(Motorsport-Total.com) – Both Haas drivers did not finish in the Austrian Grand Prix. Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen left early due to brake defects. That was a surprise, team boss Günther Steiner admits afterwards. However, he emphasized that the team had not taken any “unnecessary risk”.
On lap 24, Magnussen was no longer able to slow sufficiently in turn 3, his brakes were at an end and he drove straight into the exit zone. Already in the laps before, his racing engineer repeatedly warned the Danes to do even more “Lift and Coast” – that is, to get off the gas early before the braking point.
“I had a brake failure, which was very unfortunate,” said Magnussen after his failure in the ‘ORF’ interview. “I was in a good position and started from 16th. After 20 laps I was already in eleventh, which was okay. I thought that the pace was right. I had to lift a lot to spare the brakes . But then the brake broke. “
“We didn’t think it was so dramatic”
Teammate Grosjean suffered a similar fate on lap 49. The Frenchman also struggled with the brakes until there was no longer any delay in turn 4 and he slid straight into the gravel bed. In both cases, the brakes overheated.
The Haas team did not expect these difficulties, Steiner reports. “I don’t know where the braking problems came from. We’re still investigating,” he told Motorsport-Total.com. “They overheated pretty quickly.” Therefore, the drivers had to pay attention to the brakes early on.
“We didn’t think it would be so dramatic that they wouldn’t last.” The French had been informed about the extreme temperatures shortly before the end, and wear had already progressed. “Because of overheating, they were worn out quickly.”
Haas now has to find out what caused the brakes to overheat so much, Steiner knows. He is aware that the Red Bull Ring is one of the routes that puts a lot of strain on the brakes. But: “We didn’t expect the problem to become so big that we couldn’t finish the race.”
Cooling the brakes has “dynamic influence” on the entire car, so try to cool as little as possible. Because, according to Steiner, the cooling influences the aerodynamic performance of a racing car. “Of course you try to push yourself to the limit, but not beyond it.”
It is also important to him to emphasize that Haas has not taken any “unnecessary risk” in Austria. The problem did not arise in the winter tests. Steiner admits that the team would have noticed this early on with an additional film day before the start of the season. The problem did not occur in the long runs on Friday, but it was almost ten degrees cooler.
Not Haas’ first brake defect
“But I don’t want to blame it on that, because it has something to do with the correlation, since we didn’t expect it,” admits the team leader. The double loss in Spielberg was not the first of its kind. Haas had had to deal with braking problems in the past.
Last year, Magnussen’s brake disc exploded in the US Grand Prix, and in 2016 a brake defect in Malaysia was responsible for Grosjean’s failure. And again the US team got it. The team entered the second race in Austria with zero points.
Nevertheless, Steiner is not unhappy about the first appearance in the new year, the pace of the VF20 makes him confident. “I think that was not too bad. We were able to keep up, even though we had to do ‘Lift and Coast’ from the beginning because we saw the brakes overheating very early on.”
Of course, that doesn’t help, says Steiner. “Kevin was happier than Romain, to be honest.” The Dane was in eleventh place at the time of his retirement, the Frenchman in 15th and penultimate place. “We have to build on that and see that we finish races.”