Flashback to the Russian Grand Prix in 2016 and Haas were riding on the crest of a wave having taken points from three of their first four Formula 1 races. Fast forward to now however, and Haas has fallen lower in the constructor’s championship, though they have already improved on their 2016 points total – but are still struggling.
Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualifying in P16 and P17 for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand prix only serves to highlight how far behind the pack they are.
“The feeling was not too bad,” said Magnussen of his qualifying. “It’s just not competitive, I guess. It’s tough for us, but that’s how it is. The car isn’t slow. It’s been fast on other occasions, other races.
“We’re just not consistent enough in some areas. Something is making our performance vary too much. We’re working on it. The essential part is that we’ve designed a good baseline car. It’s just that sometimes it won’t work, and today was one of those days.”
Grosjean, who was involved in a huge 17G crash on Friday after striking a loose drain cover, was less downbeat about the situation but the Frenchman was hardly optimistic in his thinking.
“It’s been pretty amazing what the team has been capable of doing after yesterday,” said Grosjean. “It’s such a great team and it shows how much we’ve improved since the beginning. They managed to repair the car after curfew, but still in a quick amount of time. I’m very proud of them, and I was happy I was able to go out.
“Unfortunately, we went out in Q1. We’re working and we’re trying to analyze everything we can. We’re really doing our best, but these last few races we just haven’t had much performance. We know the supersoft is not our best compound, in general. We’re struggling to find the right window on tires. We need to just keep working on that. We’re all in the same boat and working hard. It will pay off at one point.
“Tomorrow is a long race. It’ll be very hot. The weather can be tricky. Let’s try to get the best, as we did in Singapore, and hopefully score some points.”
Team principal Guenther Steiner echoed the comments of his drivers.
“The weekend doesn’t seem to get any better,” he said. “There’s not much more that can go wrong, or worse, for tomorrow. We’re having these weekends where nothing seems to be going right. This is one of them. We just need to try to get together again and do the best with what we can tomorrow.”