Away from the nonsense that it the “rogue individual” at title sponsor Rich Energy, Haas has another crisis on its hands, that of the inability of the VF-19 to perform competitively in race conditions at a wide variety of circuits.
All too often this year, in a scenario which has the team baffled, drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen make it through to Q3, only for their car’s performance to drop off wildly next day once the lights go out.
Though much of the blame is put on the tyres, the team admits that there are clearly a number of issues.
With the upgrade introduced in Spain not curing the problem(s), Romain Grosjean is to revert to the aero-spec he used in Melbourne for the duration of the Silverstone weekend, while teammate Magnussen will persist with the upgraded version in order to allow a full weekend of back-to-back testing.
“When we introduced the update I wasn’t fully convinced about it in Barcelona,” Grosjean told reporters as the Silverstone weekend got underway. “But the data suggested it was good, so we put it on, and we kept going.
“But since a few races I really felt better with the initial package,” he admitted, “so I wanted to come back in terms of feeling. And obviously the last two races in terms of performance have proven to us that we need to understand a bit more what’s happening.
“Early in the year, we had very good quali, and then the race pace was not as good,” he continued. “But I think we understood what happened in China and also in Bahrain, and what we could’ve done better. “So that was positive, I think our pace there had more potential, while recently the race pace does not have much potential.
“I think I really extracted the best of it out of the last three races, and Kevin has got the upper hand in quali but in the race completely the opposite, I almost lapped him twice, but it’s P16.
Gunther spoke after the race in Austria, and he said, ‘Look, we need to try something, if we keep going the same, it’s the same thing’. I said, ‘Look, my feeling is not good with that package, I felt better in the other one, can we go back and see what it’s like?’.
“Obviously it’s a hard call,” he says of the changes, which will see the Frenchman running a different floor, nose, front wing, rear endplates and turning vanes, “and it’s very difficult for all the engineers involved in the development to come back. But on the other hand maybe there are things that we don’t measure that my ass can feel, but the sensor doesn’t see.
“That’s really why we’re coming back here, and see if with that package we’ve got more options to set up the car to go faster in the race. It was lucky they went behind the shelf in Banbury and they could find an old floor and an old everything.
“We’ve got two cars running two different packages, as much information as we can in terms of sensors and then it’s just going to be pure pace, and see,” he said. “But as I said, the new package, I never really felt comfortable with it, and I didn’t have that problem with the old one. So, if that’s any correlation in the fact that we cannot go as fast as we want, that’s what we want to find out.
“It’s decided for the weekend,” he said when asked why he is reverting to the Melbourne-spec for the entire British GP weekend. “The change is too big, it involves some chassis-moulding, so we’ve got to run it for the whole weekend.”