Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Team mate battles 2019: The final score – Grosjean vs Magnussen

2019 F1 season review

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Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen spent much of 2019 wondering what the VF-19 was going to do next.

It was a capricious beast, prone to sudden swings in performance at the slightest variation in temperature. The drivers became depressingly used to shaking down a quick car on Friday, often qualifying reasonably well, then being devoured by their midfield rivals on race day.

They didn’t help matters early in the season by tangling with each other on track. Tensions rose ahead of the summer break as the pair clashed in Spain, though both continued to take points. It got worse in Britain, where Haas wanted to conducted a race-long comparison of two difference aerodynamic configurations, but the pair hit each other at the start, putting both out.

Incredibly, they tangled again at the next weekend as well, though both made it home in the points for what turned out to be the second and final time of the year. An infuriated team principal Guenther Steiner suggested the collisions would affect the team’s choice of drivers for next year, but Magnussen and Grosjean were ultimately retained.

Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
The Haas pair got too close for comfort at times
The gap between the pair of them in qualifying fluctuated as they experimented with different car configurations. Magnussen came out ahead, but his average margin over Grosjean was less than a tenth of a second. The striking detail is that the car often had the pace to reach Q3 – both drivers got there nine times – yet neither driver has the points score to reflect that kind of performance.

In the races it was often a case of damage limitation for both drivers. Magnussen did this more effectively, scoring more than twice as many points as Grosjean.

But it’s only fair to point out Grosjean suffered more from reliability problems than his team mate. This was the case from the start of the season.

The Albert Park circuit was one of the best venues for this year’s Haas. Magnussen duly finished ‘best of the rest’ with what turned out to be the team’s highest finish of the season.

[icon2019autocoursempu]Grosjean was on course to take a decent haul of points as well until a failed pit stop forced him to retire. This was the first of a series of occasions on which Grosjean, though no fault of his own, lost points to his team mate.

However he often didn’t make life easy for himself. Grosjean has been criticised for making overly aggressive starts in the past, but this year’s were if anything too timid. He lost more places on lap one than any other driver, in stark contrast to Magnussen, who made a solid net gain on lap one over the season. Sometimes Grosjean even struggled to keep a Williams behind at the start, and in Singapore he went out through a needless tangle with George Russell later in the race.

After a frustrating season both drivers will be hoping for a more stable platform from Haas in 2020. In Grosjean’s case, a change in luck is especially deserved, particularly as he needs to assert himself against Magnussen, who has now out-scored him for two years in a row.

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Romain Grosjean vs Kevin Magnussen: Key stats

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Romain Grosjean vs Kevin Magnussen: Who finished ahead at each round

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Romain GrosjeanQ
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Kevin MagnussenQ
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Romain Grosjean vs Kevin Magnussen: Qualifying gap

Times based on the last qualifying round at each race weekend in which both drivers set a time. Negative indicates Romain Grosjean was faster, positive means Kevin Magnussen was faster. Magnussen’s unrepresentative Canadian GP lap time was discounted

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Author information

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...
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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26 comments on “Team mate battles 2019: The final score – Grosjean vs Magnussen”

  1. Unreliability: yes. Of machinery: no.

  2. Still baffles me that these 2 clowns are still with a race seat yet Nico Hulkenberg is without.

    It is not like there weren’t any other drivers available to choose from including ex drivers like Pascal Wehrlein and Stoffel Vandoorne or a US driver like Alexander Rossi or fresh F2 champion Nick de Vries.

    I would have kept 1 existing driver and replaced the other even if it is just to get a fresh perspective/feedback from a new driver that then also serves as a new benchmark for the driver that stayed.

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer was HAAS problem caused by the drivers this year?

      1. @@m-bagattini both drivers certainly caused some problems for Haas this year and previous years. But you are right – there were also problems no driver would have been able to fix.

        If Hamilton and Verstappen would have driven for Haas the last 3 years I am 100% sure Haas would have scored more points and probably would have had a better developed car. That said Haas still would not have won races or the championship.

        So I still find the decision to keep both drivers for another year a mistake, the same mistake Gene Haas made the year previous.

