Haas team principal Guenther Steiner defended the team’s decision to call its drivers into the pits on the formation lap during the Hungarian Grand Prix, which led to both cars receiving penalties.Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were given 10-second penalties after the stewards ruled the team had violated a rule prohibiting driver aids by issuing an instruction on the formation lap.
Both drivers were told to pit before the race started in order to fit slick tyres. The decision paid off, as the pair rose from the back of the field into the top five, and Magnussen finished the race in ninth place. The penalty dropped him to 10th in the final classification, but he still earned the team its first point of 2020.
Steiner said the decision to pit both cars was justified despite the penalty.
“For sure we would do the same thing again,” he said. “The 10 second penalty was a little bit ambiguous. Unfortunately, we cannot appeal it because it’s a time penalty – you’re not allowed to appeal those ones.
“It was never done before, and it looks like if it’s never been done before and there’s no clear regulation, you get a penalty.
“We need to move on from this, but for sure it spiced the race up for everybody. I don’t think we should stop doing these things in racing, otherwise accountants can race in Formula 1.”
Haas is not planning to bring any upgrades for its VF-20 this year. Steiner said the team will have to make the best out of what it has.
“We’ve had a lot of inconsistency but I think we know pretty well where we’re at,” he said. “We’re not the fastest midfield car this year and we just need to deal with that one.
“We’re always trying to get the best out of the package. We’ve not planned any development for this year, so we have to focus on getting the best out of what we’ve got this season and look to next year to try to do something better for that season. It will not be an easy year but we’re here to stay.”
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2020 F1 season
- Pictures: Wrecked chassis from Grosjean’s Bahrain fireball crash to go on display
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers