2018 team mates battles: Grosjean vs Magnussen at Haas

2018 F1 season review

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Halfway through 2018 it looked as though Kevin Magnussen had eclipsed Romain Grosjean in his second season at Haas.

Magnussen led his team mate 7-3 in qualifying at the time and had scored most of the team’s points. Meanwhile Grosjean wasted a string of opportunities with needless, often careless incidents.

To Grosjean’s credit, he drew a line under that shaky start to the year and was generally much better in the second half of the year. He ground out a string of Q3 appearances which put him consistently ahead of his team mate on the starting grid and ended the year on top in the qualifying fight.

It was too late for him to end the season ahead of Magnussen in the championship, which would have happened even without the eight points he lost at Monza due to a disqualification (Magnussen lost four points in similar circumstances in Austin). But by the end of the year he at least more like 2013 Grosjean than the 2012 model.

Magnussen didn’t seem capable of wringing the same level of ultimate pace out of the VF-18 that Grosjean could access. Nonetheless this was his best season to date since arriving in Formula 1.

With so much upheaval in the driver market for 2019, Grosjean and Magnussen join the Mercedes pair as the only drivers sticking together for a third season running. This year Magnussen took the initiative, but Grosjean clearly had it in him to extract more from the car. It’s down to Grosjean, again, to prove he can cut out the mistakes.

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Romain Grosjean vs Kevin Magnussen: 2018 Haas team mates performance comparison

Season scores

Who was ahead?

The table below shows at which races Grosjean qualified or finished in front of Magnussen:

AUSBAHCHIAZESPAMONCANFRAAUTGBRGERHUNBELITASINRUSJAPUNIMEXBRAABU
Romain GrosjeanQ
R

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Quotes: Dieter Rencken

2018 F1 season review

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Author information

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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37 comments on “2018 team mates battles: Grosjean vs Magnussen at Haas”

  1. Grosjean ought to count himself lucky and be grateful to Steiner. Better drivers have been dropped heading into the 2019 season.

    Grosjean definitely has impressive pace, as he showed towards the end of 2013, and even this year when he got things right. Cut out the inconsistency, and he can still turn out to be a capable pair of hands in bringing home the points (I almost wrote “safe pair of hands” but felt that was a bit much).

    1. Gros had moments of absolute brilliance and moments of utterly stupidity
      If he stayed balanced during a season haas could be the best of the rest.
      Let’s hope the sponsordeal works too.

    2. As a big Grosjean fan, I agree that he was very lucky the team opted to retain him. Besides Vettel, no other driver wasted as many points this year than Grosjean. They had such a fast car in the beginning of the season, and yet they weren’t all too close to Renault in points total. Next season will be his last if he can’t step up his game. I sure hop he will.

    3. @phylyp also Haas/Steiner can be thankful to him, first he joined the team on their first year, taking a huge gamble when at the time he was seen as a highly rated driver with potential market. He carried them in 2016, scoring whole 29 points and placing them P8 on the standings in their very first year. Had a good 2017 year. Also after Australia he was the one comforting the team after their pit-stop nightmare (had those points in and they would be much closer to Renault). Can you see any other driver doing the same? I can see a few blaming the team for ruining their race.

      I’m playing devil’s advocate here, I don’t think Grosjean is one of the best on the grid, but at least he should have some credit, he stood by Haas when they needed, and Haas did the same to him this year, some humanity in the paddock surely won’t hurt. He turned his season around, if he manages to keep the momentum he will have a good season next year.

      And who are these better drivers that were dropped heading into 2019 that are better than him?

      1. *add those points

        damn you auto-correct! Where is my edit button at Keith?

      2. @johnmilk I whole heartidly agree with you.

        Another look at the Grosjean case : as a father talking F1 to a young boy, it’s good to have a driver who can look at his errors, have a hard look at where he went wrong, admit it afterwards (not in the heat of moment obviously) and come back strong. Of course, he shouldn’t have those downs really, but i appreciate the effort. And he is so very fast when he gets everything right.

      3. it wasnt really a gamble.
        It was the opportunity he got after knowing Lotus was bankrupt and not going to race the next season.
        He took it, then when Renault bought Lotus, he kind of said that wouldnt sign with Haas if he knew Renault was going to take over Lotus.

