Romain Grosjean, Haas, Interlagos, 2019

Grosjean: You can’t make a racehorse from a donkey, but we tried

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In the round-up: Romain Grosjean says Haas have done the best they could with an unco-operative car this year.

What they say

Grosjean praised his team’s attempts to get the best out of the VF-19:

It’s been a tough season for the team but we can’t [ignore] the hard work that everyone’s put in and the good job that everyone’s put on in terms of race team.

So we are always operating the car with best we can. You will never make a racehorse with a donkey but we’ve tried.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Has Formula E outgrown its street tracks?

Formula E is definitely fun series to follow, but they desperately need to race on permanent circuits. These weak city circuit layouts are getting on my nerves.

Happy to see Vandoorne on podium. He never had a fair chance in F1 when McLaren clearly was on Alonso’s side.

There’s still time to join in this weekend’s Caption Competition here:

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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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18 comments on “Grosjean: You can’t make a racehorse from a donkey, but we tried”

  1. José Lopes da Silva
    24th November 2019, 0:43

    The attack mode makes much more sense than DRS.

    1. @José Lopes da Silva I disagree with you on that.

    2. Agree. I see attack mode as a super fast pit-stop.
      You lose a few seconds, bur you’ll have overspeed for a limited period when coming out of it.

  2. Haas power settings are donkey, mule, old gray mare, …

    Radio transcripts:
    Grosjean to team: Need more power.
    Team response: Switch from D to M.

  3. Well, I’ve gotta hand it to Haas, they are working really hard at making a proper racing driver from Grosjean.

    1. Lotus did succeed in turning the donkey into a race horse.
      Sideline the donkey one race and it’ll do wonders.

  4. Didn’t Haas start the year with a thouroughbread (some might even say a prancing horse) and turn it into a Donkey. It seems all that their trying to make the car better just made things worse, I can’t think of any example of a team failing this badly at in season development.

    1. Wasn’t there a time when Romain refused to drive his car if it had upgrades fitted to it? It was something like that. So Haas gave him his “retro-car” at one of the 21 points earning Grands Prix (slightly less than 5% of their income earning occasions) hoping they’d be able to get a lap by lap comparison as to whether the retro-car or the current spec car was fastest … but … didn’t he collide with his team mate? Well, there you go: that was a waste of time. Now the team has to go through this whole process again of building two different cars for the next GP (now almost 10% of their incoming earning occasions) to see if there’s a perceptible difference, and somewhere in the back of their minds is the question of maybe better laptimes on the “downgraded car” is actually more psychological than real.
      I did hear a race commentator say that Haas were going down a wrong path in terms of their development of the upgrades that Romain complained about, so maybe it was a good decision to raise the problem with management … but now the car’s “a donkey”? It would have been considerably more helpful if he hadn’t wasted a whole GP trying to prove his point. Maybe the path the designers were going down earlier this year was the right one after all.
      Your job, as a professional driver, is to get the best from the vehicle your employer gives you. Also, it isn’t your place to “bag” the company or the car in public, especially if you’re at the bottom end of the points tables.
      2020 is going to be a long and painful season at Haas.

  5. Exactly grossjean… Haas cannot turn you into a race horse…

  6. I disagree with COTD. Vandoorne was given plenty of chances, and he didn’t take them. Obviously the team favored Alonso with regards to updates and specs etc. but Vandoorne rarely managed to even get anywhere near a 37 year old F1 driver. And it’s not quite like Vandoorne was a extremely young driver, he was almost 27 by the time he left F1. That’s even older than Kevin Magnussen for example. And even when the team attempted to do a direct evaluation between him and Norris in 2018 with regards to the 2019 seat, it became quite clear that Norris was the quicker of the two. Given the promise of Vandoorne’s speed in the junior formulas, it was perhaps unexpected. But some drivers are probably not cut out for the absolute top level, and only perform when there is little pressure on them, such as the man who succeeded Vandoorne as GP2 champion, Pierre Gasly.

    1. @mashiat Well, technically, he was younger at the time of leaving F1 than Kevin Magnussen is now, though. By base age-difference, he’s older by six months and ten days, but younger at the end of last season compared to K-Mag at present.

    2. @mashiat I think Keith lost the plot a bit this weekend with giving this guy COTD and the caption competition winner.

  7. ”I think I’ll still have some role with Alfa Romeo, I don’t know what yet, we’ll discuss it in the next months, but the focus will be on IndyCar.”
    – He should just leave the Alfa Romeo team for good as the reserve-role has been more or less nothing but redundant for him, and would keep on being that way in the longer-term.

    That’s quite a serious error to make a track green again with still marshals working on a stranded car still on track. SC coming in earlier than ideal could lead to a nasty incident or at least a close call.

  8. Yay, bye bye Ticktum. Nobody, I repeat, nobody in Motorsport will miss you.

    1. Yeah, obviously missed the PR classes as part of driver training coming up. Well, missed on the opportunities given as well. On top of that, declaring that you’re in it for the money is not endearing yourself to potential employers at all.

      If you are a racer, you race. Just look at Jan Magnussen, at 47, He is taking up Danish tCR for crowds of oh, hundreds I presume. After a 30 year career, he still wanted to race.

  9. Haas started the year with a car that was even faster than last year’s one.
    And now they are the worst team bar Williams.
    And worst of all, they were still trying to upgrade the car until recently.

    After improving steadily, this disappointment. If they fail to improve from this for next year i can see Gene Haas closing the team for ’21 already.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      24th November 2019, 19:40

      Last time out, I don’t think they were the worst other than Williams. If they were, Grosjean should have been the driver of the weekend. He was maintaining a points position in his first stint, was 6th when he pitted, then was up as high as 7th later on again when others started pitting for the safety car. This was unlucky timing for him then the MGU-K failed on his car. A points finish was extremely likely without this. However, at other tracks it does seem dreadful.

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