Haas team principal Guenther Steiner admits it will be tough to overhaul Alfa Romeo in the constructors’ championship after missing out on points in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Kevin Magnussen retired due to a gearbox issue and Romain Grosjean was classified 14th as a result of a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits at Imola, leaving Haas with a return of just two points from the last 10 races. In a hectic ending, Alfa Romeo managed to get both cars in the points and extend its lead over Haas to five points in the constructors’ standings.
Steiner’s team failing to score leaves it facing a tough uphill road to close the gap.
“It (was) a missed opportunity,” Steiner told RACER. “I mean, we qualified better than them and then we ended up behind them. I don’t blame them for that; I just blame ourselves. What can you do? You just need to keep on pushing and at some stage it will turn around.
“It’s very difficult, to be honest. Sometimes you just need to get lucky and that is what we need. We cannot count on the performance side, that all of a sudden we get this performance; we just need to be at the right place at the right time now. That is sometimes opting for a different strategy or just doing something different, and then being there when the points are distributed.”
Much of Haas’ misfortune revolved around Magnussen’s weekend. The team was not allowed to fix his car’s gearbox after qualifying without incurring a grid penalty. Then in the race, the Dane was hit by Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap.
“The first time we had a small issue with the (shift) was going out of the garage in free practice. In qualifying at the beginning it was fine; but then in the final run in qualifying we had 22 signal issues – I don’t know if it was the sensor or the loom. We asked the FIA to be allowed to change the sensor or at least look into what was wrong. The first time they declined, so we tried again and they declined again.
“Obviously, knowing now what we know now, we should have changed the gearbox anyway and taken the penalty. But hindsight is a beautiful thing. In the end we didn’t do it and then in the race… if you were fighting for something you say ‘Hey, keep on pushing.” But if you are last, you don’t want to compromise (the driver’s) health. (Kevin) was OK afterwards; he just said it was quite brutal when he got the power back – every time he changed gear it hit him. And every lap we lost about half a second because the gearbox had to re-sync itself again for shifts. So there was no real point to keep on going.
“I would say we’re getting the most out of the car at the moment, there’s not a lot left. If you look at the race, Kevin had a fantastic start again and then he was pushed off, spun out. What can you do? Once you start that far back the risk is so much higher of something like that happening than when you start further up front.”