Romain Grosjean, Haas, Albert Park, 2018

Haas: Double pit blunder in Australia cost us fourth

2018 F1 season

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the team’s double retirement due to pit stop errors in the first race of the year did the most damage to its hopes of finishing fourth in the championship.

The team went into the summer break fifth in the championship, 16 points behind Renault. But the VW-18 had regularly been the fourth-quickest car and the team was confident it could take fourth in the championship.

But a poor run of races plus the loss of eight points Romain Grosjean scored at Monza following a protest by Renault has left them likely to end the year fifth.

“After the mid-season break we didn’t have a few strong races,” said Steiner. “Then we had the protest, one thing to the other. In Mexico we had a very bad race.”

However he cited the season-opening round as the team’s biggest setback. The team’s drivers were running fourth and fifth when pit-stop errors forced both out.

“I think fourth place was lost in Australia more than anything else,” said Steiner. “22 points, plus the points which Renault scored, we would be still fourth now.

“But ‘if’ and ‘when’ doesn’t count. We are grown up, we can live with that.”

Nonetheless Steiner believes the young team should be proud of its achievement this year. “You don’t ever forget we are in our third year and it’s still quite a good achievement to beat other people,” he said.

But, he admitted, “in theory we should have beaten Renault without some mistakes [by] us, without the protest.”

The team is resigned to ending the year fifth in the points behind Renault, who have a 24-point lead over them heading into the final race of the year.

“Some fights you win, some you lose but in the end I think for the whole team it’s still a good result if we finish fifth, which we should now [unless] something magic happens in Abu Dhabi. I think we can be happy with that.

“You’re always frustrated a little bit because you always know you can do better. That is racing.”

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2018 F1 season

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18 comments on “Haas: Double pit blunder in Australia cost us fourth”

  1. I remember the anguish on the pit crew’s faces in Australia when they saw their first, and then second car pull over and retire.

    I wonder how much more that anguish would have been amplified if they’d been able to foresee the consequences of that weekend at this end of the season.

    Guenther mentioned that they are making some mistakes since they are a new team pushing hard, and one can only wish that Haas are internalizing these lessons to renew their challenge next year.

    1. No sympathy. They caused an unnecessary VSC which benefited none other than Ferrari. Could have easily made it back to the pits. Stole the win from Hamilton.

      1. I wonder if you have no sympathy for the two Toro Rosso’s coming together in China to benefit none other than Daniel Ricciardo stealing a certain win from Valtteri Bottas.

        1. @geemac even better, for Ocon

      2. Pretty much sure you are obliged to stop immediately with an usecured tyre “McLaren”

    2. @phylyp
      i was thinking on similar lines. Cameras showed the pit crew once both cars retired–and it was painful to watch. Some resorted to crying i think and i remember seeing one mechanic being consoled by Romain in the paddock.
      Now this happened 8 months ago–and its decent and professional to acknowledge your mistakes but when you tag that particular incident to losing a position in the Championship, i dont think its going to do any good to the pit-crew from a psychological stand point. It will dent their confidence.
      “The boss says our mistake in Australia cost us fourth. We are responsible for losing out on a lot of money”

      1. @webtel – I’m sure they’ll feel bad about it seeing Steiner’s comments (and might be losing on bonuses, depending on how those terms were structured). That said, Steiner has generally defended his people well, which is often a sign of a good leader. I’m pretty certain that behind closed doors, he is ensuring that their emotions are guided properly, towards ensuring better processes, fewer errors, and so on.

        1. @phylyp
          Indeed. The way he defended Romain was admirable. I only hope the mechanics get the right message. They havent made any glaring errors in the pit post Aus.
          Lets hope they keep improving.

  2. Drivers have been a bit “hit or miss” too. It looks like Romain finished lower than he qualified in 12 races this year? That’s more than Hartley.

    1. I don’t know how you can call the drivers “hit or miss”, they’ve done a darn good job of hitting :-)

      Humour aside, you’re quite right. If Renault start investing heavily in F1 (and they might be doing so already, seeing Ricciardo’s signing), then Haas have either missed their opportunity – or have a very narrow window in 2019 – to secure a 4th place finish in the constructors’ championship. And for this they need drivers who bring their A-game, not the spiritual successors of Vettel and Kimi.

      1. They need to get on top of the tires for sure. I think K-mag has done a pretty good job this season. He just turned 26 and learning.

  3. “We are grown up, we can live with that.” – LOL.
    – Indeed. The loss of a potential points-haul of 22 at the very least 18 (P5-P6), shows now alongside all the other lost points due to errors and or decisions made.

  4. Ericsson’s fault.

  5. Poor Günther. Can’t blame anyone else for that points loss.
    Surely one of their rivals manipulated all their wheel-guns ;)

    1. @srga You mean some swedish guy?

  6. They would have been in 6th place if ForceIndia score not resetted to 0

  7. Sad but true. Evey Grand Prix and every point counts. I absolutely HATE it when, especially in the first half of the year after finishing behind Hamilton, Vettel kept saying aah it’s still early in the season, no big deal (losing 10 points), well make it up next time. If anyone, then people actually in F1 should realize how important every point is. Most teams said this in the first half as if the races in the second half were worth more points somehow.

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