Haas will run its updated 2019 car at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix after spending recent races running comparisons between older and newer specifications.
The team has struggled since introducing an upgrade earlier this season in Spain, and Romain Grosjean switched back to the Melbourne-specification car before the summer break while Kevin Magnussen continued to drive the later version. Following analysis, team principal Guenther Steiner says a clear direction with the upgraded car has been found that means both drivers will use it at Spa-Francorchamps.
“For Spa we will go with the upgraded car, which we ran at Hockenheim,” Steiner said. “We’ve learned quite a bit out of it, and tried to improve the car by changing some of the components. Both cars will be the same spec, and hopefully we can still learn more about it.
“The focus has already switched, partly, to the 2020 car. We need to see what we can come up with in the wind tunnel, with the small developments we do there for the 2019 car, and if we bring any upgrade kits. We don’t know yet.”
Although Haas is currently ninth in the constructors’ championship, the team is only 17 points behind fifth-placed Toro Rosso, a gap that Steiner says is not insurmountable if it can extract more consistent performances out of the car.
“Everything is possible, but it is difficult as our car doesn’t perform well in races, and that’s where you score the points,” he said. “Nevertheless, we will be trying hard to pick up whatever we can. Hopefully, we can get a few more results, and then we’ll see how we end up in the standings.”
Grosjean agrees with Steiner’s outlook, and said Haas should take heart from past races where it managed to score with both cars.
“Anything can happen – that’s why you should never give up,” Grosjean said. “We’re going to do our best, obviously, but on paper things are a bit more complicated than they were last year. But again, with a good summer break and a good understanding of our issues, we could be back on target for a really good points finish, just like Austria last year where we scored 22 points in one event.”