Haas F1 Team boss Guenther Steiner has confirmed that the team have decided to take things further in regards to the damage caused to the VF17 of Romain Grosjean, when he hit a drain cover that had come loose during the free practice 2 session, for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Frenchman was lucky to escape uninjured, when his right rear tyre struck the dislodged cover, which became uprooted after Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Valtteri Bottas had driven over it just moments earlier, causing Grosjean’s tyre to shred into pieces unexpectedly.
The Haas driver was launched into a spin at 170 mph, before hitting the barrier heavily at Turn 13, subjecting him to a 17 G impact.
Both Grosjean and Steiner were outraged by the incident, stating it was completely “unacceptable” and “not up to the safety standards” expected at Formula 1 circuits these days, calling for swift action to be taken to ensure it does not happen again.
The FIA, who investigated the incident on Friday, came to the conclusion that a welding failure was to blame for the drain cover being able to lift out of its grounding, and ordered circuit engineers to look at every drain that did not have bolts in, and strengthen them ahead of final practice on Saturday morning.
Steiner could not let an incident that had caused such expensive damage, and not caused by factors of Haas own doing, lay however, and opened discussions with the Sepang International Circuit, to determine the best course of action from here.
“It was completely out of our hands.
“I cannot say – ‘oh, OK, we now let, let’s say, three-quarters of a million [dollars] go because somebody forgot to weld something in, it’s all good’.
“We pay to come here, we pay a fee to come here, and everybody has to pay. We discussed it and they were very professional about it. They have insurance; let’s see what we can do.”
The damage caused to Grosjean’s car was rather substantial, believed to cost somewhere in the region of £500,000, which included a brand new floor and front wing brought in for the Malaysia race weekend, that were irreparable.
Such an amount is a huge sum for a team the size of Haas to bear, hence why Steiner met with Sepang International Circuit Chief Executive Dato’ Razlan Razali on Sunday morning to discuss compensation.