Haas F1 Team found themselves having another difficult year in the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship. This year was their lowest points tally since joining F1 in 2016 and were lucky that Williams Racing still hadn’t sorted out their issues from 2019, otherwise they could have found themselves bottom of the pack.
It was announced halfway throughout the year that Haas’ would be ending their partnership with Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean after four years with the duo. With no other team coming forward for the drivers, it looks like 2020 will be their last in F1.
Haas’ highest point of the year will be their tyre strategy at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Rain had been falling at the Hungaroring, leaving the track in a damp condition with additional race forecasted during the race. Magnussen was on full wet tyres with Grosjean on intermediates. During the formation lap, both drivers pitted for slicks.
This proved to be a good strategy as the track started to dry rapidly and most of the grid had to pit early, promoting Magnussen and Grosjean up to second and third respectively at one point in the race. Unfortunately, their efforts didn’t last, and Magnussen crossed the line in ninth and Grosjean in fifteenth. Their misfortunes continued when both drivers were given a ten-second time penalty for the early stop, citing a breach of rules regarding formation lap radio messages. This reduced Magnussen to tenth and Grosjean to sixteenth.
Despite the ending results, the strategy showed that Haas aren’t playing around. They also walked away from the race with their first point of the year.
The Eifel Grand Prix also showed Haas’ strategies when they decided not to pit Grosjean for a second time during a safety car. This put Grosjean up to seventh and eventually finishing ninth, a big improvement on his starting position of sixteenth. It would be the Frenchman’s one and only points finish of a difficult season.
…And The Lows
We all knew that this year was Grosjean’s last in F1, but we never knew how his final race would go. The Bahrain Grand Prix wasn’t supposed to be his last but unforeseen events made it so. Grosjean got caught up in a crash that left the whole of the F1 communities in complete shock.
On the first lap, Grosjean collided with the barrier after turn 3. The impact split his car in two and engulfed it in flames. It took the broadcasters a little under five minutes before they could confirm that Grosjean was ok and was able to walk away from the accident with minor injuries.
Due to this crash, Grosjean was unable to be medically signed off for the Sakhir and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix’s meaning he didn’t get the farewell he deserved.
There was a fine line in the head-to-head qualifying battle, but Magnussen reigned supreme outqualifying Grosjean eight to seven. Throughout the whole year, the duo was unable to reach Q3 in any of the qualifying sessions. The highest the team started on the grid was at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix where Grosjean started fourteenth.
For the last two rounds, Magnussen was matched up to Pietro Fittapaldi, who stood in for the injured Grosjean. The Dane outqualified him on both occasions.
This was another tight contest but this time, Grosjean came out on top, scoring higher than his teammate seven times compared to Magnussen’s six. Both drivers retired at the Austrian and Turkish Grand Prix’s. The team accumulated three points in total, one at the Hungarian Grand Prix and two for a ninth-place finish at the Eifel Grand Prix.
Fittapaldi wasn’t able to outpace Magnussen, finishing seventeenth and nineteenth in his two races.
What to expect in 2021
For 2021, Haas have announced a driver lineup change for the first time in four years. Mick Schumacher was promoted up to F1 after becoming champion in feeder series FIA Formula 2. Schumacher is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy and will surely end up at the Italian side, should he do well a Haas. Nikita Mazepin was also promoted from Formula 2. Mapezin has come under-fire for his antics on and off the gird but Haas still show their trust in the driver.
After their second consecutive ninth place finish in the Constructors’ Championship, here’s hoping the team can do more, especially with young blood on their side.