Haas F1 Team had a mixed Friday practice session with Romain Grosjean finishing sixth and seventh in both practice sessions, whilst Kevin Magnussen finished the day in eighth and fourteenth.
After a nightmare season which sees the American team languishing in ninth in the constructor’s championship, Haas had a positive day 1, although it wasn’t to be without incident after Grosjean was hit from behind by Valtteri Bottas which caused damage to both cars in the process.
Grosjean was disappointed that the floor was damaged about the collision with Bottas but is hopeful for the weekend giving Haas momentum for 2020.
“I was running a modified package, one that I hadn’t run before, so we were really doing it to get my feedback and to learn for the future. In Free Practice 1 I was really happy with the floor, the modifications and so on, so I said let’s carry on with it into the second session. Unfortunately, we only had one of that package.
“Tomorrow we have to change the car back. It’s not great as we did a really good job today with sixth in Free Practice 1 and seventh in Free Practice 2, best of the rest in both sessions. Yes, race pace can be improved, but we tried a few different things and we know where we could have done better.”
As for Magnussen, Friday would see him outpaced by teammate Grosjean with the Dane blaming traffic in the second practice session as the reason why Magnussen was unable to get on the pace in practice, leaving the Dane extremely frustrating.
“It’s slightly difficult to say how it’s been today, it’s been a little bit difficult to read. FP1 was okay, then in Free Practice 2 I had a lot of traffic. I was just really unlucky with it. So that’s made it hard to get a real feeling on things.
Even on my long run I kept getting traffic, it wasn’t really a good session. As I said, Free Practice 1 was okay. We saw Romain (Grosjean) up there at the top of the midfield in Free Practice 2, so it can’t be too bad.”
Team principal Guenther Steiner is hopeful that the new parts brought to Yas Marina will give an early impression on who the 2020 season will shape up for Haas as they try to recover lost ground from this season.
The Austrian, however, was downbeat after the testing came to an abrupt end due to the Bottas incident which wrecked the new floor on Grosjean’s car
“It looked like in Free Practice 1 that we were going to have a good day, and also Free Practice 2 started well. We got our testing in, we’re doing some development work looking ahead to 2020. Unfortunately, it came to an end when Bottas decided to take us out. What looked like a good day to start off with, it came to an end just over an hour into Free Practice 2, so it didn’t end as a good day.”