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British GP: Preview - Haas

NEWS STORY
08/07/2019

Focused and determined is the best way to describe Rich Energy Haas F1 Team as it prepares for the 10th round of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship - the British Grand Prix July 12-14 at Silverstone Circuit in England.

Speed in qualifying, where drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen regularly advance to the third and final round, has not recently translated to race pace. This has prevented Rich Energy Haas F1 Team from scoring points in the last three races, which has dropped the fourth-year American squad to ninth in the constructors' standings with 16 points, one behind eighth-place Toro Rosso and 16 ahead of last-place Williams.

However, the midfield remains incredibly tight, as evidenced by Racing Point being just three points clear of Rich Energy Haas F1 Team in seventh while sixth-place Alfa Romeo sits only six points ahead of Haas. Plus, 12 races still remain on this year's calendar, providing plenty of point-scoring opportunities, beginning with the British Grand Prix.

The first world championship race was held at Silverstone 69 years ago. Today, the 5.891-kilometer (3.660-mile), 18-turn circuit is the heartbeat of the U.K.'s motorsports valley, with seven of the 10 teams competing in Formula One all within a 90-minute drive of the circuit. This includes Rich Energy Haas F1 Team, with its European base in Banbury just 30 minutes west of the track.

The proximity of Silverstone allows for the Haas VF-19s to be prepared on the shop floor of the team's Banbury location before being loaded up for the short trek to the track. There, Rich Energy Haas F1 Team's engineers and mechanics will continue to scrutinize and improve its racecars for the challenge that one of Formula One's fastest venues provides.

The season has been a challenging one for the team, especially these last two races. Is the challenge with the car replicating the issues you've endured, or is it a matter of just finding a consistent form from practice to qualifying to the race?
Guenther Steiner: "It's a mix of all of it. We need to understand why we have these deficiencies between qualifying and the race, then we can work on it. At the moment, we're in search of that issue."

Does the British Grand Prix being a home race provide an opportunity for the team to get its racecars back into the shop and allow for a deeper dive into the data you have to better understand why the Haas VF-19 is performing the way it is?
GS: "It's always good to be back at your base where you can work on the car better, but from the data side there is no difference. Wherever we are in the world, we can do the same job."

Despite the results, a massive amount of time and energy is being invested by team personnel into finding a solution to better the car's performance. You wear many hats as team principal - is your most important role keeping the team motivated and focused as they prepare for the British Grand Prix?
GS: "It's all of it. I need to keep them motivated to find our performance issues. It's part of my job to do all of the above."

You've been in motorsports a long time. It's not an easy business. Have you endured anything similar to this in your career that is relevant now, at least when it comes to diagnosing problems, finding solutions and ultimately, returning to competitive form?
GS: "More than once I've encountered this problem. I wouldn't say it's normal, but it's part of the job. You always have to keep on doing a better job, but there are setbacks. It's very competitive, especially Formula One. At the moment, we are a little bit on the back foot. I'm sure we will get back to where we want to be."

The British Grand Prix is a home race for the majority of the Formula One industry, yet its future at Silverstone remains a bit uncertain. Whether it is from a historical perspective or a logistical one, do you view Silverstone as one of those iconic Formula One venues that needs to remain on the schedule?
GS: "It is iconic and it's a very good grand prix to go to for obvious reasons. A lot of teams are from near Silverstone, so it's a home race for many. But then again, despite being iconic, it cannot stay there if it doesn't make financial sense. It needs to make financial sense for them and for Formula One and the teams - then we can stay there. We all love it, but there is a cost to it."

The season has been a challenging one for the team, especially these last two races. Is the challenge with the car replicating the issues you've endured, or is it a matter of just finding a consistent form from practice to qualifying to the race?
Romain Grosjean: "We haven't really had a good weekend, in total, for a long time. Our race pace in Friday practice these last few weekends hasn't really been amazing. Unfortunately, things then get confirmed in the race. The thing is to have a car that's fast in the qualifying sim and on the long runs so we have something we can work with going into the race and feel confident. That hasn't been the case in the last two races, and every time we've gone into a race, I've had the feeling that it's going to be complicated and, unfortunately, it has been."

