Crash Hampers Positive Start to American Weekend for Romain Grosjean

by Paul Hensby

Romain Grosjean ended the morning session at the Circuit of the Americas with the sixth fastest time, but the Frenchman completed only four laps in the afternoon before crashing into the barriers between turns five and six.

The Haas F1 Team driver was positive after the morning’s running but was disappointed to miss out on some significant running in the afternoon thanks to his incident.  He knows he will go into the race without completing a genuine race simulation, and he will need the data from team-mate Kevin Magnussen to set his VF-19 for race day.

“FP1 felt good. The car felt like it had a lot of grip, maybe that’s because I drove the NASCAR yesterday and then jumped back in a Formula One car and thought, oh okay, I’ve got some grip now,” said Grosjean.  “It was a good session, I was happy with that.

“We made some changes for FP2 and with hindsight they were maybe a little less good. It’s tough out there, there are a lot of bumps, but it’s pretty cool also. We’ll take the positives from FP1.

“We obviously haven’t had the chance to do a race sim, but we’ll take whatever Kevin (Magnussen) has done and just apply it to our car.”

Team-mate Magnussen was also inside the top ten in first practice and then run a significant test programme in the afternoon, meaning he was unable to better seventeenth in the standings, just ahead of Grosjean.  The test was aimed at working out more about the aerodynamics of the car, something that has been costing the team massively this season, particularly on Sundays.

“FP1 was decent. We knew we had a big program of test stuff in FP2, so we tried to go straight into FP1 – we didn’t do an install lap, we didn’t do a turnaround, we just got straight into running,” said Magnussen.  “We wanted to get some car balance info from FP1.

“Then in FP2 we did all this aero testing, it was to get correlation, and obviously to try and understand a little more about the aero. So, we’re not concerned about the times, we saw how FP1 went, we didn’t go low fuel and stuff like that.

“That’s more representative of our pace, we’re probably just outside the top ten. It would be nice to find more, and actually be in the top ten, it’s very tight so we’ll just have to try and nail it tomorrow.”

Team Principal Guenther Steiner said everything went to plan in the morning session and the team learned a lot from their testing programme in the afternoon, even if Grosjean was unable to complete than the four laps.

“It was a very busy day today,” said Steiner.  “FP1 went to plan, everything seemed to be fine. Then in FP2 we had planned a lot of testing, especially with Kevin (Magnussen).   We achieved all our results there, even if the times maybe don’t look good, we learned a lot.

“We now have a lot of data to look through.   Unfortunately, Romain (Grosjean) had a crash on his second fast lap, so he couldn’t do more driving. We’ll have the car fixed for tomorrow. We’ll be back on track and we’ll see what we can do.”

Kevin Magnussen conducted an aero test during second practice – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

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