Romain Grosjean admits the 2019 Haas car can be “very complicated to use” as he prepares for his home race at the French Grand Prix.
Haas has shown impressive one-lap speed in qualifying and was also comfortably the quickest midfield car on occasions this year, but at other times has been off the pace of its rivals. While much of the blame has often been placed at Pirelli’s door due to struggles getting the tires to work, Grosjean says the car itself plays a part in that.
“I think it’s been an interesting year – not the one we were hoping for at the beginning,” Grosjean said. “We’ve got a very good car. We’ve had some very good races, but we’ve also had some bad luck and a car that’s been very complicated to use sometimes.
“So, our performance has been a bit up and down, which is not what we were looking for after last year where we were very consistent. We’re working really hard trying to understand that and to get the best from the VF-19.”
Haas enjoyed a strong outing in Barcelona after introducing a number of upgrades, and with Paul Ricard more similar to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya than either of Monaco or Montreal, Grosjean hopes that will result in the team being more competitive this weekend.
“The upgrades have worked well from Barcelona onward, and I think they work well everywhere,” he said. “France will definitely be a circuit where the aerodynamics are more important – more so than Monaco and Montreal – so yes, it will be a good test. Again though, our main focus is getting the whole package working, meaning tires and so on.
“We just have to keep learning, keep improving and keep getting the relationship with my engineers better and better. It’s only seven races we’ve done together as a new group. Obviously, when the tires are working things are smooth and easy, but when they’re not, things are very complicated.”
Despite the frustration of such an inconsistent season to date, Grosjean is excited to return to Paul Ricard in search of his first points at home after finishing 11th last year.
“Last year was a very good experience,” he said. “I really enjoyed my time at Le Castellet and the support from the fans. I’m looking forward to this year again. I’m hoping for a better result, as last year was not the race I wanted. So, let’s hope it’s a good weekend, a good race, make sure we don’t spend too much energy outside the track, but on the other hand, I want to share a lot with the fans.”