Romain Grosjean is keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to where he thinks the Rich Energy Haas F1 Team will be in the pecking order for next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
The Frenchman, whose best result in Australia came in 2016 when Haas made their debut, says the two weeks of winter testing has made 2019’s competitive order “difficult to read” but remains optimistic of the VF-19’s performance.
“I think we’ve got a first idea [of where Haas fit into the competitive order], but it’s really difficult to read too much into it,” says Grosjean. “I’d rather wait for the first few races to know where we are.
“It’s very sexy [the car]. It’s a beautiful car. It handles very well. The feeling in the car is better than it was last year. I think the team has done a really good job on its understanding of the new front wing and getting ready for the season to start. I’m really looking forward to driving the car on different kinds of circuits.”
Whilst Grosjean and the Haas F1 Team will be eager to see how they compare to their competitors in Australia, the question on every fan’s lips is whether the new-for-2019 rules package will improve the quality of this season’s racing.
For 2019 all cars will feature simplified front and rear wings and less intricate, repositioned bargeboards in an attempt minimize the car’s aero wake and promote overtaking. But does Grosjean think the changes will work?
“I don’t know. I haven’t had the chance to follow another car yet. The Australian Grand Prix is always a race where there’s very little overtaking. It’s just the nature of the circuit. It’s such a great grand prix, it almost doesn’t matter.
“Kevin (Magnussen) was very enthusiastic when he followed another car, but I haven’t had that chance. The only thing I noticed is when you don’t use the DRS, you feel very slow on the straight compared to when you do use it. Therefore, we could see a fair bit of overtaking with DRS. Again, we’ll need to wait and see.”
Haas and Grosjean will look to right the wrongs of last year’s Australian Grand Prix when both cars retired from the top six following botched pit-stops.