The Haas F1 Team has admitted they are struggling for pace and car balance on their first visit to the Marina Bay street circuit. 1st Driver, Romain Grosjean, has critiqued the team all weekend, even commenting that the car is “the worst [he’s] ever driven.”
Their bad weekend unsurprisingly started off poorly with Romain Grosjean experiencing a reported air intake link failure which kept him garage bound for the whole of FP1. Grosjean bounced back for the first 45 minutes of FP2 until he was again forced to the garage after losing the car in Turn 22. Relatively luckily though, the car hit the barriers directly backward and the rear wing took most of the damage with no lasting effects of the crash present on Saturday. The only main downside was the incident left Grosjean with just a mere 45 minutes of on track time on Friday. He described the day as “the worst Friday you could imagine for us” and “a very bad way to start one of the most difficult grand prix of the year.”
Saturday didn’t get much better as Grosjean let his team know what he thought of his setup at the end of FP3. “Worst car I’ve driven in a very, very long time,” he told his engineer on his return to the pits. Perhaps the best way to describe this feeling is Grosjean was driving the awful twin tusked Lotus just two years ago…
On the other side of the garage, Felipe Nasr nearly took Esteban Gutierrez out as he botched an overtake at Turn 13. As the Sauber unexpectedly driver went deep into the corner, Gutierrez’s quick thinking certainly saved him from wiping his front wing off and ruining both driver’s sessions.
Heading into qualifying, the team (in fairness) did especially well to avoid the drop zone in Q1; with both cars comfortably making it through to the second session. Sadly, their luck would run out with a dismal Q2 session. After neither car could crack the top ten on their first runs, both Gutierrez and Grosjean returned to the track for another shot. With 15 seconds to go, Grosjean’s Friday gremlins would creep back as he lost control of his car on the entry to Turn 10. He hit the barriers hard and his session was over. Worst yet, the subsequent yellow flags for him would hinder Gutierrez and prevent him from setting a faster lap and reaching Q3, much to the extreme disappointment of the Mexican driver.
“I don’t know what’s going on, to be fair” said Grosjean after qualifying. “I spun the car and crashed yesterday and ended up doing the same again today. That’s not my style of driving, to do that twice in two days,” he also went onto say. “It’s just been a weird weekend all along,” was his last comment to the media.
On the other side of the garage, Gutierrez told the media he thought Q3 “was a missed opportunity,” and explained how he “was preparing [him]self for that lap and I believe I would’ve had the opportunity to fight for Q3 if I could’ve completed it.” He finished statements by saying quite simply: “We were really unlucky today.”
Team Principal Guenther Steiner also said that “we need to investigate why [Grosjean] crashed” and went on to assure fans of the French driver, “I’m sure the guys will do their best to get the car together again tonight, and do the best they can for Romain to have a good race.”
Haas will head into the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix with Gutierrez and Grosjean starting 13th and 14th respectively. They’ll definitely be one to watch on the bumpy & twisty streets of Singapore.