Steiner happy with ‘well behaved’ drivers

Date published: July 14 2020

Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magussen's Haas future up in the air

Guenther Steiner has praised Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen for managing to battle without taking each other out in Austria.

The two Haas drivers finished the race in P12 and P13 after running close together for many of the 71 laps. Unlike the Ferrari boys, however, they kept things clean.

The two have a bit of a history of coming together. When they hit and subsequently retired early on in the British Grand Prix last year, Netflix caught their boss, Steiner, giving them a dressing down after the race in which he said he’d like to sack them both.

Given the less dramatic nature of their on-track fight in the last race, the team principal thinks it worked.

“It was about time! It took a few years too long and a few crashes too many,” he said as per ESPN.

“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 onboard camera but we don’t see how much they push and how much they don’t push.”

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Team-mates clashing was a recurring theme at the Styrian Grand Prix. Not only did Charles Leclerc take Sebastian Vettel out, but both the Renault and Racing Point drivers did battle without team orders.

McLaren did issue them, ordering Carlos Sainz to let Lando Norris through, and the Brit went on to pass Daniel Ricciardo and both Racing Points.

However, Steiner thinks that, with Grosjean and Magnussen so evenly matched, they’d have lost time by swapping back and forth.

“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,” he added.

“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!”

While the second race was an undoubted improvement on the first for the American team, they still failed to score any points.

Nevertheless, the Italian remains optimistic and is hoping the upward trajectory will continue in Hungary.

“On tracks like this [the Red Bull Ring] 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.”

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