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Grosjean keeps Haas F1 seat for 2020

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Grosjean keeps Haas F1 seat for 2020
By:
Sep 19, 2019, 7:15 AM

The Haas Formula 1 team will field an unchanged driver line-up in 2020, having opted to retain Romain Grosjean alongside Kevin Magnussen.

Grosjean, who has been with the American outfit since it joined F1 in 2016, faced doubts over his continued involvement with Haas beyond 2019, as team boss Gunther Steiner confirmed the likes of Esteban Ocon - now signed for Renault - and Nico Hulkenberg were candidates to take his spot.

However, it's been decided the Frenchman will remain part of Haas' F1 roster for a fifth straight season and will continue to partner Magnussen, whose contract already ran through 2020.

"I’ve always stated that it was my desire to remain with Haas F1 Team and keep building on the team’s accomplishments,” said Grosjean.

"Having been here since the very beginning and seen the work both Gene Haas and Gunther Steiner put into the team to make it competitive, I’m naturally very happy to continue to be a part of that. To finish fifth in the constructors’ championship last season in only the team’s third year of competing was something very special.

"We’ve had our challenges this season, but we’ll use both the experience of last year and this year to move forward into 2020. I’m looking forward to working with Kevin and the whole team and continuing our journey together."

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Haas has opted for driver continuity despite a difficult 2019 campaign so far, as its VF-19 challenger has proved fast over one lap but not competitive enough on longer runs, which the team has partly put down to its struggles with 2019-spec Pirelli rubber.

The outfit, which recently parted ways with title sponsor Rich Energy, currently occupies the penultimate ninth spot in the constructors' championship.

"Experience, and the need for it, has been one of the cornerstones of Haas F1 Team, and with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen racing for the team in 2020, we continue to have a driver lineup that offers us a solid platform to continue our growth," Steiner said.

"Their understanding of how we work as a team, and our knowledge of what they can deliver behind the wheel, gives us a valued continuity and a strong foundation to keep building our team around.

"It’s been a tough year for us in 2019 with the fluctuation in performance of the VF-19, but our ability to tap into our combined experiences will help us learn, improve, and move forward as a unit in 2020."

Grosjean's new deal comes as a blow to Hulkenberg's chances of staying on the F1 grid, with the German having been dropped by Renault in favour of Ocon.

Hulkenberg has been positioned as an outside contender for a Red Bull-Honda drive, but Alfa Romeo now appears his most plausible option, should it decide to replace rookie Antonio Giovinazzi.

If this does not materialise, however, the 32-year-old is likely to find himself out of grand prix racing after nine full seasons in the championship.

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