Romain Grosjean admits he was surprised to be so quick in the Melbourne-specification Haas during Friday practice for the German Grand Prix, describing the car as “outstanding.”
Haas looked competitive at the start of the season but struggled to get performance out of its tires, with an upgrade in Barcelona not solving the problem. Grosjean has reverted to the original specification car used at the first race in both Silverstone and in Hockenheim, and after being sixth quickest in FP2 in Germany he says the strong showing should be used as a confidence boost for the team.
“The race 1 package is very good and I think we need to look at it as a positive that the boys know what to do when it is about designing a car,” Grosjean said. “Yes the latest update seems to be a bit more challenging but we need to understand why.
“But we have proven again we know how to do a car, which is positive. There are some limitations that we are well aware of in the package and that we need to work on but definitely it was surprising to be that quick — and also exciting.
“It is always difficult to explain feeling but it is the confidence that you have in the car that you can really push it in the high-speed corners and you can really play with it, and then in the low speed and entry phase it is outstanding. There is a limitation on the front with understeer but mid-corner and traction is quite good, so I guess it is the high speed and entry stability which is good.”
Although the weather forecast is for rain and cooler temperatures on Saturday, Grosjean is still targeting a spot in the top 10 given how strong he was in practice.
“We will see but yes, definitely after today we can hope for Q3 and hope that we can understand what is different between our new package and this and move forward.
“It has been a long time since we have been this competitive on a Friday and things went smoothly, so I am happy with that in tricky conditions as it was very warm. But we have been working very well and done a lot of tests on the car — more than we have done over the season so far — and had some good answers. Some less-clear stuff but we are very happy with our Friday.”