Romain Grosjean says that ensuring his views were heard and acted upon at Haas early last year was key to avoiding a repeat of the team’s disappointing performance again in 2020.
Haas ended up ninth in the constructors championship in 2019, and Grosjean himself was 18th in the drivers standings. That’s despite huge optimism at the start of the year when the VF-19 looked to be very much on the pace in pre-season testing.
However as the year progressed, Haas fell further and further behind their mid-field rivals with problems getting the car to perform during races., which was initially blamed on tyre performance.
In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com, Grosjean admitted that he’d known early on that the team had made an incorrect analysis and that as a result their development strategy was going in the wrong direction.
“As soon as the Barcelona race, when we brought the evolution to the car, I immediately said there was a problem and that it wasn’t working,” he recalled.
“At Paul Ricard, after qualifying, I told them that we had to stop concentrating on the tyres because that wasn’t the problem,” he continued.
“There was another real problem with the car,” he explained. “It was a correlation problem between the wind tunnel and the track.
“If I hadn’t said in Barcelona that the evolution wasn’t working, they would have continued in the same direction,” he pointed out. “This year it wouldn’t have gone well [so] that was definitely a positive point.
“We’ve tried to understand where the problems of correlation come from [and] what we have done differently from others, and we’ve looked at the concepts around us.”
Grosjean is hopeful that having spotted the issues early in the season in 2019, the team now has the opportunity to set things right and be back on the correct path in 2020.
“We’re going to concentrate on the essentials and really get the best out of the car as quickly as possible,” he said.
It’s the reason that Haas is going for a no-frills media launch for its new car, which will take place in the pitlane at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the morning of February 19, which is the first day of pre-season testing.
“We’re not making a presentation, we’re just launching,” Grosjean said. “We’re waiting to see how is the car on track.
“I think we’ve learned a lot from last year. Now again the only answer we’re really going to get is when we run the car and see how it performs on the track.
“We have all the numbers from the wind tunnel,” he added. “We’re going to wait for the first few laps in Barcelona to make sure that we measure everything that happens in the car, and that we’re in line with the wind tunnel.”