        1. @jelle-van-der-meer I think they’re just following an approach based on keeping constant things they know are not responsible of the lack of pace. If next year’s results will be comparable to those of 2018, then the car could be considered fixed; it will then be time to think about the driver(s). Romain and KMag are quite predictable so this can be very helpful in fixing what’s really broken. I’m with you, some other driver could help developing a better car, but there’s also the risk of not finding what’s really the problem and introducing a new big variable to take into account. It’s a long term process and I appreciate what they’re trying to achieve.

    2. I’m not sure Hulk has proven he can develop a car better than both these drivers. Not sure he’s faster on a single lap either. I guess he could have scored more points but who knows how he would have coped with the strange beast Haas’ car seemed to be

      1. If only Hulkenberg and Magnussen had a common teammate, like Jolyon Palmer, so we could compare them like that… oh well.

  3. I’ve already written a very thorough comparison between these two as I feel many will look more into the points rather than the results and gaps between them.

    It is very long!

    I think overall this season, Grosjean has been a fair bit better than Magnussen. Points when you are in an inconsistent car can be unrepresentative, especially when one of the drivers has retired so often.

    Factor in that Grosjean has retired 7 times. The only one that you can consider to be partly his fault is in Britain, which I think Magnussen shared the blame.

    Take a look at all the races they both finished and the gaps between them. Statistically, this looks like Grosjean wins but not by much, but look into the details and in fact, it makes him look a fair bit better.

    Only 11 out of 21 races. And I feel that the fact that Grosjean hasn’t been able to show us much seems to be one reason why people still are implying he is terrible. I don’t think he’s been that bad this year, and to me has done better than Magnussen.

    China: Grosjean by 8 seconds and 2 positions.
    Not that much to say for this race, Grosjean just seemed quicker.

    Spain: Magnussen by 6 seconds and 3 positions.
    Grosjean was well over 10 seconds ahead of Magnussen until the safety car came out. Magnussen did take advantage to the situation to good effect. Grosjean didn’t handle it very well but was a bit unlucky this happened otherwise it will have been a comfortable win for him. But this goes to Magnussen.

    Monaco: Grosjean by 28 seconds and 3 positions.
    Grosjean got held up by Gasly in qualifying in a very dangerous way. Magnussen was outstanding in qualifying but seemed nowhere in the race. Grosjean climbed up the field and although the strategy won’t have helped Magnussen, I think Grosjean must have had a huge pace advantage to finish nearly 30 seconds ahead.

    Canada: Grosjean by 66 seconds and 3 positions.
    A simply dreadful weekend for Magnussen. He did apologise but he showed the most disrespect for the team I have ever heard a driver give in recent years. Far worse than anything Grosjean has said this year. He crashed in practice and the car may not have been great, but the distance he finished behind Grosjean was massive.

    Austria: Grosjean by 62 seconds and 3 positions.
    Another weekend where I just don’t get where Magnussen was. His strategy was bizarre though and he may have had an issue at the start as he had a pit stop on lap 11 and 13, then went all the way to lap 62 and pitted again. But during his race, he took quite some time to pass Kubica and never could get by Russel despite at times running close. The gap isn’t representative, but Grosjean looked better again.

    Germany: Grosjean by 2 seconds and 1 position.
    This was a race where they both looked pretty good and close, but Grosjean just edges Magnussen.

    Belgium: Magnussen by 7 seconds and 1 position.
    This race had the pattern that seemed to happen quite often with Hass later in the season. Good performance at some stage in the race, terrible in the other. At first, Magnussen was just terrible. Falling right back from 7h to 11th in 5 laps. He got passed by Grosjean early on too. The interesting thing is, despite grosjean then pitting and passing magnussen again, Grosjean’s pace then had the same problem. On lap 42, Magnussen had caught Grosjean from all that way back and sneaked through when Grosjean was letting the leaders through. A bit lucky really as otherwise Grosjean may have beaten him again. Though the gap did extend dramatically after this in such little time. Grosjean said he wanted to retire so he may have had an issue.

