It was another tough weekend for the Haas F1 Team, with Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean finishing seventeenth and eighteenth at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, with neither having any kind of pace to be genuine challengers for points.
Both Magnussen and Grosjean announced before the weekend that they will be leaving Haas at the end of 2020, and both drivers were eliminated in Q1 during Qualifying on Saturday leaving them with a mountain to climb on race day.
Magnussen was the only driver on the grid to start on the hard tyre, but the Dane admitted that he was hoping for some luck to come his way to be a top ten contender. However, there were no safety car periods or anything that benefitted him, and he was left down in eighteenth at the chequered flag, although he profited from a penalty for his team-mate to move up one place.
“We started on the hard tyres to make sure we were the last car to box,” said Magnussen. “We were going for luck, hoping for rain, a safety car, red flag or virtual safety car – something like that.
“We needed that in the window where I was running long compared to the others. It was a long shot, but we knew we didn’t have a chance of points with a normal race. We went for it.
“That said, I still beat some people with the conventional strategies. It was the best we could do I think.”
Team-mate Grosjean made some positions up at the start thanks to the light rain flurry, but like Magnussen, he acknowledged the pace was not as strong for him to be a contender for points.
The Frenchman crossed the line in seventeenth, not far behind Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN’s Antonio Giovinazzi, but he was handed a five-second time penalty for frequent track limit offences that relegated him to eighteenth in the final result.
“The first few laps of the race were quite slippery and fun,” said Grosjean. “I managed to work my way through and put in a few overtaking moves. Sadly, the pace just wasn’t there though.
“We were really struggling on the straights so I couldn’t overtake anyone. We did the best we could and we extracted the maximum from the car – that’s all we can hope for.”
“I think after yesterday’s qualifying this result hasn’t come unexpectedly” – Guenther Steiner
Guenther Steiner, the Team Principal at Haas, admits Sunday’s result was not unexpected following the team’s poor showing in Qualifying, but at least they were able to get through the race unscathed with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix just seven days away.
Steiner hopes they can find something in the time between races to be more competitive at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, with the team looking to score points for only the third time in 2020.
“I think after yesterday’s qualifying this result hasn’t come unexpectedly,” said Steiner. “We just tried to do the best we could. The positive is our cars are in good shape, which they need to be as we’re going back racing next weekend.
“We have to try to do something to get something out of that one. It’s a new circuit which hopefully has some surprises – positive ones, not negative ones. We look forward to going to Imola.”