      4. @johnmilk

        Got to agree with you on this one. Grosjean has put in really strong performances for Haas in 2016 and 2017. He’s gotten the most out of the car pretty consistently… and at the time Haas entered, they couldn’t have asked for a better midfield driver than Grosjean. I think it’s fair enough that Steiner cut him some slack when he went through a major slump. Usually slumps last for around 5 to 6 races, but Grosjean’s actually went on for half a season. At the end of the day it was a slump and not his usual form, which is why Steiner kept him around. Although, I don’t think Grosjean will be at the liberty of repeating that kind of form again anytime soon.

        I actually think KMag should step up his game or get dumped by Haas. His performances were flattered by Grosjean’s dip in form. When Grosjean ironed out his mistakes, he absolutely smashed KMag. To be honest, I don’t think Kmag has really shown the talent, speed or race craft to warrant a long future in F1. Next season, if he gets beaten by Grosjean like he did in the 2nd half of the season, I’m pretty sure he’ll get kicked out for a more promising talent.

    4. Better drivers have been dropped heading into the 2019 season.

      I was ready to demote him as well, but then late in the season Magnussen started fade below Grosjean.
      @phylyp

      1. late in the season Magnussen started fade below Grosjean

        @coldfly – to me, it’s just that Grosjean is able to do better, when he gets his act together. Grosjean was error-prone in the earlier part, so KMag came out looking on top, but once Grosjean cut out those errors, he naturally started showing himself the better of the pair.

        @johnmilk – I don’t decry Grosjean’s leap of faith in joining Haas, that was definitely admirable. However, there are limits to the goodwill this has accrued, and I’m sure his performances earlier this year (e.g. Spain, Baku) have made a dent in that goodwill.

        Let me be clear – I like Grosjean, and am happy he has a seat. But I’m calling a spade a spade. Moreover, if Haas want to consistently challenge to be the best of F1.5, they need driver consistency, alongside team consistency and (legal!) car development.

        Better drivers? If I were Steiner looking for a replacement for Grosjean, I might look at Ocon – he is also error prone, but probably as good a (or, a better) driver than Grosjean. Of course, Ocon has his own baggage, so it’s unlikely to come to fruition. If I were looking to replace KMag, I’d definitely give Vandoorne a look – if the latter drives Abu Dhabi-style, he can be a driver who consistently brings in the points, with lesser of the friction that KMag causes (entertaining though that might be).

        1. @phylyp damn it, I always forget about Ocon, what’s wrong with my brain?

          However I would maybe put him alongside Grosjean

          Please let us stop with this Vandoorne nonsense, he was promising, he was dominant in junior categories but the leap was too much, that’s it, more will come like him and there were more like him in the past.

          1. @johnmilk – in 20 races, I didn’t see anything redeeming in Vandoorne. At the finale, I saw some feisty driving that makes me give him the benefit of doubt. :-)

            If anything, I’d have tried signing on a good driver as a development/FP1 driver, just to give a third person familiarity with the car and the opportunity to swap in if required (which should also exert gentle pressure on Grosjean & KMag).

            Phylyp tagged me, but I didn’t get a notification

            Maybe Keith is tired of us yammering in the comments, and is saving the rest of the readership as well ;-)

          2. A driver on Mercedes books has zero chance driving for a Ferrari based team, imagine the intelligence he’d gain on how the engine worked.

          3. @phylyp it is too little that one race, for entertaining as it was. But if Ericsson had so many chances, why not? But he has to go somewhere else and show it again, make us feel that we missed out something, because at the moment I don’t see anything worth keeping.

            If anything, I’d have tried signing on a good driver as a development/FP1 driver, just to give a third person familiarity with the car and the opportunity to swap in if required (which should also exert gentle pressure on Grosjean & KMag).

            That I agree with, maybe they can put someone from the Ferrari driver academy, lets see what 2019 gives us in that regards

            Maybe Keith is tired of us yammering in the comments, and is saving the rest of the readership as well ;-)

            I can’t blame him, honestly, what are we doing here?

