Steiner on ‘challenging’ Grosjean, driver hits back

Date published: November 27 2020 - Michelle Foster

Guenther Steiner and Romain Grosjean

Guenther Steiner and Romain Grosjean aren’t seeing eye-to-eye as the driver prepares to leave the team, Steiner saying he is “challenging” to manage and Grosjean saying a “poor car” hasn’t helped.

This year’s championship will be the Frenchman’s last with Haas after the team opted to go with an all-new line up for 2021.

It brings to an end an era for Haas and Grosjean who have been together since the team’s very first season in Formula 1 in 2016.

It has been an up and down relationship with the driver helping Haas to a career-best P5 in the 2018 Constructors’ Championship but also costing the team points through mistakes of his own.

Grosjean’s radio messages criticising the car have become the norm for a Friday while Steiner has made it clear several times that he doesn’t always appreciate the 34-year-old’s comments.

So much so that Steiner reckons Grosjean is “very challenging” at times and “tough to manage”.

“Romain can be very challenging at moments but when you get him on the right day and the right time he was a very big asset to the team and I think we have to thank him as well what he did for us,” the team boss told the official F1 website.

“He believed us at the beginning, he was with us five years, we showed that we believed in him as we could have let him go after three years, after four years, but we kept him because sometimes he can be Romain.

“I call it ‘being Romain’ – there is no word for it, which is tough to manage, but otherwise he was a great asset for the team and he will go into the history of Haas F1. He is a big part of it forever.”

Grosjean sees things a little different.

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Romain Grosjean

While he acknowledges he has made mistakes, he feels many of those have been because he has been driving a “poor car” that has forced him to push beyond the limit.

“I think I’ve brought to the team a fair bit,” said the Frenchman.

“I’ve had moments, yes, I’ve made mistakes but who doesn’t?

“I think also when you have a poor car you need to try to drive to 105 percent to get anything good and when you drive to the level there are high chances you’re going to go mistakes.

“When you have a top car, you can drive at 99.8 percent and that means you’re more consistent. I’ve known both situations and that’s why I can say that.”

As for being challenging to manage, he blames Steiner for that one.

“Am I difficult to manage? I don’t know,” he said. “Some people did that very well with me in the past so I guess it’s possible.”

Without a seat for next year’s championship, Grosjean is expected to walk away from Formula 1 permanently at the end of this season.

The 34-year-old leaves with 10 podium finishes and one fastest lap to his name.

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