Haas F1 team principal explains why Grosjean struggled in China
A difficult race for Romain Grosjean in China was triggered in part by the necessity to switch to a new front wing design after his first lap contact with Marcus Ericsson.
The team had briefly tried the new wing on Friday, but decided to switch back to standard after Esteban Gutierrez was sidelined by a brake issue. The thinking was that, with less track time between the two cars, it would be better for Grosjean to switch to standard spec.
However, with parts at a premium, the new front wing was designated as Grosjean’s spare for the race. It was duly pressed into service, but it was not a good match for the existing setup, leaving the Frenchman struggling.
“We used the new parts on Romain’s car on Friday, but we didn’t learn anything,” said team principal Guenther Steiner. “When we had the problem with Esteban we decided to stop developing the car. We needed to get to a base setup, do what we know how to do. We did one run but we said no, we are too far off, and now we only have one car we don’t do it. And so we stopped.
“However we put the wing on the car in the race because that was our spare wing. But it wasn’t set up for the rest of the car, the car wasn’t balanced, we didn’t know enough about it. The whole race for Romain was compromised. He wasn’t happy with his car the whole weekend.”
Steiner said there was a positive: “Esteban was pretty happy with it, he showed that he deserves to be here as well, which is good for his morale. Hopefully at the next one we have a better Friday with both cars.”
“It was a horrific race!” said Grosjean. “It was terrible at the start, Ericsson turned into me and got my front wing. With the safety car I thought we’d still have a chance to do something, but the balance was nowhere near good. Somehow it’s positive that we had such a difficult race, because we’ll analyze what we did wrong, what we did right, what we could have done differently. And from there, come back stronger. It’s a very difficult one after the two first races, and not the birthday I was looking for!”