Romain Grosjean, Haas, Silverstone, 2019

Grosjean says Haas’s old aero feels much better after beating Magnussen’s new-spec car

2019 British Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean out-qualified team mate Kevin Magnussen at Silverstone despite switching back to Haas’s original specification aerodynamics for its VF-19.

Haas have struggled in recent races after the upgrades to the car have increased downforce but not the performance of the car. In an effort to get to the bottom of these issues the team reverted Grosjean’s car back to the Melbourne package and left Magnussen on the newest spec.

But while Grosjean said the earlier aerodynamic specification felt much better to drive, he was still puzzled by tyre behaviour during qualifying. A mystery tyre issue in Q2 made it feel like “it was raining”, he said.

Grosjean was three tenths of a second faster than his team mate in the first part of qualifying. “Q1 was really good,” he said. “From that point I felt that was us in Q3 today definitely.

“Then in Q2 the first lap we were 1.2 seconds slower than my fastest lap so we don’t know what happened.”

“From the exit of turn 16 to starting the first timed lap both times it just felt like it was raining,” he explained. “Something just wasn’t quite right. We need to understand because it’s a shame I think we definitely had the pace to go to Q3 today.”

However on balance Grosjean was pleased with the performance of the old package.

“The feeling is honestly an awful lot better on the old one [package] personally. Since we’ve introduced the new one I haven’t really felt comfortable. Especially through the high speed corners and the high speed entry so that has come back to me with the old package.”

“The downforce is much less,” he conceded. “There’s a big weakness on the old one that we were aware of in winter testing and some of them were addressed with the new package. But obviously the new package doesn’t deliver the type of lap time as much as it should.”

Grosjean believes the team should be able to use the data it has gained from comparing the two packages to make progress with its tyre problems.

“We just need to understand the difference between the two packages and hopefully we can pile on some downforce.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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  • 2 comments on “Grosjean says Haas’s old aero feels much better after beating Magnussen’s new-spec car”

    1. Interestingly, Sainz and Pérez also failed to improve their Q1 time, so apparently these cars are extremely sensitive to small track-condition changes. Given Haas’ usual lack of race pace and their low top speeds (they probably use more wing to get more heat into the tire) their poor qualifying performance doesn’t bode well for the race.

    2. All the big differences from race to race or from qualy to race and vice virsa has all to do with the strangely narrow tire operating window. The gaps in the midfield are so small, that just outside this window means you fall behind the pack. Haas isn’t the only car with this issue. It also means that developing the car is difficult. Is the old Haas really better than the new? Or is the old car better on this particular track to get the tires in the window? And the next race, it can be the opposite. The problem is Pirelli.

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