Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen have had somewhat of an anonymous start to 2020 after some less than pleasing results for the American Haas F1 outfit at the opening back-to-back races in the Styrian hills of Austria. After a double retirement in the opening Austrian Grand Prix followed by a best result of twelfth place for Magnussen at the Styrian Grand Prix last weekend, the team from Kannapolis, North Carolina currently languish at the foot of the Constructors’ championship.
But as we approach Budapest for the third round of the season this weekend, Haas will be looking to turn the tables and kickstart their campaign. And team principal Guenther Steiner is remaining positive as the team are looking to continue their momentum through the busy opening weekends to this condensed 2020 season.
“Absolutely – keeping momentum going and go racing, that is what we need to do. I think everyone on theteam is very motivated and very happy that we’re back racing. For sure by the third triple-header it’ll be a littlebit old, and people will be tired, but at least in the next triple-header some of the team can go home in-between – that’s not been possible between the Austrian and Hungarian events. It’s very demanding on the guys, oneverybody, but we were not doing a lot for four months at the beginning of the season. In the end though, I think we’re all happy to be here and go racing.” explained Steiner.
Romain Grosjean believes running maximum downforce at the Hungaroring this weekend should suit the characteristics of the VF-20, and should allow the car to take better care of it tires, and the Frenchman is looking forward to the challenge of the tight and twisty circuit as he reminisced about past memories in Hungary.
“Yes, it’s a short circuit, but it’s different in the way that the straight-line is much less important. You can run maximum downforce on the car – that should help the characteristics of the VF-20. You need good tire management over your qualifying run and for the race as well. It’s normally very hot in Hungary at this time ofthe year. You need to have a car you can trust going into all those fast corners through the middle sector. Thelast two corners are also very important in order to get a good lap time. That’s actually where I lost pole position back in 2012, I didn’t go as fast as I should have on the last two turns – that’s where you can gain some good time.”
“For me, Hungary holds two good memories. Obviously, there’s my first time being on the front-row in qualifying from 2012 – my best qualifying slot to-date. Then in 2013 I should have won the race, but I had a couple of drive-through penalties, but I still finished sixth despite the 50-second penalty. I got home and the next morning my son, Sacha, was born. Hungary’s normally the time of year we celebrate my first son’s birthday. I love the atmosphere there, love the fans, love the circuit. It can be hard on you, it’s a tough one, as I said, it’s very hot normally. But let’s see where we can go this weekend.” said Grosjean.
Kevin Magnussen was also optimistic for having a better result in Hungary this weekend, with the Danish driver only having one points finish in five starts there. But in terms of performance, he believes the car should suit the track a lot more than the Red Bull Ring the last two weeks.
“The only real similarity is the length of the lap, I don’t think they have a lot else in common. The Hungaroring is a much lower speed track, there’s less straight-line speed there meaning the sensitivity there on a lap time is less. Hopefully that can be a good thing for us as we saw at the Red Bull Ring our straight-line speed isn’t the strongest.”
“To me, it doesn’t mean anything what I’ve done in the past – whether I’ve had good results or not. There’s always an opportunity for a good result no matter what. I don’t see it like I have a particular weakness inHungary. In the past, before Formula One, the Hungaroring has been very good to me. I’ve won races there and been successful.
“ Just because I haven’t had good fortune there in Formula One, it doesn’t mean there’sany particular weakness there. I think we have a better chance of scoring points in Hungary than we did at the Red Bull Ring – even though that track has been very good to us in the past with Haas.” explained Magnussen.