    Singapore: Grosjean by 50 seconds and 6 positions.
    This was to me, the first race this season where Magnussen comfortably beat Grosjean by some margin. Though it wasn’t close to the times Grosjean has been him before. Magnussen had some issue later in the race. It is a bit hard to predict, but I think Magnussen will have beaten him by a few positions and possibly up in the points and by some margin over Grosjean too.

    Mexico: Magnussen by 55 seconds and 2 positions.
    Finally in this part of the season, Magnussen starts to bring together more races where he comfortably beats Grosjean. I don’t think Grosjean was that bad this weekend. I think the Hass was nearly as bad as the Williams this time out. Magnussen did well to finish where he did, even though it was a low position. They looked to be about the worst here of any track this season. Altitude problems related to this?

    Brazil: Magnussen by 2 seconds and 2 positions.
    This was basically the opposite story to Singapore. This was Grosjean’s drive of the season like Magnussen’s probably was in Singapore. But both suffered bad luck when they performed very well. However, here, Grosjean has a very good qualifying position and race start. He lost positions to Leclerc, which was not to be unexpected, but other than kimi also getting by, he held it in the points well. Magnussen was falling back quicker, though I don’t blame him for the contact with Ricciardo at all. Grosjean did a good long first stint and was as high as 6th at one point. When the safety car came out, he was back in 7th. And with the chaos that went on ahead, he was actually on for a podium if you think about it. Sainz did get past him, but if you look at it closely, it was in a bit of an unreasonable manner. Grosjean still had his car pretty much fully along side and Sainz pushed him off the track (which could have gone horribly wrong) Grosjean reflected on this and although I often don’t like him moaning, I can see why he thought this was poor from Sainz. If it wasn’t for the fact it was a race restart, I think that may have been investigated. Right after this happened, his MGU-K failed. If it wasn’t for this, he will have likely been 4th, and with Sainz being more reasonable, quite possibly a podium. That was Grosjean’s best drive in quite some time. But I doubt many will remember or appreciate it.

    Abu Dhabi: Magnussen by 18 seconds and 1 position.
    Magnussen was back on it again here and simply comfortably out performed Grosjean in a race that not much happened.

    The reason why I went into so much detail is that I think most will just look at the points and base things too much on Grosjean’s past and bad results. I still would rate him as one of the worst drivers on the grid this year, but I think he’s better than Magnussen and has shown that this season. I think that Hass will have looked at his results in a similar way to this and this as well as the fact he’s always been at this team may be a strong reason why they have kept him.

    The one area Magnussen has clearly got better is 1 lap pace. I think he holds an advantage over Grosjean in this area now. I also think he’s better at taking opportunities when they come without messing up. Spain as an example.
    But otherwise, Magnussen has quite clearly been outperformed this season IMO.

    There have been a few more races that one or other of them retired in that I think Magnussen will have come out on top. But most of them, Grosjean retired so early on that it is too hard to tell. Mexico is certainly another race that should go to Magnussen anyway. But there were several others where Grosjean was ahead before he had to retire too.

    1. You sound grosjean biased, he is the one expect to perform well and isn’t up to scratch at the moment.

      1. Are you only reading the parts that i am saying Grosjean isn’t as bad as he looks? I have said Magnussen looks comfortably on op of him in qualifying and noted that Magnussen had several races where he looked far better. If i was biased towards Grosjean, do you think I would have gone in to this much detail about a race that statistically it looks like Grosjean destroyed Magnussen (singapore) it was infact the other way round.

        All the gaps and descriptions are based on what happened, and it is true that Grosjean has beaten him by far bigger margins. And another thing that should show i am not against Magnussen is that I factor in when he has had problems not of his own fault. Like Austria, i mentioned that the gap was not representative because of his strategy.

        I think your comment further down more or less showes you are in a way the opposite to me and are extremely against Grosjean.

        1. @ Ben: I like Grosjean. I also think he did well this year and had he edge on race pace. He lost 7-13 in qual, which has been a strong point for him in the past, and scored less than half the points, mind you.. But when in your analysis you miss that Magnussen, very-very impressively, qualified 6th in Monaco in a mess of a car, and then “seemed nowhere in the race”, you undermine the entire thing. Magnussen was on track for a brilliant race when a standard-safety car pit-stop caused him to get stuck in a train behind a McLaren, and where McLaren then chose to, strategically, sacrifice one of their cars to hold up the field so the leading McLaren could get a gap. -All- of your ‘unexplained’ 30 seconds to Grosjean, whom did not stop and did not get caught in the train, are right there. I stopped reading after that.

