About Haas Automation

Haas F1 Race Report:
British Grand Prix | 7/16/2017

by Ayao Komatsu|Chief Race Engineer, Haas F1 Team


“This was a tough weekend. The car was competitive in patches, but we couldn’t put the whole weekend together to come away with points. On Friday, Kevin (Magnussen) had a competitive high-fuel run, but low-fuel performance was not great. On Saturday, Romain (Grosjean) was competitive throughout, but Kevin struggled with oversteer (as was the case on Friday in low-fuel runs). In the race, Kevin had a good pace in free air as he showed on Friday. However, Romain did not have a pace at all and fell backward from his qualifying position.”

Friday: FP1 and FP2

“In FP1, Antonio (Giovinazzi) was in the car for the first time for us in place of Kevin. Silverstone is not the easiest circuit for a rookie due to its high-speed nature (especially with this year’s car). On top of this, he effectively lost his first run due to an ERS issue. This left him with one set of soft tires for the rest of the session. He made good progress and did very well to finish only .4 of a second off Romain. His feedback after the session was also accurate. He will be back in the car in Budapest. Romain had the same issue as Antonio on his first run. He then worked on an aerodynamic setup of the car for the final two runs.

“For FP2, Kevin was back in the car. We changed brake material for a new spec on both cars. Kevin struggled with lack of stability in high-speed corners as well as entry into low-speed corners. Romain was finding it difficult to work the tires consistently. Kevin found the car was much better when we went up on the fuel load for a long run. With the improved stability, he was able to push the car more and running at a competitive pace. By contrast, Romain’s high-fuel run was poor with excessive understeer and high (tire) degradation.”

Saturday: FP3 and Qualifying

“Overnight, we took some drag off the car as our straight-line speed was not competitive and we were still far from simulated optimum downforce level. In addition, Kevin went back on the brake material spec as he was not comfortable with it after FP2 running. Romain was happy with the car straight away in FP3, especially in high-speed corners. Kevin was less happy with the car, struggling with lack of stability. Romain’s last run in FP3 with the supersoft tire was pretty competitive, whereas Kevin continued to struggle with oversteer.

“For qualifying, Romain made a small change to the front suspension setting of the car. About 10 minute before Q1 started, it started to drizzle. We initially planned to go straight away with the dry tires, but rain was getting slightly heavier as it got closer to Q1. As we saw Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) on intermediates and the Force Indias on dry tires in the pit lane, we decided to watch those cars to evaluate the track condition. As soon as they were out, it was clear the track was in intermediate (tire) condition. So, we sent both cars out on intermediates. Romain set a competitive lap time on his second timed lap whereas Kevin struggled on oversteer at high-speed corners. With 10 minutes remaining, the session was red flagged as Ricciardo stopped at turn eight. At this point, Romain was in P8 and Kevin was in P17. For the reminder of the session, we fueled both cars to run for the whole session. There was an option to split this run into two runs, but we decided to stay out. It did not rain again, hence the track condition were the best at the end of the session. Jolyon Palmer (Renault) and Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) pitted after one timed lap and fitted their cars with a fresh set of intermediates. Esteban Ocon (Force India) and Fernando Alonso (McLaren) put on dry tires right at the end. The majority of the field did the same as our drivers and used one set of intermediates. Romain managed to go through in P15, but Kevin was out in P17.

“For Q2, we planned two runs with supersoft tires – the first run with two timed laps with green track and the second run with a fast-slow-fast procedure. Romain did a very good job to progress to Q3 in P9. For Q3, we planned two runs of one timed lap each. On the first run, he was going well until braking into turn 16 where he found Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) preparing to start his timed lap. He lost .3 of a second though turns 16-18 as Hamilton slowed down to turn 16. On the final run, he had a huge oversteer going into turn three and lost .4 of a second. He kept on pushing for the rest of the lap and managed to improve by .2 of a second overall. He qualified P10. His ideal lap time (best sectors) was .3 of a second quicker than Vandoorne and the same as Ocon. So, P8 was a real possibility, but still, it was a great effort to get into Q3.”

Sunday: Race

“This was another race where the strategy was expected to be one stop. As Romain was in Q3, he had to start with his qualifying tire, which was the supersoft, hence his pre-race plan was supersoft to soft. Kevin was out of position, so we needed to be out of phase from the slightly slower cars in front. We started him on the soft tire, with soft to supersoft the strategy. Palmer developed a gearbox problem during the formation lap and stopped at turn 15. This caused an extra formation lap while his car was cleared. Romain’s start was not great, but he managed to hold his position. He went wide at turn three, which allowed Felipe Massa (Williams) to get alongside him. He eventually lost position to Massa at turns six-seven on the opening lap. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) went wide at the turn 11 exit and came back onto the track at turn 12 and drove into his teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr. This sent Sainz spinning and he actually contacted Kevin’s right-rear. Kevin was lucky to have no damage to his car or tire. This brought out the Safety Car. At the restart, Kevin lost position to Alonso at turn seven.

“At this stage, Romain and Kevin were in P11 and P13, respectively. Neither of them was able to really attack the car in front. Romain got overtaken by Ricciardo on lap 14, dropping him to P12. After this point, Romain was in free air. However, his pace was poor and he fell back to Lance Stroll (Williams). We pitted Romain and put him on the soft tire on lap 23 when he was clear of Kvyat and Alonso. Unlike Romain, Kevin’s pace picked up as soon as he was in free air after Alonso pitted on lap 20. He was happy with the stability of the car, so he was able to push. We kept him out as long as possible to give him fresh tires toward the end of the race. We pitted Kevin on lap 37 for a set of supersoft tires. His pace on the supersofts was pretty good and he was catching Romain quickly. Romain came on the radio and said his rear tires were gone around lap 40. We pitted him again on lap 43 as he effectively had a free stop. Kevin’s pace at the end of the race was good, but he lost some time letting race leaders through. Kevin finished P12. Romain finished P13.”