Despite the results, a massive amount of time and energy is being invested by team personnel into finding a solution to better the car's performance. As one of the main faces of the team, is one of your roles beyond driving keeping the team motivated and focused as all of you prepare for the British Grand Prix?
RG: "Yes, very much. Everyone is working very hard. Obviously, it's not a situation that anyone's happy with. We want to make it better, we want to do better. So yes, everyone is motivated. We're all working together. We're all a part of it, from drivers and engineers to the mechanics and the team principal. It's the first time in four years we've found ourselves in this situation, but it happens to every single team. We will get there."

Silverstone is one of the fastest tracks in Formula One, but it's not necessarily from long straights but rather from long, flowing corners. Can you describe the feeling of speed you experience at this power circuit?
RG: "It's definitely a really beautiful lap around Silverstone. There are a lot of corners, which were corners in the past but are now kind of straight line, at least in qualifying - turns one, nine, 10, 11 and 12. They're super high-speed, really enjoyable. It's always tricky to really explain the feeling we get. You're just feeling the g-forces and the downforce. You're being completely compressed into the seat to take the corner. Knowing the car can do it is just amazing."

The British Grand Prix is a home race for the majority of the Formula One industry, yet its future at Silverstone remains a bit uncertain. Whether it is from a historical perspective or a logistical one, do you view Silverstone as one of those iconic Formula One venues that needs to remain on the schedule?
RG: "Yes, I think Silverstone's a great track. It's got a lot of history. I would love to see it remain on the calendar. Obviously, I don't decide, but it's one of the races you enjoy going to, with good fans. It's a beautiful event."

The season has been a challenging one for the team, especially these last two races. Is the challenge with the car replicating the issues you've endured, or is it a matter of just finding a consistent form from practice to qualifying to the race?
Kevin Magnussen: "We've had some difficult race weekends lately. We've been struggling for race pace. The car is proving to be very good in qualifying, but it's not working to its optimal performance in the race. That's what we're pursuing - race pace - and working hard to find the fix. If we look at the positives, the car is performing well in qualifying spec."

Despite the results, a massive amount of time and energy is being invested by team personnel into finding a solution to better the car's performance. As one of the main faces of the team, is one of your roles beyond driving keeping the team motivated and focused as all of you prepare for the British Grand Prix?
KM: "As a driver it's tough, as I'm not an engineer. We have a good understanding, but there's not too much we can do other than be supportive and give constructive feedback. You just have to keep cool and deliver what's expected from being a driver. You then trust in the team, which I do, to find the solutions."

Silverstone is one of the fastest tracks in Formula One, but it's not necessarily from long straights but rather from long, flowing corners. Can you describe the feeling of speed you experience at this power circuit?
KM: "Silverstone is definitely one of the best tracks in the world. It has extremely high-speed cornering and that's always where a Formula One car really shines with its downforce. It really shows its power. Silverstone is perfect for that."

The British Grand Prix is a home race for the majority of the Formula One industry, yet its future at Silverstone remains a bit uncertain. Whether it is from a historical perspective or a logistical one, do you view Silverstone as one of those iconic Formula One venues that needs to remain on the schedule?
KM: "I definitely think it needs to stay on the schedule. I'm crossing my fingers that it will. I see the idea of racing on the streets in London - that would be very cool, as well - but I desperately hope they'll keep the Silverstone race. It's an iconic race and it's also just such a phenomenal track to drive. I also think it's great for fans. I've watched races there as a spectator and it's definitely a track where you can get a sense of speed, especially watching at Maggotts and Becketts, as well as Stowe and Copse. It's just a phenomenal track."

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