“A confusing day” for Magnussen as Grosjean much quicker in old-spec car

by Craig Venn

It was a day of mixed fortunes for the Haas F1 Team on Friday for the 2019 German Grand Prix as they continue to run two different specifications of car for Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

In an attempt to pin-point the VF-19’s performance issues Grosjean continues to run the original VF-19 spec, first seen at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, while Magnussen runs to current spec equipment in Germany.

The disparate cars offered different fortunes for both drivers with Grosjean in the older car coming out on top in terms of pace during both free practice session. Free practice one saw Grosjean eighth, 1.061 seconds off Charles Leclerc‘s pace-setting 1:14.013, 0.685 seconds clear of Magnussen in thirteenth.

“It’s been a good day,” said Grosjean. “I’m generally happy with the car – and have been since the first lap this morning. It was quite exciting to see the lap time in the afternoon being so close to the mix with Bottas and Verstappen.

“Maybe when qualifying time comes it could be a different story, but so far, I’m very happy. We’re evaluating a lot of things here. The long runs, I think we can work on that a little bit, we tried different things but didn’t quite get the right direction.

“I’ve got confidence that we can sort that out for the rest of the weekend. The feeling in the car though has been really good. It looks like the weather might be quite different for the rest of the weekend, it’ll play a part. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday.”

While Grosjean finished Friday pleased with his performance, his team-mate Magnussen described it as “a confusing day” as he struggled for pace and grip in the newer VF-19.

“It’s been a little bit of a confusing day,” said Magnussen. “We’ll see what we can learn in the data tonight, and then make a decision about what we’re going to do for tomorrow.

“We didn’t have grip today, overall it just wasn’t performing well. I don’t want to make any conclusions yet, but the upgrades didn’t work immediately.”

It would appear so far that Grosjean’s older spec car is the one for performance around Hockenheim, but Magnussen says he’s unable to revert to it and is hoping adverse weather come race-day aids him in his quest for points.

“I can’t go back to Romain’s (Grosjean) car this weekend, which is a little bit of a bummer, but we also need to learn, and that’s the work I’m doing – we’re continuing the development. I haven’t seen the forecast but I’m hoping for some crazy weather.”

Despite the disparity between the two cars continuing in free practice two with Grosjean sixth and Magnussen eighteenth, team principal Guenther Steiner has praised the team’s effort.

“It’s been quite a good Friday for us, even if the temperatures will be completely different on Sunday for the race,” said Steiner. “I think we learned a lot today.

“We had two cars running almost faultlessly, except for Kevin (Magnussen) in FP1, when he had a sensor go down.

“All-in-all, a good effort from the team as we ran two specs of car. Now we need to dig into the data and see what is what here.”

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