Steiner: On a good day he's a very good driver

19/09/2019
NEWS STORY

It's probably fair to say that when Haas announced this morning that it was to retain Romain Grosjean alongside Kevin Magnussen next season, nobody will have been more surprised than the Frenchman himself.

Days after Alain Prost revealed that one of the issues Renault had with Nico Hulkenberg was his negativity, one had to wonder what the French team would make of Monsieur Moany.

Largely out-performed by Magnussen both last year and again this season, it was widely felt that Haas had grown tired of the Frenchman's lack of consistency, his mistakes, and his clashes with his teammate.

Team boss, Guenther Steiner admitted ahead of the summer break that the American outfit had a clear choice, either to retain Grosjean or sign Nico Hulkenberg.

This morning, Haas confirmed its decision.

"It was a close call," Steiner told reporters, "because they are both very good drivers.

"I hope Nico stays in F1 as I like him and he's a good driver," he added.

"In the end we decided to stay with Romain. He is with the team since four years. We know his highs and his lows, we know on a good day he's a very good driver, he knows the team very well.

"The biggest reason is our car this year is not performing as we want it to perform which in the end has nothing to do with the drivers we have in the car.

"It is the car, we are open about that, conscious about that," he continued. "And now changing driver... I don't know if it would help us to make the car better. It could, but it could also not. Because the new guy wouldn't know where we start off.

"Romain was a big part of getting the understanding of why we are wrong with the car at the moment, he was a big help," said the Italian. "We know what we have got and we can work with that. That's why we took the decision to stay with Romain for another year."

Steiner was keen to make clear that team owner, Gene Haas, was very involved in the decision to retain the Frenchman.

"Gene is very good at these things," he said. "He doesn't take a harsh approach like I would sometimes do. He's a little bit more balanced maybe than me.

"We were aligned and we spoke a lot about the plusses, minuses, figuring out what is good, it's good to have someone to bounce off, especially someone like Gene.

"He's been doing this a long time and he sees this from another perspective. I'm very close to everything so sometimes emotions come in the way, but he's distant and it's sometimes better to see it like this."

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Published: 19/09/2019
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