Wheelnut damage led to Grosjean's retirement

The Haas Formula 1 team believes damage to a wheelnut in Romain Grosjean's slow pitstop led to his eventual retirement from the Australian Grand Prix.

Wheelnut damage led to Grosjean's retirement

A year ago in Melbourne both Haas drivers retired because their wheels were not correctly affixed during pitstops. The team had been holding fourth and fifth places prior to that.

Twelve months on, Grosjean was running seventh behind teammate Kevin Magnussen before a slow pitstop in which Haas had to have two attempts to fit his left-front wheel.

That dropped Grosjean into the midfield, and he retired 14 laps later when the wheel became loose.

Team principal Gunther Steiner said the "deja vu" retirement was the result of the wheelnut having been damaged during the troubled stop.

"On the pitstop you could see that there was an issue, He lost seven seconds and the race was gone there - even if he got to the end there wouldn't have been points," said Steiner.

"They got the wheel back on, so we didn't lose the wheel like last year. But after 15 laps it mechanically broke because we forced it on."

Asked by Motorsport.com to clarify exactly what had happened, Steiner said "the wheelnut broke", adding "it was on, but when you take it off and put it on it gets damaged and then the thread breaks".

In 2018 Haas had admitted that its Australian GP disaster was partly a consequence of insufficient pitstop practice during the winter.

Asked if memories of last year had made Haas practice pitstops too much this season and make the process more tense, Steiner replied: "No, no, no, it's difficult to define if you over-practice. We know not practicing doesn't work!

"I think we did very good preparation this year. I'm not a big believer in being unlucky, you make your own luck.

"If you think about last year, after Australia there were no issues and then we come back to Australia and there's an issue again.

"What can you say? I don't think it's about practicing. We did the right job and it just happened."

Steiner said Grosjean had been sanguine about what happened.

"He was disappointed. I spoke with him about it, which is the right thing to do, and apologised because this should not happen," he said.

"But he's in good spirits because the car is good. It's not his last chance to make points.

"That's what I said to the guys: let's not dwell too much on what and if and what could have happened and if this and that. Let's focus on how we fix this.

"Do we change people around? We'll come up with a solution. It happened. It's gone."

Magnussen continued to finish the race in sixth, meaning Haas leaves Australia fourth in the constructors' championship.

"In general there are more positives than negatives - therefore you don't see me in tears or down," Steiner added.

shares
comments
Vettel: Ferrari had "way less grip" than in testing

Previous article

Vettel: Ferrari had "way less grip" than in testing

Next article

Bottas ignored Wolff instruction not to go for fastest lap

Bottas ignored Wolff instruction not to go for fastest lap
Load comments
Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph Prime

The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Prime

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall...

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Prime

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021