Haas principal Guenther Steiner admits that after the British GP he thought Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were “not manageable anymore”.
Clashes between the two drivers became a hot topic around the middle part of 2019, with their first incident in Spain followed by a far bigger collision at Silverstone which led to both drivers retiring from the race.
A further knock between Magnussen and Grosjean happened at the German GP, but both escaped to record a double-points finish.
Haas have chosen to remain with the same line-up for 2020, though Steiner wasn’t about to hide the fact that he thought it was all over for the pair in 2019.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he thought the relationship between Grosjean and Magnussen was untenable, he said: “Absolutely, yeah. After Silverstone I was to a point where I could not see this working anymore, because we were struggling with the car, then we were struggling with the drivers.
“It was just a struggle, and I’m not really moaning because I am under pressure at all. It’s also for the team to motivate the team.
“If I cannot control the drivers, how can that be good for the team? I put a lot of pressure under them to work, to do everything good and then they get together at Turn 5. At a certain stage I thought it is not manageable anymore.”
Steiner feels like the pressure that Grosjean and Magnussen were under caused them to stop thinking about Haas’ interests.
“They didn’t think about the team anymore at a certain point, they just saw the opportunity to do good like in Barcelona and Silverstone, they qualified good and had the opportunity to get points and forgot those points are for the team and not only for them.
“They threw that one overboard, but was it because they were under too much pressure? I’ll find out maybe never. It could be as well just the pressure mounted dramatically for the team.”
Magnussen made it clear though that there were no issues between himself and Grosjean, and said Silverstone was blown out of proportion like the incident involving Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc in Brazil.
“It was annoying, because it became such a big subject, especially in the press around the time,” he explained.
“And that created like a sense of emergency kind of thing. It wasn’t really any issue – like me and Romain had no issues.
“And we were on the phone to each other the week after Silverstone. There was absolutely no bad thing.
“Just seen it with [Sebastian] Vettel and [Charles] Leclerc, how little it takes. It doesn’t even need to be tension for the tyres to explode and then that’s what happened with me and Romain.
“Of course the team feels that we let them down. But there really was no intention. So I think all of that stuff has made us closer and closer because of all that and the whole experience of this year, this made us closer as a team.
“The good thing about Gunther especially is that what you see is what you get.”