Romain Grosjean, Haas, Albert Park, 2018

New Haas “one of the best cars I’ve driven”, says Grosjean

2018 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean warned Haas’s rivals there’s more to come from the VF-18 after its stunning performance in the Australian Grand Prix.

The team’s cars qualified on the third row of the grid and were running fourth and fifth in the race before pit stop problems halted Grosjean and team mate Kevin Magnussen.

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Albert Park, 2018
Grosjean: “We’ve got more in the pocket”
Despite coming away from the first race of the season pointless Grosjean is encouraged by the car’s raw performance.

“It’s a really good baseline,” he said. “In winter testing it was the best Haas car I’ve driven and generally one of the best cars I’ve driven.”

“We’ve got a clear idea of where we can improve which is good to have,” Grosjean added. “I think I can go a lot faster if we manage to give me a bit more front end which with the temperature I was at the limit. So I’m happy with that and I just know we’ve got more in the pocket than we’ve seen [in qualifying].”

The cool conditions in Melbourne exacerbated one weakness of the car which is its front-end grip. “We know from Barcelona we were running a high flap angle and we didn’t have more to put on,” he explained. “And of course when the track temperature went down it makes things worse.”

But with warmer temperatures likely at many of the upcoming races, including Bahrain this weekend, Grosjean described it as “a good problem to have”

“Hopefully we can bring an update to get that better. It should be fine in Bahrain. China is probably going to be next challenge in terms of that aspect.”

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Grosjean admitted Haas has “always been competitive in Melbourne” but was encouraged by how competitive they were within the front of the midfield.

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Albert Park, 2018
Grosjean thought McLaren would be “more in the game”
“Renault went super-fast in Q2, a 23.0 for [Carlos] Sainz [Jnr], which is a superb lap time. Then we had a long delay, so it always changes a little bit where you’re going to go out again, tyres are cold. But I was happy we managed to be in front of them. I was a bit surprised by the McLaren. I thought they would be a bit more in the game.”

During 2017 Grosjean often sounded frustrated with the performance of his car on the radio. He credited Haas team owner Gene Haas for boosting his motivation during their low points of last year.

“You try not to lose your self-confidence through the years,” he said. “I was lucky to have a very good car in 2013, allowing me a lot of podiums. I’ve known what a very bad car is as well.”

“So you have to believe in yourself. A team like Haas helps you as well. When Gene says our drivers are better than our car, last year, it’s the best thing a team boss can say. It shows a lot of respect for the driver. It always boosts your confidence. A good car boosts the morale of everyone: the mechanics, engineers and myself are here to compete for a good position.”

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Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Albert Park, 2018
Analysis: Why Haas faces fresh outcry over its relationship with Ferrari
Although the team’s performance dropped off during last season, Grosjean says the team is aiming to reverse that trend this year.

“We want to try to go in the race for development which we haven’t done in the past two years,” he said. “But the opportunity to be in such a good position at the beginning of the season kind of gives you hope that you can and I believe we will try to keep the development going and stay where we are.”

“Because if we can finish fourth in the constructors’ it’s a big party. And if we finish fifth it’s crazy for a team which is two years old, in its third year in Formula One.”

“[Even] with a less good feeling [in the car] we’re up there which is amazing,” he added. “We just need to keep working and make sure we bring the updates at the right time. If we do so I don’t see why we shouldn’t be competitive though out the season.”

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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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20 comments on “New Haas “one of the best cars I’ve driven”, says Grosjean”

  1. I suspect Grosjean is correct as the Ferrari is certainly not a bad car.

    1. Zak? Is that you?

      1. Chill out Mauricio.

  2. How many people who consider grojean and k mag the weakest pairing on the grid will have them as one of the top drivers come the end of the season?

    1. I don’t think there is a lot of people that consider Grojeans and K-Mag the weakest pairing.

      There are at least 3 teams with clear inferior drivers in my opinion

    2. I don’t know many fans who consider this to be the weakest pairing @sel1700. Pretty sure they have both Sauber and Williams beaten, probably STR as well.

  3. I think these guys are a good pairing but have not had the machinery at Haas so far. As the article states Romain was very good in 2013, Kevin so far hasn’t had a great car, the 2014 McLaren wasn’t a world beater! I hope they both enjoy a successful year.

  4. @keithcollantine

    Would it be possible for you to do a couple of you super duper slidey comparison pics of last years Ferrari and this years Haas?

    I’m sure we will be getting a slew of disgruntled McLaren/Alonso fans here shortly with the usual tin foil hattery.


    1. Yep, that would be awesome.

    2. I hope ‘Super Duper Slideys’ becomes the official name for those things.

  5. I consider Grosjean a good driver. He really turned things around back in ’12-’13 (aside from almost taking Alonso’s head off). He and Kimi gave Red Bull a run for their money at Nurburgring and was exciting to watch during those times. He does whine a lot, but can’t say I wouldn’t do the same in his shoes. I believe he deserves a chance to show what he can do again, so I’m excited to see if this car’s got the goods – as long as it can finish…

  6. “When Gene says our drivers are better than our car, last year, it’s the best thing a team boss can say”

    It is, it’s a can’t lose comment from the boss since the car doesnt have an ego. Clever Gene.

    1. But the people who design and build the car do have egos

      1. Granted, but they’re not singled out as individuals and in any case their egos are not nearly as large as those of the drivers.

      2. TBH I don’t think Maranello is much concerned with what Gene has to say ;)

  7. Big Party? Why use that word, Grosjean? Didn’t it was consider an offensive in this sport?

  8. I am excited to see how this year’s HAAS team mate battle will unfold. This is Kevin’s first year as a second-year driver with any single F1 team. And probably also the first year where we see Kevin on equal terms with his team mate regarding input for car development and setup. I do believe we have already seen this paying off in this season, and that more is to come. Romain’s aggressive driving style may good for Romain, but not for the car. Incorporating some of Kevin’s smoother driving style into the car have benefited both – but so far, Kevin the most.

    1. This is Kevin’s first year as a second-year driver with any single F1 team.

      More than that – it’s the first time in his entire career he’s gone into a second year racing for the same team!

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