouldn’t say we are proud of it.”