Guenther Steiner has revealed that there were moments during the 2019 Formula 1 season where he feared the relationship between drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean was breaking down, with the duo three times colliding with one another in the first half of the year.
The Haas F1 Team endured a torrid 2019 compared to 2018 with multiple issues with the VF-19, but collisions between their drivers in the Spanish, British and German Grand Prix cost them potential points finishes.
Steiner, the Team Principal at Haas, admits he felt that the situation between the drivers was getting strained and there was a risk of reaching breaking point, particularly when they collided at turn five on the opening lap at Silverstone in July.
“After Silverstone I was to a point where I could not see this working anymore, because we were struggling with the car, then we were struggling with the drivers,” said Steiner to Motorsport.com. “It was just a struggle, and I’m not really moaning because I am under pressure at all. It’s also for the team to motivate the team.
“If I cannot control the drivers, how can that be good for the team? I put a lot of pressure under them to work, to do everything good and then they get together at Turn 5. At a certain stage I thought it is not manageable anymore.”
Drivers ‘Didn’t Think About the Team’
Steiner felt that both Magnussen and Grosjean stopped thinking about what was best for the team during their on-track battles, and as a result the collisions that should not have happened, did happen.
In Spain, Grosjean and Magnussen clashed heading into turn one late in the day whilst fighting over seventh, with the contact costing the former time that ultimately saw him fall behind both Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat to tenth.
After their Silverstone clash, the German Grand Prix saw another moment at the hairpin as Grosjean attempted to pass Magnussen, although this ultimately did not cost the Frenchman too much as he claimed his best result of the season in seventh.
“They didn’t think about the team anymore at a certain point, they just saw the opportunity to do good like in Barcelona and Silverstone, they qualified good and had the opportunity to get points and forgot about that points are for the team and not only for them,” said Steiner.
“They threw that one overboard, but was it because they were under too much pressure? I’ll find out maybe never. It could be as well just the pressure mounted dramatically for the team.”