Formula 1

Gearbox Gremlins Give Magnussen a Headache in Disappointing Imola Weekend for Haas

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Credit: Charles Coates / LAT Images

The Haas F1 Team left the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari without adding to their points tally after Romain Grosjean finished fourteenth and Kevin Magnussen was forced to retire early due to a gearbox issue.

Magnussen’s race was compromised right from the first lap when he was tipped into a spin by Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at Tosa, leaving him at the back of the field.  Ultimately, his race was to come to an early end due to his gearbox issue, a problem that was giving the Dane a headache every time he upshifted.

“We had a problem with the gearbox – we had it yesterday as well on my fastest lap in qualifying,” said Magnussen on Sunday.  “The problem came back in the race, it was there from the first lap.

“I was having slow up-shifts, and not only are they slow, it’s also like a big bang every time you up-shift. It seems ok for a couple of laps but then it starts shaking your head crazily. By the end I just had a massive headache – I told the team. I think they felt there was nothing to fight for, so they boxed me.”

Magnussen admitted his first lap contact with Vettel all but ended his chance of only a second top ten finish of the season, but despite this and the gearbox issue, he was actually happy with the pace he was able to show.

“I mean, I was spun around at the start and that was really the end of it,” he said.  “I lost so much time getting back on track.

“The pace was really good actually, it was better than we had expected – even with the up-shifts that were costing us around half a second a lap.”

Team-mate Grosjean crossed the line in twelfth after a relatively quiet afternoon, however he was handed a five-second time penalty for track limit offences which relegated him two spots to fourteenth.

The Frenchman, who like Magnussen will leave Haas at the end of 2020, admitted it was a long afternoon at Imola, but he pushed as hard as he could but to no avail.

“It was a long afternoon,” he said.  “We tried and we pushed hard, but we were lacking pace and straight-line speed, so there wasn’t really a chance.

“I thought we might have had a chance after the safety car, but we were losing too much on the straight – I really struggled with that. It’s a good track, we’ve had fun, now it’s on to the next one.”

“In the end it was a long frustrating afternoon” – Guenther Steiner

Guenther Steiner, the Team Principal of Haas, was disappointed with the outcome at Imola, but he feels nothing seems to be going the teams’ way at this point of the season.

Haas currently sit ninth out of ten teams in the Constructors’ Championship with only four races of the season remaining having scored only three points so far in 2020.

Steiner admits the gearbox issue that Magnussen suffered with could have been repaired pre-race but it would have earned the Dane a penalty in doing so, so it was decided to stick it out in the race only for it to rear up once more and force him into retirement.

“A somewhat frustrating Sunday afternoon, but nothing goes our way it looks like at the moment – not just the moment, it’s been a while actually,” said Steiner.  “Kevin getting together with Sebastian at turn seven, well that put him in a place where there’s not a lot to do.

“But he caught up pretty well in the end. He then had the gearbox issue which we had since after qualifying, but we were not allowed by the FIA to change the sensors without penalty – so that went against us.

“Romain (Grosjean), well if you start from those positions, you’re just always in dirty air and in trouble with other cars, it’s just always very busy there. We tried different strategies, we at least tried to play, but we couldn’t get them playing as things happened too quick.

“In the end it was a long frustrating afternoon. There are four more races to go so there’s four more opportunities to score points.”

Romain Grosjean finished twelfth but a five-second penalty relegated him to fourteenth – Credit: Charles Coates / LAT Images
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