Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner has emerged as one of the stars of Netflix’s Drive To Survive series, chiefly because of the way he handled the team’s galling double retirement at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix – the result of cross-threaded wheel nuts. And Steiner was once again facing questions about Haas’ pit stop organisation after another apparent wheel nut issue forced Romain Grosjean to retire from the 2019 edition of the race.
Grosjean had been running strongly in sixth place when he pitted for fresh medium tyres on lap 16. During the stop, the Haas mechanics struggled to get the front-left wheel fitted, with Grosjean eventually emerging from his box 10.8 seconds later, having dropped several positions.
And while there appeared to be no issues on the car initially, after running around Albert Park for 13 more laps Grosjean’s wheel appeared to detach itself from its hub, forcing the Frenchman to park up at Turn 15 – the wheel nut having seemingly been damaged when the Haas pit crew tried to force the wheel on.
“It’s deja vu,” said a gutted Steiner after the race. “It was just a wheel stop gone bad. [We recovered] by putting it on a second time but something got damaged… when we put it on with sheer force the second time around.”