Guenther Steiner, the team principal of the Haas F1 Team, was disappointed that another pit stop issue struck the team during the Australian Grand Prix, with Romain Grosjean retiring with what appeared to be a wheel nut failure after a slow stop at the same wheel.
The Frenchman pitted on lap fifteen but was delayed when the mechanics on the left front wheel struggled to fit the wheel, before on lap twenty-nine he pulled off the road with the wheel becoming loose.
Steiner felt Grosjean was unlucky with the result, particularly as both he and team-mate Kevin Magnussen both retired from strong positions from the 2018 Australian Grand Prix with separate wheel issues during their pit stops.
“Mixed emotions today,” said Steiner. “Deja-vu from last year on Romain’s (Grosjean) car it looks like, a pit stop gone wrong. Last year, after Australia, we went 20 races – the rest of the season, without another pit stop issue.
“We’re a little bit unlucky here, we’ll have to investigate what happened, it’s too early to say right now.”
Steiner felt Grosjean’s chance of points had already gone thanks to the seven seconds lost in the pit stop, which put him amongst the train of cars behind Antonio Giovinazzi, all of which ultimately lost out to those drivers running different strategies.
“On the pitstop you could see that there was an issue, He lost seven seconds and the race was gone there – even if he got to the end there wouldn’t have been points,” Steiner is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.
“They got the wheel back on, so we didn’t lose the wheel like last year. But after 15 laps it mechanically broke because we forced it on. It [the wheel nut] was on, but when you take it off and put it on it gets damaged and then the thread breaks.
“He [Grosjean] was disappointed. I spoke with him about it, which is the right thing to do, and apologised because this should not happen. But he’s in good spirits because the car is good. It’s not his last chance to make points.”
Whereas Grosjean was unlucky, Steiner was pleased to see Magnussen have a strong race to finish sixth, the only driver outside of the top three teams not to be lapped, and it is hoped that the VF-19 can be a strong car throughout the remainder of the season.
“On the other side, Kevin (Magnussen) finishing sixth is a great achievement for the team,” added Steiner. “We know the car is strong. This year we take eight points away from Melbourne, last year we were last going away from Australia.
“It’s better than 2018. I think with this car we can be strong in all the remaining 20 races.”