      2. Well exactly, why are we expecting him to be better than Mag ? (I do to btw, and to me the answer is that I believe he is an incredibly fast driver who is just sh… at stitching a good GP week in week out).

      3. kpcart, it is a shame that, by contrast, you seem to have decided what your view of Grosjean already was going to be and, rather than accepting the possibility that your fixed view is wrong, you seem to have just dismissed his view because it is not compatible with the view you want to have of Grosjean.

        You say that “Magnussen had a decent season”, even though it is pointed out in the article that Grosjean spent more laps ahead of Magnussen than Magnussen spent ahead of Grosjean, and also disregard the fact that Grosjean ended up beating Magnussen to the finish in more races than Magnussen finished ahead of Grosjean.

        If Magnussen was “having a decent season”, then why was he finishing behind Grosjean more often than not? That would rather imply that Magnussen wasn’t actually having that decent a season compared to Grosjean, as otherwise you’d expect him to have done better in that area. The DNF for Grosjean in Australia gives a very misleading points score, as it happened when Haas were most competitive and Magnussen could score a disproportionately large amount of points (40% of his points for the season came in that one race).

    2. Thank you for the long read – just FYI – http://www.F1i.com disagrees with you.
      They just published their year’s rating of drivers (the combined score of the 21 individual ratings during the year) and Grossjean ended up 18th with 6.31 (only Kubica & Giovinazzi ranked lower), faulty or not even Lance Stroll was ranked slightly better in 17th with 6.33. Magnussen came in 15th with average score of 6.48.

      1. I think the rankings get heavily effected by Grosjean getting a very average rating at the 7 races he had to retire in which really won’t help his scores.

        I myself would probably rate Grosjean around 15th with Magnussen a little lower. I just think there is way too much criticism around pointing towards Grosjean where he has hardly made any big mistakes this year. His luck is making him look worse than he is. And his drive in Brazil was excellent, but not recognised.

        1. You must be out og your mind😉 Grosjean can be fast at times but he crumbles under pressure.

          1. Am i saying anywhere that he doesn’t? this is a comment with comparison between team mates on a team mate comparison article. Magnussen is better at taking opportunities when they come a lot of the time, spain as an example. But overall this season if you look at the performances rather than points and results, Grosjean has actually pretty comfortably outperformed magnussen averaged out. But I won’t deny grosjean has his problems, but I don’t think magnussen is any better. Both are poor drivers on average with the occasional stand out drive.

    3. Ben – Magnussen started 5th in Monaco in a Haas. Pretty ok. A lot of the conventionally popular drivers would be pretty happy with themselves with such a performance. Dropped to 6th at the start, but then held position. Ran to the Leclerc incident safety car, pitted like the front runners, but got passed by a train led by a McLaren. McLaren, within the rules, but slightly unconventionally, chose to run one of their two cars purposefully artifically slow in order to crate a gap between it and the McLaren car in front.
      The 30 seconds that “you think” is due to a pace advantage between the two drivers is entirely explained by those circumstances. With such blatant oversights the rest of the analysis becomes void.

    4. @thegianthogweed Funnily, two years ago I argued why Grosjean had outperformed Magnussen by a bigger margin than the numbers suggested, this year I think Magnussen was the stronger driver. Given how poor the Haas was on race day, the head-to-head result was very much determined by the drivers’ ability to bring home some points when the car wasn’t terrible. Magnussen came out on top. While Magnussen was a little lucky to outperform Grosjean in Australia and Spain, the gap could have been bigger hadn’t Magnussen been as unlucky in Monaco, where he was running in 6th place before the stops. Haas then astonishingly pitted him during the caution, which dropped him behind Norris, who was then instructed by the team to drive extremely slowly. Grosjean was one of the drivers who benefited from this team tactic, and he was running in 9th after the round of pit stops. However, he got demoted to 10th by a recovering Ricciardo in the final lap after he had earned himself a time penalty. So, all in all, it wasn’t a very good performance. Magnussen, on the other hand, was delayed even further by an insanely slow Räikkönen, so he finished even behind Norris.

