Team mate battles 2020: The final score – Grosjean vs Magnussen

2020 F1 season review

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In their final season together as team mates, the contest for supremacy between Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen didn’t matter a great deal in the end.

Long before the season was over Haas confirmed neither driver would be retained for the 2021 F1 season, but did not immediately reveal who would replace either. The implication was clear. Facing serious financial pressures – “there was a big chance that we are not here anymore”, team principal Guenther Steiner later admitted – the team had taken the tough decision to cut its experienced driver line-up in favour of a more economically advantageous pairing.

The disappearances of Grosjean and Magnussen from the grid are therefore no reflection on the job they did. Nor is their meagre end-of-year points haul in a car which had next to no development all season.

Sadly, Grosjean’s campaign was cut short with two races to go due to the burns he suffered in his appalling Bahrain crash. Paying tribute to his team mate of the past four seasons, Magnussen identified Grosjean’s “incredible” one-lap speed as his clear strength.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Istanbul Park, 2020
A points chance for Magnussen at Istanbul went begging
He must therefore have been pleased to end their curtailed partnership 7-7 in the qualifying battle. On average Magnussen was under two-hundredths of a second slower than Grosjean, ignoring the outlier that was Turkey, and narrowed the gap to his team mate over the course of the season.

Magnussen was tended to be the sharper of the two on race day, thanks partly to some excellent starts, and his VF-20 was usually ahead of the other. This didn’t always get the reward it deserved, notably in Turkey, where a disastrous pit stop cost him an outside chance of adding to the single point he scored in Hungary.

In some respects this year was much like last season for Haas’s drivers in that they were closely matched and had too few opportunities to show what they were capable of. But it differed in one important respect: They managed not to crash into each other. Given the tough season Haas had, that was some small relief.

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Positive gap: Magnussen was ahead; Negative gap: Grosjean was ahead

Race-by-race results summary: Grosjean and Magnussen

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Romain GrosjeanQ
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Kevin MagnussenQ
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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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13 comments on “Team mate battles 2020: The final score – Grosjean vs Magnussen”

  1. I am happy for Romain who saved his life.
    The Halo did its job well.

  2. You gotta give them huge credit for scoring points at all in a car that was the slowest on pure pace.

    1. Yeah, I guess it does show that the Haas at least was race-able, i.e. ok handling in traffic, something the Williams seemed to lack a lot.

  3. it’s not great that we can only compare the two drivers on seven race finishes.

    I hope they can get ontop of this for next season, but with two rookies in the car, it might be difficult.

    1. I think, sadly if Haas not really developed the car during this season, then there will not be too much development for them at and before the next season either, because that design will be only used for one season, and I think Mazepin will not bring a tremendous amount (in terms of F1) of money. So I expect that Alfa will beat Haas next year, unless they pull some kind of engineering miracle out of the hat. (Although F1’s point system is not really expressive in the case of barely scoring backmarkers, so the points are not necessarily pocketed by the bests of them, at so rare events luck or random is a big factor.) If Williams will improve then Haas might become the weakest team for a while, because they are in survival mode until the effect of cost cap, development tokens, and simpler aero will starts to help them sufficiently.

      It was a nice season by Grosjean, he compared quite well, nice quali stats. Good luck to those post F1 years.

  4. They managed not to crash into each other. Given the tough season Haas had, that was some small relief. And that is important cause…

  5. Farvel Kevin!
    Aurevoir Grosjean: FE just got a whole lot more dangerous.

  6. Hard to believe that it’s been Kevin’s 6th season as a driver and 7 in F1. It seems like yesterday, he was racing in Australia in his debut with McLaren. His interview of his expectations and the inability to realize those was very strong.
    He must be so hungry for a victory! I hope he’s fighting and wins them in the future.

    Same for Grosjean – 9 seasons in F1 and I think his name will be forever linked to Haas. The soft-spoken driver with the baby face has been with us for a decade. Farewell Romain and best of luck to you! You may not have won a championship but there’s little doubt that you leave the sport as the winningest driver in its history! It’s a victory that was made possible through relentless effort by the entire sport and safety staff – a victory that other drivers and F1 can share in and one you get to cherish for life with your family.

    Godspeed to the Haas Duo!

    1. For Kevin it must be hard to have had your best result in your first f1 race. All downhill from then on…

      1. @frasier – no doubt, I can’t imagine what it’s felt like. He’s the only one who knows if he gave it his best and if he can be happy with the results. He still was part of F1 for 7 seasons which is way more than most drivers can say.

  7. Hard to imagine that the writer did not want to factor in that after Silverstone Magnussen was no longer driving the same car as Grosjean, which is very much shown by how far ahead Grosjean was in qualifying at the next race. Haas had no updates, so its even harder to imagine they were driving the same car at all other than the chassis.

  8. To be honest this driver pairing was as uninspiring as the team/graph’s colour scheme.
    I don’t even recall who I rated higher this season; I think it was Magnussen, but can’t even say why. Let’s see if they can perform well in other series so I can adjust my judgement (adjudgement) and blame it all on the car (next year’s driver line-up certainly won’t give me a clue).

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