Haas team principal Guenther Steiner was pleased with the degree of cooperation between Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen in the Styrian Grand Prix, saying it was “about time” his drivers worked together.
The two drivers have had a number of collisions during their time as teammates, with one such incident at Silverstone last year particularly frustrating Steiner as both cars were forced to retire early on. However, in the second race in Austria, Magnussen and Grosjean swapped positions — at times due to requests from the team — in a cooperative way and Steiner is glad to see the drivers showing an improvement on that front.
“It was about time!” Steiner said. “It took a few years too long and a few crashes too many! I think what was said last year worked. They were well behaved. For sure they are never happy (be asked to give way) but it’s actually very difficult on the pit wall to manage it, because we do not really see what’s going on. You see it from the on-board camera but we don’t see how much they push and how much they don’t push.
“If you have got two very equal drivers in two very equal cars it’s always very difficult, because the guy in the slipstream on the long straights will always catch up. So if you swap too much then you lose too much time to the opposition and waste time between us. It isn’t easy for us to make the calls, but at least they were well behaved. We didn’t have too many arguments — hopefully it stays like this!”
Steiner was also buoyed by the steps forward Haas made from Race 1 to Race 2 in Austria, enjoying a more competitive run and not suffering a repeat of the brake issues that forced both cars out of the opening round.
“I take away quite a few positives. We were able to race a little bit more than last week and I think we made some progress with the car. The drivers are not unhappy with the balance and the handling of the car. We need to find a little more speed, as we well know, but otherwise we didn’t have any issues with the car in the race anyway.
“We still have a long road in front of us but at least we are back on track. We went off-track last weekend with the issues that we had, so all in all it was not a bad day for us.
“On tracks like (Austria) the pecking order is pretty clear. We are in the latter half of the field but I want to see on tracks like Hungary — slower tracks, basically, where we don’t have the long straights — how we do there. I think we can gain something there, because in Barcelona testing we were quicker than we were in Austria compared to other people. But again we need to go at least to Hungary to do a good race and see where we end up. But for sure it won’t be an easy year for us.”