‘It took a few years too long and a few crashes too many’ but Steiner pleased to see Haas drivers cooperating
It wasn’t just improved car performance that pleased Guenther Steiner over the Styrian Grand Prix weekend, but the increased cooperation of his drivers too.
Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean have had a number of collisions and incidents together during their time as team mates, and both retired with brake issues in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. After the difficult first race, the team managed to find improvements to the brake problems and delivered a more competitive performance that saw Magnussen finish 12th and Grosjean 13th, both within a second of Kimi Raikkonen and close to the points.
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“I take away quite a few positives,” Steiner said after the improved showing. “We were able to race a little bit more than last week and I think we made some progress with the car. The drivers are not unhappy with the balance and the handling of the car.
“We need to find a little more speed as we well know, but otherwise we didn’t have any issues with the car in the race anyway, so I take away enough positives to go home now and say we made progress from last weekend.
“We still have a long road in front of us but at least we are back on track. We went off-track last weekend with the issues that we had, so all in all it was not a bad day for us.”
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Central to the solid finish was the cooperation of Magnussen and Grosjean as they were given team orders to swap positions on a number of occasions, and Steiner says he was pleased with how understanding both drivers were.
“It was about time! It took a few years too long and a few crashes too many! I think what was said last year worked. They were well behaved. For sure they are never happy but it’s actually very difficult on the pit wall to manage it because we do not really see what’s going on. You see it from the on board camera but we don’t see how much they push and how much they don’t push.
“If you have got two very equal drivers in two very equal cars it’s always very difficult, because the guy in the slipstream on the long straights will always catch up. So if you swap too much then you lose too much time to the opposition and waste time between us. It isn’t easy for us to make the calls, but at least they were well behaved. We didn’t have too many arguments, hopefully it stays like this!”
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Although Haas appear to be in a group at the back of the midfield fighting with Alfa Romeo and even Williams in Austria, Steiner thinks the upcoming race in Hungary is likely to give a clearer picture of where they stand.
“On tracks like this the pecking order is pretty clear, we are in the latter half of the field, but I want to see on tracks like Hungary - slower tracks basically where we don’t have the long straights – how we do there. I think we can gain something there, because in Barcelona testing we were quicker than we were in Austria compared to other people. But again we need to go at least to Hungary to do a good race and see where we end up. But for sure it won’t be an easy year for us.”