Romain Grosjean, Haas, Hungaroring, 2019

Haas pace target was “just not possible” – Grosjean

2019 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Haas overestimated how quick they could go on the hard tyres in the Hungarian Grand Prix, says Romain Grosjean.

Rain at the Hungaroring on Friday shortened the amount of practice time available for all the drivers and left teams with limited data on how the different tyre compounds would perform. Grosjean said that left Haas in the dark about his potential pace when they pitted him early in the race after Sergio Perez, who was running behind him, pitted.

“On [the] soft we were OK,” said Grosjean. “In the first stint I was keeping everyone behind and looking after my tyres.

“Then we made an early pit stop for the hard. That was not a good tyre to be on. We’ve seen it with Max [Verstappen] at the end, compared to the medium, there’s just no grip.

“Soft, medium was the right strategy but because we didn’t try much on Friday we didn’t have much idea. We fitted the hards and straight away I had blue flags and so on. I could feel that there was no grip and it was going to be long.”

Haas gave Grosjean a lap time target of “low 1’22s” (see below) but his quickest time at that point in the race was a 1’23.168.

“They asked me to follow the pace at the beginning, I said guys that’s too fast for what I can do,” Grosjean explained. “I was just keeping everyone behind and that was fine and then they asked me for the pace on hards and I said that’s just not possible.”

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Romain Grosjean’s team radio messages

To Grosjean:Any balance adjust?
To Grosjean:At turn 14
Box, Romain, box, please confirm.
To Grosjean:You’ll be close to Perez on exit, racing Perez on exit.
To Grosjean:Mode RS.
Grosjean:He comes out behind Perez
No, no, no.
To Grosjean:Later that lap
Blue flag Verstappen, blue flag Hamilton.
Grosjean:No, no.
To Grosjean:He lets Verstappen and Hamilton pass
No more blues.
To Grosjean:Let’s try and stay with these guys if we can, mate.
To Grosjean:Kvyat will be exiting the pits, we will be racing Kvyat, any pace at this stage in the race will be very good.
To Grosjean:Kvyat comes out behind Grosjean
Spark one and let’s push now.
To Grosjean:Target high 1’22s.
Grosjean:Kvyat passes him
Have you got any suggestion for the understeer?
To Grosjean:OK we’ll look at spark two please, spark two.
To Grosjean:And go mode F1.
Grosjean:OK, bit too much info at the minute. Really struggling with the balance. There’s just no grip.

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6 comments on “Haas pace target was “just not possible” – Grosjean”

  1. Haas’ travails this year with their car make me wonder if they peaked in 2018, while simultaneously blowing their chances for a best-of-the-rest WCC standing with their pit stop problems at Australia. combined with a few other issues in the 2018 season.

    This year, we’ve seen the resurgence of McLaren, an improved Alfa Romeo (with just one driver), and Renault and Toro Rosso both doing decently well due to their drivers. Really, Haas now only have Racing Point for close company, and they’re another team who don’t seem to have done as well as earlier.

    If anything, this should give Steiner the impetus needed to relook his team’s composition, not just his drivers coming together on track.

    1. Racing Point was always going to have a compromised season because their chassis development started in the middle of all their financial problems last year. I’d bet money they’ll be back in the mix next season.

  2. Mode F1.

  3. Haas making this mistake is to be expected, RB however, they made a big strategic mistake in pitting Max as early as they did, I guess they knew they needed track position after mercedes underperforming in qualifying. Mercedes might have lucked in but I don’t think so, I think they knew that in one of the hardest tracks for tyres, Max was going to run out of tread on the medium. 50 plus laps at this track? Unheard? Well they told Lewis max was going to run out of tyre and he did. Horner can blame the free pitstop all he wants but truth is they didn’t give max the best chance to fight.

    1. @peartree Max was begging the team to pit him for at least 2-3 laps before they eventually allowed him in. The tyres were clearly shot so I don’t think they could extend the first stint much without just losing the place to Lewis on track or getting undercut. However, seeing that Max was struggling with tyre deg maybe they could’ve considered committing to a 2 stop early on. I’m not convinced he would’ve been able to catch and pass the Merc on a 1 stopper though, Lewis’ tyres were lasting much better and he had better pace once in free air.

      I think Red bull’s strategy was fine, it’s just very hard to win when you don’t have the outright pace.

  4. “…but because we didn’t try much on Friday we didn’t have much idea. We fitted the hards … I could feel that there was no grip …” Haas gave Grosjean a lap time target of “low 1’22s” … but his quickest time at that point in the race was a 1’23.168.

    Sorry, but Grosjean has to accept some of the blame for this. Maybe there is some merit in testing with the original 2019 spec car, but the current spec is the car that should be the one being raced with. As a professional driver your employer gives you a car and expects you to use that. Your job is to try and do what they want with that vehicle. His and Magnussen’s job is to get the best performance from their best car, which should be the latest spec. Even if it isn’t, that is the car both drivers should be using. Just maybe Haas could afford to run the original 2019 spec for one race … but the drivers crashed into each other. Then … Take Two … Then Take Three. Nope! Sorry Romain, the team has spent a huge amount developing that car to what it is now, so that’s what you’re going to race with.
    I think he’s right: If you’re going to race with hard tyres then it is entirely reasonable to test some.

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