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Styrian GP: Preview - Haas

NEWS STORY
07/07/2020

New ground on familiar terrain will be broken this weekend for the Formula One World Championship, with Haas F1 Team geared up for another round of racing action.

In past years several countries have hosted more than one grand prix in the same Formula One season - including Haas F1 Team's home turf in the United States, which held as many as three races in the 1982 campaign, in Long Beach, Las Vegas and Detroit. Germany's Hockenheim and Nurburgring, Japan's Suzuka and Aida, Spain's Barcelona and Valencia, and Italy's Monza and Imola are among those to have ensured multiple visits to the same country in the same calendar year. And now Austria joins the list - but with a twist.

For the first time in Formula One's 70-year history the championship's protagonists have all remained at the same location for another grand prix event, to be held in Spielberg, Austria. After the past weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, Formula One has designated the upcoming event the Styrian Grand Prix in deference to the picturesque state of Austria in which the Spielberg Circuit is located.

Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will be back on track to put the learning from last weekend into practice at the same venue and to gain more understanding of the VF-20, and to rectify the issues that compromised the race potential of both drivers.

How was it adapting to the new working environment and off-track structure in what was a very different Formula One event at the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend?
Guenther Steiner: "It wasn't very hard to adapt; everything had been very well organized. All the processes and procedures were in place to make it a safe working environment, or as safe as it could be. On the other side, there was a lot less activity, which sometimes is good and sometimes is bad. We got used to things though. It was just good that we got back to racing regardless as to the structure of the weekend. I'm positive about that and I look forward to the next races."

What positives can be gleaned from last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix and how do you galvanize the team after what was a frustrating opening race?
GS: "Obviously it was very frustrating for us. We didn't have the pace we wanted to have and retiring two cars is not something nice to do. We have to keep working on the car to get more pace and get the best out of what we have got. We need to reduce mistakes and get an understanding of why what happened - happened. Hard work, it's the only way we can get out of this situation."

Is it a benefit that we head straight into another race weekend, giving an immediate opportunity to implement solutions, or would you have preferred more time to digest the data from the Austrian Grand Prix?
GS: "I think we have enough time to digest the Austrian Grand Prix data because, obviously, all of our engineers have stayed in Austria with a few days to look into it. There's never a perfect situation, you always want more time, but in the end, we don't have a lot of time this year with only having a five-month racing season. For me, we just have to keep doing what we're doing, we've got time to work on things. Hopefully we can make things better this weekend."

We've seen a glimpse of the 2020 pecking order - was there anything that caught your eye, and do you expect the same teams to be in similar positions?
GS: "I would take qualifying as being the pecking order and not the race from last weekend. The race was obviously very dramatic for a lot of teams and drivers. The qualifying order, I think that's how the season will be. We will be fighting to get out of Q1 and into Q2, that's not ideal, but it is what it is. I think the pecking order is there to see. Mercedes is quite dominant and there are a few teams right behind them. I think things will look very similar for the rest of the season."

How was it adapting to the new working environment and off-track structure in what was a very different Formula One event at the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend?
Romain Grosjean: "Somehow it was different, yes, the atmosphere was not the same, but on the other hand, everything else was the same as we were focused on working with the engineers trying to find the best set-up on the car. Similar and different at the same time."

What positives can be gleaned from last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix and how do you personally reset mentally ahead of the next race?
RG: "Our Friday long-run pace was good. It was in line with some of our competitors who finished in the top 10. We need to understand exactly what happened and why we couldn't repeat that on Sunday. We just need to ensure that a positive Friday translates into Sunday when it counts."

Is it a benefit that we head straight into another race weekend, giving an immediate opportunity to try new things, or would you have preferred more time to digest the data from the Austrian Grand Prix?
RG: "Yes, I think it's great that we can try new things. We're eager to try different things on the car and to see how we can improve. It's great that we've got a lot of races coming. We'll keep improving and keep getting better at it."

We've seen a glimpse of the 2020 pecking order - was there anything that caught your eye, and do you expect the same teams to be in similar positions?
RG: "I think for the next race - yes, the pecking order will be the same. McLaren was the one that surprised me, they did a good job. We may see something different in Budapest, and maybe at Silverstone again. Two races at the same track, we may see the same order, with more races at different tracks things could change."

How was it adapting to the new working environment and off-track structure in what was a very different Formula One event at the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend?
Kevin Magnussen "It was different but not too distracting. It all seemed to be very much under control. The weekend was different to a normal race weekend, but at least we're racing and that's all that matters."

What positives can be gleaned from last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix and how do you personally reset mentally ahead of the next race?
KM: "The positive was the pace I had on Sunday and how we were able to maintain it. Yes, I only did 26 laps, but for those laps I had good pace. Of course, I started to fall off because I was having to save my brakes, but if it hadn't been for that I'd have been able to push the guys in front. I was in P11 at the time so points were on the table."

Is it a benefit that we head straight into another race weekend, giving an immediate opportunity to try new things, or would you have preferred more time to digest the data from the Austrian Grand Prix?
KM: "I don't think it's a particular benefit. Maybe it's a slight benefit for the bigger teams because they have more resources and they're able to process data and analyze things quicker than we can. That maybe gives them a slight advantage on the small teams."

We've seen a glimpse of the 2020 pecking order - was there anything that caught your eye, and do you expect the same teams to be in similar positions?
KM: "The pecking order was all a little bit over the place. This track, for some reason, partly because it's a small track - but there must be other reasons as well, it brings the field closer together. You can make up a lot of positions, especially in qualifying. As a driver you can gain a tenth or two on a mega lap, you'll jump a lot of positions, whereas at another track you might only gain a place or two. It'll be interesting to see whether we'll be in the same position this weekend. I hope not, obviously, instead I hope we can qualify a bit better and finish the race on Sunday and hopefully score some points."

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