          4. @emu55 assuming drivers are intelligent, muahah

            ok, I’ll stop

        2. @keithcollantine btw this is one example of something that I mentioned in the forum in the improvements thread. Phylyp tagged me, but I didn’t get a notification

          1. @phylyp exceeded his tag quota; I believe it’s set at 1million per the calendar year, @johnmilk.

            Can you send me a link to the improvements thread?
            I have this idea to start a F1nder app by Racefans. You will only get notifications when you both right-swipe each other ;)

          2. @coldfly https://www.racefans.net/groups/not-f1/forum/topic/racefans-in-2018-your-feedback-and-suggestions-for-improvement/

            I have this idea to start a F1nder app by Racefans. You will only get notifications when you both right-swipe each other ;)

            we could share a buttload of experiences

            I’m not even sorry anymore

  2. At the beginning of the season, after all his mistakes, I thought he was gone for sure. He definitely turned it around the second half of the season. That being said, to me he will never amount to more than a good journeyman driver. If Haas wants to get to that next level, they need to be like Sauber, and find a new talent, and unlike Sauber, hold on to them and build a potential winner. Having 2 experienced drivers is certainly the way to go for a new team, but this will be Hass’ 3rd year, its time to take some crazy fast kid and give him a shot.

  3. It’s a shame, there is a top-drawer driver in Romain, but it just seems impossible to get it to appear for any length of time… I think he’d do a hell of a lot better spending a season at 90%, just get into Q3 every Saturday, finish in the points every Sunday and work it up from there… Because it seems to be when he is on the limit that it all falls apart (literally, often).

    1. Yeah i can understand that @joeypropane , but can we make a better case for Hulkenberg, who is the person I think of immediatly when i read your comment ? GP2 champion, spades of talent, but in Hulk’s case no flashes during races which can bring a podium in the right setting (Gro did so in 3 different cars).

      1. No I agree! I’m a big Hulk fan, and it’s pained me to see all those real, solid podium opportunities fall away from him (usually by his own fault). I accept now that he will never be “tier 1”, but he is in a little performance bubble in my personal metrics – more reliable than the likes of Grosjean, Ocon and K-Mag / faster than the likes of Perez, Bottas and Sainz… But not by a big enough margin in either category to really warrant a top seat (unfortunately).

        Next year will really make or break him imo. If he matches, or beats, Ricciardo, he’ll put himself back in contention again… But I don’t see it happening.

      2. in Hulk’s case no flashes during races which can bring a podium in the right setting

        I can think of 2 races off the top of my head: Brazil 2012, a race he was likely to win until he collided with Hamilton. And Brazil 2016, where he was running in 4th place when a puncture forced him to pit behind the Safety Car (3rd was on the table, as Verstappen’s strategy almost ruined his race, so that he barely managed to snatch 3rd place from Pérez, who had been clearly slower than Hülkenberg throughout the race).

        Also, I don’t consider a handful of podium finishes (or the lack thereof) to be a meaningful indication for a driver’s performance if he doesn’t have a car that’s regularly capable of fighting for podiums. Grosjean had a car that was podium material in most races in 2012 and 2013, so it’s only natural that he scored a few. But most of the time, when a driver finishes on the podium despite not having a car that’s quick enough, it’s a matter of luck. Sometimes, an extraordinary performance in a midfield car with plenty of overtakes, unusually good tyre management and lap times that are consistently a second quicker than the team mate’s is rewarded with 7th place. And sometimes, a so-so performance in a hectic race disrupted by accidents and Safety Cars inexplicably ends on the podium.
        Stroll has a podium, Pérez a few, Grosjean had a surprise podium in 2015, Magnussen finished on the podium in his very first race.
        Hülkenberg never finished on the podium, neither did Ocon or Leclerc. Fernando Alonso hasn’t been on the podium for over 4 years now. It’s random. Looking at single results never reveals the whole story, in fact I think it really twists it into something else.

        1. I know Verstappen was the star of Brazil 2016, but Hulk’s fightback to 7th place after the puncture was very impressive too, imo. He just finished 5 seconds behind Perez, having dropped around 20 behind him after the puncture and the pitstop under the safety car.

