Guenther Steiner was adamant the safety car ruined a potentially good result for the Haas F1 Team in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, with Kevin Magnussen ultimately scoring only one point in tenth as Romain Grosjean trailed home in seventeenth.
Steiner, the team principal of Haas, believes that without the intervention of the safety car, caused when debris was strewn across the track when the two Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda drivers collided, they were on course to see both cars finish inside the top eight or nine.
Neither Magnussen nor Grosjean pitted when the safety car deployed, which ultimately was the wrong decision as other drivers took the gamble, and from a position of strength they found themselves under pressure, and with only one point to show for it when eight or ten were on the cards.
“A tough finish to the day,” admitted Steiner. “The safety car destroyed our race, obviously. I think we were on the way to be seventh with Kevin, and eighth or ninth with Romain.
“The Renaults got a free pit stop and, therefore, we ended up where we were. We couldn’t get the tyres back up to temperature after the safety car. Kevin fought hard to finish tenth, and Romain just had to change tyres again as we couldn’t get any temperature into them anymore.”
Steiner believes the opening three races has seen a strong Haas team, and had luck been on their side they could have scored more than double the eleven points they have done so far, and they go to Azerbaijan at the end of the month with the aim of securing a good haul of points with both drivers.
“It’s a tough end to the day but, again, we showed that we can fight in the positions that we fought in from the last two races,” said Steiner. “I think in some places we can be best of the rest.
“We go with a positive attitude to Baku and try to do there what we haven’t done over the first three races.”