[F1 2019 VIDEO FEATURE] HAAS F1 TEAM: AMERICAN HOPE

Formula 1’s US-team Haas is heading to its home race at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, with no reprieve in sight from the frustrating tyre issues that have destroyed its 2019 campaign.

…with team principal Guenther Steiner not expecting a fix before the end of the season, which wraps up December 1st in Abu Dhabi.

“Not short-term,” Steiner said. “We know where we are and why we are where we are, but to fix it is a different issue and I don’t know if we can get on top of it this year consistently.”

Haas has scored points at just five of 18 rounds so far, leaving it ninth in the standings, on 28 points. Its only hope, leapfrogging Alfa Romeo, just seven ahead after Mexico.

The issue is Haas 2019 car, which can’t keep heat in its Pirelli tyres over more than one lap, and is worst at high-speed tracks, with long straights and low energy corners.

…circuits like Bahrain and China. And initially it was thought Haas’ woes were temporary, with chilled Dane Kevin Magnussen pouring cold water on extended rubber troubles.

AUDIO QUOTE (English) KEVIN MAGNUSSEN,
F1 DRIVER, HAAS:
“All the seasons of Haas F1 so far have been like an upward trend and this is really the first time that the team has kind of had a bit of a setback. And it’s only the first half of the season so I’m not worrying too much. But obviously keen to get out of this situation as quick as possible.”

But between Canada and Russia, Haas scored just 12 points. 10 coming at a chaotic, safety car-affected German Grand Prix.

Mexico, as the highest altitude circuit on the 2019 calendar, 2200 metres above sea level, with one of the longest pit straights, was expected to be bad for Haas. And it was, with its sixth double non-score in seven races, neither driver able to ascend higher than 15th.

But the team recognises its the car, not the drivers, that are the issue this year, which is why they re-signed both Magnussen and Romain Grosjean for 2020. Their fourth-straight season together.

… surprising many in the paddock, most expecting Haas to drop Grosjean for fast-and-reliable racer Nico Hülkenberg.

Grosjean, though, when in the zone - can extract the last few tenths from the car and knows what he’s capable of, having re-established himself in the sport after a disastrous run early on.

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.”

For the squad, the final three races are damage limitation. But it cannot finish any lower than ninth…. with Williams having scored just a single point.

Haas’ main focus instead will be understanding its tyre problems enough to ensure it doesn’t carry over to the 2020 car.

And on this it has an uphill battle, with the pit lane’s smallest head count.

AUDIO QUOTE (English) KEVIN MAGNUSSEN,
F1 DRIVER, HAAS:
“Well, I think it’s encouraging to see how the team is working on the problem. We are a small team and we don’t have all the people back at factory doing all the research like many of the other teams have. So each person has to do two jobs.”

It’s all on the line, as Haas plans for its fifth season in the sport. One that just has to be better, with the squad that broke the mould in 2016 tested to its limits this season.