        2. There is some truth there but you could also argue that Hulk scored 0 podiums when his team mates (well, Perez) scored 4

  4. As I said in the other post, it’s tricky to compare them with each other, but generally, both underperformed massively. Or maybe this is as good as they get. But the Haas was capable of finishing 4th in the championship, I’m sure. Put Perez and Ocon in that Haas, and it’d have made it to 4th, even with the clashes between the two!

    1. @fer-no65
      The way I see it, Grosjean underperformed this season. We know he’s better than how he drove this year.

      Magnussen actually out performed by his standards.. which is kind of sad.. because he was mediocre to poor even at peak form. I’d give him another season or maximum two before he’s dumped out of F1.

  5. Feel a little misled with the comparison og the two Hass drivers…
    Sure i´am a Kmag fan, but think i my view is very fair.. :) (Plus i´am a dane)

    Gro is one of the best on one lap pace, sure better then Kmag i admit.
    Feel that Kmag has better “racecraft”, sees opportunities and comes out better than Gro does. (Yup i know, i´am a dane)

    They have different driving styles:
    Kmag want a steady/firm and reliable front grip.
    Gro wants the back steady/firm and is more happy with throwing his car fast in a corner.

    Kmag can drive both styles in a acceptable manor.
    Gro is not performing well with another style than his own.

    The Hass car in the first half of the season, suited Kmag´s driving style better.
    Gro´s pace notably behind Kmag´s.
    Second half Hass brought large updates to their car, suiting Gro driving style much better, and Kmag was now driving a car not suited his favorite driving style, but still managed to hang on the Gro, sure not better, but matched him pretty decently.

    Would you rather have a team, with a car where one driver is performing great, or a car where both drivers are performing?? Kmag can handle both racing styles, but have been shadowed by the fact that they as a small team, need both drivers to get points.

    Qualify Standing:
    First half:
    9 kmag
    4 Gro
    Last half:
    2 Kmag
    7 Gro

    Thoughts from a danish Kmag fan…. :)

    1. This is exactly why these comparisons is so useless. They are just facts and numbers but they don’t telle the true story.

      KMag had an easy start, because his teammate was so unlucky in many ways. That made KMag’s performance shine, even though it wasn’t nothing out of the ordinary.
      Then the big updates came. The car suddently suited Grosjean’s driving style better, and he was back in business.

      It takes two well performing consistent drivers to make both the team and the drivers better over a season. So both KMag and the team suffered from Grosjeans poor first half.

      Looking forward to next season even more now :)

  6. Grosjean really needs to avoid having a similar slump that he had during the first half of the season to have a realistic chance at remaining in F1 beyond next season.

  7. Posted this elsewhere: When silly season started, people were saying that HaasF1 should sign Leclerc and I said, “Why should they sign him just to have Ferrari steal him away?” So, now Sauber (who accept money from Ferrari rather than pay it out to them like HaasF1) has had a great year with Leclerc only to have to wave goodbye and both break in and reintegrate a new driver for their team. This is exactly what Haas and Steiner hoped to avoid. HaasF1 is much more stable and together than they were a year ago, and I think they want to build on that without injecting new variables every year. Grosjean and Magnussen suit the needs of HaasF1 very well despite any shortcomings they may have.

    1. Good point, which Gunther Steiner has stressed several times. Consistency is key.
      Hopefully, this is an area that will help Haas in the midfield battle next year since all their peers made driver changes.

  8. @johnmilk “That I agree with, maybe they can put someone from the Ferrari driver academy, lets see what 2019 gives us in that regards.” Putting someone in from Ferrari is the last thing they need to do. When you take someone tied to Ferrari,you either get from them a useless reject (been there, done that) or a rising start that Ferrari will take away from you as soon as he gets really good. I think HaasF1 has defined the terms of its association with Ferrari. Aside from what they called a “technical partnership” I don’t think Gene Haas wants to be tied up with a lot of strings like having the temporary use of Ferrari-sponsored drivers. For one thing, HaasF1 wants multi-year contracts, even if that means just two years. They need continuity, and I think some of the driver who might have been available to them (like Leclerc) would only have committed to a single year. HaasF1 needs some stability and needs to avoid adding new variables to an equation they are just starting to get sorted out well.

    1. @gwbridge I would say that’s a contender for COTD

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