Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

Haas mechanic credited for saving Grosjean’s race

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean would not have achieved his fifth-place finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix had it not been for the actions of a quick-thinking Haas mechanic.

Team principal Guenther Steiner praised the mechanics who changed Grosjean’s left-rear wheel for replacing a nut which had not attached successfully. Had he not done so, the loose nut would have forced the team to retire the car.

“In the third [pit stop] we had an issue with one of the wheel nuts,” Steiner explained. “I give credit to the crew member because when he went to put the wheel on, he realised something was wrong and took it off again.”

“Had he not fixed it, the car probably would have been stopped after the first two corners from the wheel being loose. So we had an issue, but we solved it and maybe lost two seconds and it didn’t make a difference anyway. The mechanic and his actions stopped us from making an even bigger mistake.”

Grosjean lost around four seconds in that stop compared to his other two. The Haas crew (pictured practising with Esteban Gutierrez) performed their first race pit stops in Bahrain as Grosjean made his sole tyre change in the Australian Grand Prix while the race was suspended.

“I would say two out of the three pit stops were good,” said Steiner. “We still can improve, but we were in the ballpark.” Grosjean’s quickest pit stop was 1.6 seconds slower than the fastest of the race.

The team is still trying to get to the bottom of the problem which ended Gutierrez’s race.

“We had an issue with his brake disc and are still investigating why it actually broke,” said Steiner. “We are working with the brake manufacturer to have a better understanding of the issue and avoid it in the future.”

“I spoke with Esteban after the race and he said, ‘Guenther, these things happen. There’s nothing we can do.’ He understands why he’s had to retire from each race and now he’s more determined to get to the end and earn points.”

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “Haas mechanic credited for saving Grosjean’s race”

  1. Tommy Scragend
    11th April 2016, 10:55

    “I spoke with Esteban after the race and he said, ‘Guenther, these things happen. There’s nothing we can do.’ He understands why he’s had to retire from each race and now he’s more determined to get to the end and earn points.”

    I’d be a bit concerned if he didn’t understand why he had to retire in Australia!

    1. “I mean, I was struck by Alonso but we should have been able to continue. I don’t see why I had to retire”

      1. @chrischrill “A podium surely was still possible”

  2. It’s not Esteban’s fault that Haas can only build one car at the moment.

    At least its not as bad as Andrea Moda were…

    1. Lewisham Milton
      11th April 2016, 11:32

      And it lasts longer than the second Ferrari.

    2. That’s just not the case at all.

    3. @andybantam It’s not Kimi and Seb’s fault that Ferrari cannot build a car that actually um…. works?

      1. @ultimateuzair Kimi and Seb are lucky that they have a drive in the best possible car since they wont get a Mercedes drive anytime soon.

        1. @rethla This year, Ferrari is second-best in terms of speed, but one of the worst in terms of reliability. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Ferrari doesn’t finish, or even start the race this weekend.

          1. @ultimateuzair

            If Ferrari was satisfyed with not beating Mercedes they could make a car that would finish P3-P4 every race and be 100% reliable. You will se that once Ferrari or someone else starts beating Mercedes reguarly Mercedes famous reliability will dissapear in favour of speed in a heartbeat.

          2. @ultimateuzair

            There’s a point…

            If a Ferrari component fails in a Haas car, how honest can Haas be about the failure?

      2. @ultimateuzair

        It was meant to be a bit of a tongue-in-cheek comment whilst also acknowledging that there might be a little pressure on the team in terms of parts supply and availability at this very early stage of the season. All will be resolved once Haas has had more time and is logistically closer to its HQ. It’s a brand new project. The margins must be tight.

        I’m actually well impressed with the job Haas has done so far. It’s fantastic. But it will be even more impressive to get that second car running reliably and get two cars regularly in the points.

  3. Nice to hear a team boss crediting a mechanic for fixing something. Just as long he doesn’t blame 1 mechanic when something goes wrong.
    Glad Hass are doing well. It will be interesting to see how they get on next year when they won’t be able to have as much help from Ferrari.

    1. “when they won’t be able to have as much help from Ferrari.”

      How so?

    2. There is nothing wrong with blaming someone for his/her mistakes, though obviously you will keep it indoors. And in this environment the people usually don’t need to be told that they did something bad. They will feel bad and try everything to improve the next time.

    3. I think Ferrari will start working even closer with them now, and there will be a free flow of exchange of information up until the point where Haas starts taking points off Ferrari. That’s when the partnership will get to a Ferrari – Sauber like arrangement.

  4. It is very nice that he is crediting his engineer (Tyre changer).
    However, can you imagine one of the top teams saying this. “My tyre changer didn’t put the nut on right, but he fixed it in the end. He’s a legend.” Not going to happen and nor should it. They are a new team and things will go wrong. Nice in this case that someone picked the problem before it was race ending. That does deserve credit.

    As someone said earlier though, it is nice to see him credit someone. However as they grow, mistakes will be forgiven less. It will be nicer to see him not blame one guy if something goes wrong.

    1. mmm I don’t think he’s an engineer, imagine how high the salaries would be if they hired only engineers for everything!

  5. Nice gesture to credit the mechanic, should even be with name. One wonders why it doesn’t happen more with other teams when his/her action meant the difference between points and no points as the driver or strategist are commonly hailed for the same feat.

    1. Totally agree. I think Gunther is doing a very decent job by building a true team spirit in Haas F1 team. You can’t underestimate the meaning of good atmosphere in the team, especially if you’re a small team as Haas is.

  6. Mark in Florida
    11th April 2016, 17:06

    I don’t think that it was considered a mistake for the mechanic to replace the defective nut. I have seen mechanics try to jam that wheel nut on come hell or high water and end up cross threading it and in a few turns the wheel is coming loose. So if the pit stop was a couple of seconds longer so be it. At lest it saved the race and Grosean was able to reach fifth position. Heads up on the mechanic part.

  7. I mean that in a good way: Haas has the most incompetent pit crew in the pits… Other than that they do have room to grow. But on reliability note, they are doing about average… On results.. Above average team.

    Once they fix their beginner fails, who knows how reliably they stay up there. Fourth place seems like a pretty resonable spot for them. Right behind RBR – big kahunas of midfield.

    1. @Jureo incompetent is a harsh way of putting it, remember these are still new guys chances are a lot of the mechanics and people who run pitstop practice aren’t as experienced as the people in other teams, remember 4 years ago, this was very common especially with a certain Mclaren team

      1. Yeah way to harsh words…

        All in all nice gesture, they have the right attitude to succeed.

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