American team Haas has had a difficult start to the season, despite having a far more competitive car this year in the VF-18.
Monaco was particularly challenging – with the car just not performing and Kevin Magnussen admitting the team had no answers with regard to tyres or setup issues, just that it lacked pace.
For Romain Grosjean, it was another weekend without points – his sixth-in- a-row, following on from a nightmare race in Spain.
But the Frenchman knows it’s just a phase, a sixth place in Australia gone – after a botched pit stop forced him to retire. And a badly timed safety car costing him at least a point in China.
Grosjean, though, has come back from much worse – such as his former erratic driving style that led to a one-race ban, after causing a multi-car pileup at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix.
SOUNDBITE (English) ROMAIN GROSJEAN,
F1 DRIVER, HAAS:
“Managed to sort that out and I’ve been over a hundred Grands Prix, a few times on the podium - yeah, and I guess whenever I’ve got the car to be on the podium I’m standing there.”
Magnussen, instead, holds the upper hand at Haas – having scored all 19 of the American team’s points so far, and it shows what should have been achieved in the early part of the year, with richer teams set to pull away in the development race as the season goes on.
Haas now sits eighth in the constructors’ standings, on 19 points, but if Grosjean had’ve matched his teammate on points – the squad could have as much as 38, putting it sixth, just two away from McLaren.
That said, Canada ahead should better suit its car, with Grosjean scoring a point for 10th place there last year and the squad bringing a major update to Montreal – instead of Spain, like most other teams did.
“We’ve got quite significant changes – front wing, floor, and all the bargeboard area,” said team principal Guenther Steiner. “Obviously, their aim is to go faster, to gain us speed.”