Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the protest filed against his team by Renault highlights how tense the fight is for fourth in the constructors’ championship.
Renault protested the result of the Italian Grand Prix, claiming Haas had an illegal floor after technical directives issued by the FIA. The protest was successful, with Romain Grosjean being excluded from sixth place in the race, resulting in Haas going from level on points with Renault to now 15 points adrift after failing to score in Singapore.
“It’s very tense,” Steiner said. “As we all know, Renault filed a protest against us to take some points away, which we’ve appealed. That gives you a good indication of how tense the battle is. The other teams are trying to get as many points as possible. (Fernando) Alonso did very well in Singapore to catch up. Force India, like us, didn’t score, so it’s all open.”
Haas struggled on the street circuit in Monaco earlier this season and then failed to score in Singapore last weekend, but Steiner says the overall performance improvement between those two events was masked by the way the race panned out.
“I wouldn’t say that Singapore was bad for the car. Obviously, we qualified eighth and 16th — not ideal, but sometimes this can happen, and eighth is not a bad result.
“The race went how it went. It was mainly down to the hypersofts, which we had to start Romain on. Then we got caught in traffic and overtaking was very difficult. I’m pretty confident we can do well in Sochi — what we have been doing up to now in the season.”
For his part, Grosjean is reveling in the battle with his former team, expecting fourth place to only be decided at the season finale in Abu Dhabi in November.
“It’s very exciting, very interesting,” Grosjean said. “A lot can happen. It’s very open. I think it’s going to go until the end of the year. It’s great fun. We’re going to do everything we can to get that fourth position in the constructors’ championship.”