      Monaco: Grosjean by 28 seconds and 3 positions.
      Grosjean got held up by Gasly in qualifying in a very dangerous way. Magnussen was outstanding in qualifying but seemed nowhere in the race. Grosjean climbed up the field and although the strategy won’t have helped Magnussen, I think Grosjean must have had a huge pace advantage to finish nearly 30 seconds ahead.

      1. @f1infigures

        Sorry for this, I will have re-watched the highlights that I recorded which may not have highlighted what penalty grosjean got. Grosjean may have been helped that race – the opposite to Magnussen, but Grosjean was badly held up in qualifying, which is very important here. I don’t think Grosjean was great here myself either, but I don’t know how easy it would be to say Magnussen out performed him. Maybe it is one I should have left out as Magnussen had the bad luck in the race and Grosjean in qualifying.

        Points wise, I can agree Magnussen has been good at getting them when they are on offer, but in terms of who’s out performed who, I think it is pretty easily Grosjean. If they were in a better car and had the same luck and performances, I think grosjean will have got more points. That is the way I looked at things.

        Looking at points, well yes, Magnussen did do very well in the races where he got a lot of them. But Grosjean didn’t have a chance in a 3rd of the races this season. He was set for quite possibly the best result for Hass of the season in Brazil. He likely will have finished just behind Sainz if not for his MGU-K issue.

        But I am not really judging them on the points. Performance wise on race day, I think Grosjean is a step ahead. When he has better luck, I can see him pretty easily beating Magnussen if the same pace continues next season.

        1. @thegianthogweed Overall, I think Magnussen and Grosjean are probably pretty evenly matched. In some races Magnussen was much faster, in other races Grosjean was. In the end Magnussen was more effective or more lucky. I do think that Grosjean has more potential, but he is also the more erratic of the two. Perhaps the best example of this was 2018, when he was truly horrible in the first half of the season, but consistently faster than Magnussen in the second half.

  4. Grosjean is overrated and had a terrible season, but it’s hard to tell.. Haas car developments were a disaster, and the car was not driver friendly. Magnussen had a decent season I believe for what machinery he had. Grosjean is lucky to get a contract for 2020, if kubica brings $15+million dollars with Orlen to Haas as a 3rd driver, grosjean will be under even more pressure for the 2021 seat. But Im not convinced haas will stay on for new 2021 regulations, neither is kubica i believe, he is now in more talks with Stroll’s team. Perhaps haas just chose to give up, let 2020 play out with same driver lineup for consistency and less work

  5. Beavis and Butthead. It HAAS been a very poor season. They should be racing at Williams F1.

  6. Used to support Grosjean but now find his attitude unbearable. He’s also still getting in trouble, and seems to have no luck either.

    Wouldn’t mind to see him replaced, but I can see that it would be difficult for a team like Haas to find a better driver that wouldn’t need a season or two to get to Grosjean’s F1 level.

  7. Comparing these two in 2019 is pretty useless.
    They have been open about the drivers not running the same spec to compare and learn.

    I think HAAS did right by keeping both drivers, after all when the car works both of them are more then capable of taking best of the rest.
    They dont need the extra workload on getting a new driver comfortable. They need to get their car to work, not win, WORK.
    After that you start to tweak it and one factor can be the drivers. There is just a long road up to that point.

  8. I’m also inclined to think that Netflix and f1 subsequently made a meal of presenting Grosjean as the no good grumbler. No lingering on him consoling his mechanics after their error (both last year and this year) or his job at the driver’s association, or his part in launching Haas. French bashing at its best. Mag was dreadful on radio in the beginning of his year to the point of being shut up by his boss and got away with it. Both were right to grumble and Haas to their credit acknowledged it in the end but I find F1’s choice of comment to share as pushing a narrative. That being said Gro should know that by now and stay mute.

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