American team Haas is facing a difficult situation - in potentially having to replace Romain Grosjean; the driver it recruited in 2015, to spearhead its Formula 1 campaign.
SOUNDBITE (English) ROMAIN GROSJEAN,
F1 DRIVER, HAAS:
"Joining Haas was a great choice, this time in my career I thought a new challenge would be pretty awesome and I wanted to be the first driver to score points for the team.”
There’s no doubt the Frenchman is quick, and talented - finishing sixth in Germany, passing four cars in the last 10 laps after switching to the ultra soft tyres - or fourth in Austria, for the squad’s highest-ever placing…
… the result coming after he split the Red Bulls in qualifying.
While in Hungary - Grosjean finished again in the points, with 10th place his third point score in four races.
But, a string of mistakes this season has affected not only his confidence, but also his reputation, with Haas team principal Guenther Steiner stating the carnage had to stop - following a disastrous British GP at Silverstone - in which he had three separate crashes.
Grosjean has scored just 21 points this year compared with Magnussen’s 45 - and has had four DNFs, three of which were his fault, like Azerbaijan where he crashed out of sixth under the safety car…
And while there’s still nine races to recover, rumours continue that Sergio Pérez is pushing for a seat - with Charles Leclerc another chance, should Ferrari choose to run Kimi Raikkonen next year.
… both of whom are used to outdriving their cars for consistent points.
… which is, ironically, exactly what drew the team to Grosjean in the first place - following his podium-scoring performances with Lotus.
SOUNDBITE (English) GENE HAAS
"One thing that was impressive was the fact that he scored points almost every season and that's really what our primary goal here is to be able to score points.”
The summer break ahead will give Grosjean time to rest, recover, and mentally reset ahead of the season’s second half - in which he needs to deliver to keep his drive for 2019.