Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Haas hunting electronic fault behind three stoppages in one day

2019 F1 season

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner is confident his team will fix the electronic problems which caused it to stop three times during today’s test.

Despite causing all three of the red flags during today’s running, Steiner said the day had gone “better than yesterday.”

“Even if we had more stops today, they were shorter. Stopping is never good and we had three of them. The last one you can almost not count because it was the end of the session anyway.”

Steiner said the cause of the stoppages were “electronics problems” which meant “the engine couldn’t run safely any more, so we had to stop.”

The team’s running with its VF-19 was also interrupted on Tuesday, which Steiner said was “something similar, not the same.”

“Also electronic problems, never mechanical problems or anything it was just always electronic problems related to electronics on the engine controls.”

Despite the stops the team still managed to cover a useful mileage. “Today it wasn’t too bad because we ended up with more than 100 laps anyway because the stops were shorter,” said Steiner.

“But it’s never good when you stop. We would love to do 160 laps and if you could, 200. It’s always when you stop and lose time, that’s never good.

“I wouldn’t call it frustrating, it’s annoying more than frustrating because we know the car is OK, the car has good potential, the drivers like it. So that’s a good one, we just need now to sort out these little gremlins.”

“At least nothing big is broke,” he added. “When you break an engine it’s worse but it’s something. We just need to find what causes it and then we get a glimpse of it.

“But we are still good in time in my opinion to find it. So therefore I’m not too desperate about that. I’m not liking to be honest, I could do without it, but still it’s nothing to be desperate about it. We will fix it.”

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2019 F1 season

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10 comments on “Haas hunting electronic fault behind three stoppages in one day”

  1. Don’t see Red Bull getting these kinds of issues…

    1. @jamiefranklinf1 – LOL :)

      I’m so tempted to jump in on this fun, but I’ll hold off. For now, I’ll view Rich as only the sponsor, and Haas as the team. But the moment the Haas team starts parroting the Rich Energy line, I’ll join the fun.

  2. So lucky I was. Twice. On the run to turn 9 this morning and at the same spot on the afternoon both Fittipaldi and Grosjean stopped in front of me. Grosjean greeted the few spectators there. A good run for money.

  3. Really good seeing Pietro on track again after his shunt at Spa last year. Having to recover from breaking both legs has got to be pretty frustrating for the average person much less a race car driver. It is amusing that he doesn’t have a hint of Brazilian accident.

    As someone who works on his own cars, I *hate* electrical problems with a passion. What a pain in the butt. Hopefully they’ll find it tonight and have a clean day tomorrow.

    1. You mean it’s a pain in the Haas?

    2. @lunaslide It was a long time ago that I did work on electrical stuff, so I’m relying a lot on memory. It helps to have the right gear to help you find the problems, especially a circuit diagram and some sort of voltage indicator. As a guide here are some of the “rules” I came up with when I was working on electrical stuff:
      1) If you can reproduce the problem then you can fix the problem. This is probably the Number One fault finding rule. Intermittent problems are difficult to find because you don’t know the “magic formula” that reproduces the fault condition every time. If you do happen to find that “magic formula” that allows you to reproduce an intermittent fault every time then finding that intermittent fault is considerably easier.
      2) Before you can fix a problem you should have an idea on how they system should work. It can happen that what you think is a problem is in fact a “feature” of the system.
      3) Major system failures produce minor system failures. Sometimes you find several minor system failures have a common point, e.g. battery voltage, so don’t discount that a common point isn’t just coincidental, it maybe the cause, e.g. low battery voltage.

      1. @drycrust Thanks, I’ve copied these down to keep me on track next time. I tend to be pretty methodical about reproducing issues and taking an iterative approach because I’ve done network engineering and troubleshooting most of my career. Point two and having the right tools to diagnose are probably the problems that bit me the most. The one that frustrated me most recently was a bad ground wire in the engine bay that looked ok but had corroded enough to cause intermittent shorts.

        1. @lunaslide The easiest and most useful device is to get your hands on is a digital voltmeter. You can get these very cheaply too. I wouldn’t get an expensive one unless you had a special requirement, e.g. your employer insisted, it had a scale on it that you needed, etc. I guess if you needed it for your job then size might impress the customers, but size isn’t essential. In fact a smaller one gives more space in a toolkit than a larger one would. Try to make sure you can access the battery without too much difficulty (you might not be able to check this in the shop due to the packaging). You can also get cheap moving coil meters (the ones with a needle) as well. Usually they don’t need to use a battery for voltage and current, but they do need one for the resistance ranges. I think the digital ones a slightly better, but some would argue the other way. If you do get a moving coil one that doesn’t have an “OFF” setting, then get into the habit of switching it to the highest AC voltage when you’ve finished with it. I think the big advantage of the digital ones is you can damage the needle on a moving coil meter if you happen to try to measure voltage with the meter on measuring current. That isn’t good on any multimeter, but the moving coil ones take it harder. It is almost essential that what you get can measure your local AC mains supply and it does have something like a DC 20 volt range. The ability to measure up slightly higher than 50 volts DC is essential for telephone work. Try to get one that has a fuse or circuit breaker on the current ranges. Also, it pays to get one that will turn itself off if left idle (not applicable on moving coil meters). Don’t use this sort of device to measure the spark on an engine, it will destroy the meter.
          Another device you can get is a probe with a bulb and a lead on it. These are much more current demanding than voltmeters, which has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are high resistance faults, like your corroded grounding strap, are much more likely to present themselves to you (although using the digital voltmeter on the milliVolt range or, with everything turned off on the car – the resistance range will work as well). The main disadvantages of a probe is it is car specific, so you can’t use it on your local mains supply or checking your house telephone wiring. Also, I wouldn’t go poking around inside electronic equipment with it.
          The probe we used had two bulbs with the metal sensor-probe between the two low wattage bulbs. So you would have two clips, one that connects to the battery and another to the earth. Incandescent bulbs are constant current devices, so provided they are the same type they will happily glow a nice yellow colour, then when you touch a voltage source or something grounded the relevant bulb would shine brightly and the other bulb would go out. These are car specific. Later on they made ones with LEDs inside.

          Oh, while I’m thinking about it, one of the farmers’ tricks is to use a piece of green grass to test the voltage on an electric fence. The voltage spike has something like a 5 to 10 second cadence. You can feel the voltage spike without the involuntary scream even when you are wearing boots. So next time you’re on a farm and you see some white tape or a thin wire strung between fence posts and it is insulated from the posts, then pick a piece of long grass and touch the wire with it. Check it a few times to be safe. It’s easier to do this than to be a laughing stock.

    3. @lunaslide ”It is amusing that he doesn’t have a hint of Brazilian accident.”
      – I think you mean ‘accent’ rather than ‘accident’ to be precise?

      1. @jerejj I blame autocorrect. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :)

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