Haas’ Guenther Steiner: “It’s not been a bad week” despite Magnussen’s Friday Crash

by Paul Hensby

Despite Kevin Magnussen’s final day crash, caused by a sudden deflation of a tyre following an issue with the wheel rim, Guenther Steiner felt it was a ‘very good’ first week of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the Haas F1 Team.

The first two days were virtually problem free for the team, with Magnussen the first driver to get a proper taste of the VF-20 on Wednesday.  The Dane completed one hundred and six laps of the Spanish circuit, ending the day fourteenth fastest, although times mean very little during testing.

Steiner, the Team Principal at Haas, says the team gathered a lot of data on the opening day of the test, with Magnussen able to go through almost the whole programme they had planned.

“It was a good day of testing today, we’ve completed a lot of laps – more than 100,” Steiner said on Wednesday.  “We got through almost all of the program we had planned, we just missed out a little bit.

“We’ve gathered a lot of data and now we need to go through it. We’ll work through the next days to understand the car, then we try to go fast.” 

Thursday ‘Another Good Day’ with 158 Laps Completed

Romain Grosjean took over the car for Thursday’s second day, and the Frenchman continued the strong start by completing an additional one hundred and fifty-eight laps, the most laps completed by any one driver across the day.

Steiner was pleased that Haas were able to show this kind of mileage with the new VF-20 without suffering any mechanical problems.  Grosjean did have a small off towards the end of the day that ended their running, but overall Steiner was positive with how the day unfurled.

“It was another good day today in terms of lots of running and data gathering,” said Steiner after Thursdays running.  “The car ran without issue, apart from a little accident at the end – it’s better not happening, but it’s part of the game and there were only 40-minutes left on the day.

“It’s always good to have this kind of mileage and two days of testing without interruption or mechanical problems. It’s been positive, everything’s gone to plan, so that makes us happy.”

Friday Running ‘More Troublesome’ after Wheel Spacer Issue Causes Magnussen Crash

Grosjean and Magnussen were set to be given half a day each on Friday, but whereas the Frenchman was able to complete forty-eight laps in the morning, Magnussen’s running ended in the barriers after just four laps in the afternoon.

Steiner revealed that a problem with a wheel spacer caused the rim to be damaged, which caused a sudden deflation of the tyre that meant Magnussen was just a passenger as he headed towards the wall on the exit of turn seven.

The team could have fixed the car to enable Magnussen to get out on track for the final half hour or so, but Steiner said that with a chassis change planned ahead of next weeks second test, it was decided to focus on preparing for that rather than rushing through the repair work on Friday.

“The first two days of testing were very good for us with no issues and a lot of data, we got a lot of things done,” said Steiner after Friday’s final day.  “Today was a little bit more troublesome, these things can happen though. In the morning we had a small issue which kept us in the garage for half an hour.

“After that, testing went well with Romain (Grosjean). Then we had a damaged rim due to a problem with the wheel spacer, which ultimately caused the puncture for Kevin (Magnussen). Unfortunately, the car was too damaged to make it worthwhile to try and get it back out.

“We could have possibly returned for half an hour but there’s no point. We decided to get properly prepared for next week because we change chassis. To sum it up, it’s not been a bad week, just this afternoon’s been the only bad part – the rest has been very good.”

Haas had a good start to pre-season testing, according to Guenther Steiner – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

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