Haas feels like it is jinxed at the Australian Grand Prix after another pit stop issue for Romain Grosjean forced him to retire, according to team principal Guenther Steiner.
In 2018, both Haas drivers retired while appearing destined for top five finishes, with pit-stop errors to blame on both occasions. Grosjean’s retirement related to the left-front wheel, and on Sunday he suffered a problem with the same wheel, eventually rejoining the circuit before a suspension failure took him out of the race for good.
“In the pit stop you could see there was an issue as we lost seven seconds, and the race was lost there,” Steiner said. “Even if he could get to the end he wouldn’t have got in the points. Then they got the wheel back on – we didn’t lost the wheel like last year – but after 15 laps it mechanically broke as we forced it on. The wheel nut broke. It was on, but when you take it off and on like that it gets damaged and the thread breaks.
“It’s the whole team; it just seems to be jinxed. It is very strange, like last year. After Melbourne we had 20 races without a problem, then we come back here and we have a problem. The good thing is, we are 50% up, so next year we will be 100%. Maybe I’ve said that too early… it is disappointing, but the good thing is the potential in the car is good.”
While both cars failed to finish last year, this time round Kevin Magnussen crossed the line sixth to pick up points at the start of the season, and Steiner says the frustration of Grosjean’s problem will not overshadow the impressive performance Haas put in this weekend.
“It is a mixed feeling as you can imagine,” he said. “Starting with the good things: we are competitive, Kevin did a fantastic race, and the car is good, qualifying sixth and seventh here. We finished sixth and have eight points, which compared to last year is eight points more; we are in fourth position here, and last year we were last.
“The negative is, it could be a lot more if we didn’t have had the déjà vu from last year with Romain’s pit stop. That is what got away, but in general there are more positives than negatives, therefore you don’t see me in tears or down. Now we know the potential of the car – we just have to get it out of it and do a good job.”