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Romain Grosjean

Romain is definitely in a pivotal year and as of right now, not in an ideal position for his future prospects. With 2018 looking like another big shuffle in the driver/team market, I don’t think Haas will be able to let his talent shine enough to get him a top line seat.

His goal must be that Renault will call him back to the mothership and they keep progressing in pace to give him a stab at the sharp end of the field again. His time with Lotus and with team mate Kimi had some ups and downs but once he sorted his demons, he became a consistent and very fast driver.

Once the team started to struggle he found a place at Haas to hone his skills as both a team leader and development point man, he scored some valuable points for the team but then they caught a case of the troubles with the brakes that seemed to impact Romain more often and sapped a lot of potential pace and success as the season wore down.

A very likeable guy, he is also emotional, his highs and lows worn on his sleeve. Hopefully the team can get their head around the braking issues quickly (which I find unfathomable at this point no matter who’s to blame) and he can get on with the job of fighting for points. I think he has a lot of talent but confidence can vary on occasion although I don’t think he is too worried who his teammate is and will be a team player through and through to get the car better which is perfect for the new start up Haas.

With a likely move to Renault next year he will still push all the way through and help Haas improve and will get the results when the car is correct underneath him. His weakness I would say is racecraft and fighting in a pack. He is at his best out in clean air and there he shows great speed

Kevin Magnussen

“Our Kev” is a strange one to figure out. Inconsistency seems to be an issue. On a good day he is very good but he can also disappear and underachieve and I’m not sure what instigates this.

His Dad, Jan, came into F1 with some stout credentials but even his boss, the great Jackie Stewart, couldn’t extract that on track and in the end he found a great home in sports cars where perhaps the individual pressure is not as high and the team spirit a bit more enjoyable.

Could this be the same for Kevin? I was surprised that Palmer was retained at Renault but that’s not to say it was on pure form, we all know budgets have to be considered, but certainly Magnussen did not carry a lot of performance momentum as the season wound up, perhaps he was affected by the ongoing talks about the next year?

This is now and must be water under the bridge. So now, at Haas, I think it will suit his personality a little better, a little hug from Gunther every morning has to put him in a good place to perform. He does of course have a great team mate to be compared to and I certainly think he can match Romain but as I said before, the key will be to bring it every day in every session.

He must make this work or else he will be headed out of the series. If Romain is moving on to another team, Haas is the best place for Kevin to lay his hat for a while and rebuild his reputation. Haas is one of the only mid-pack teams that don’t require a budget from the driver so you simply have to drive to keep your job, a place any racing driver should relish. So no bellyaching and in the words of the brilliant late great David Loring -Drive fast ! Take chances!

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  • hey Paul

    I have been meaning to tell you, I really like these insights that you are doing – teammate vs. teammate…

    • The International

      Cheers Mate ! Been fun writing them

  • Mag The Knife

    About our Kev and his swinging performances…
    I have to comment that in 2016 he performed when the car was up to the test. Renault stopped development on the car midway through season, and then it gets tough to deliver anything in a 2015 car build for a merc engine

    • The international

      But if you compare to team mate Palmer (which is all you can do in this situation) he dropped off

  • MIE

    With Gary Anderson observing trackside stating the Grosjean was attempting to brake later than anyone else, do you think the braking issues may be driver related rather than equipment? It seems to be Grosjean who is suffering from these issues more than his team-mate(s), both last season and in pre-season testing this year.

    • The International

      It certainly could be or a way Romain is trying to correct the problem in driving style. Even in these most modern cars driver style sti greatly effects consumption of brakes, fuel , tires etc. thank god

  • jakobusvdl

    Thanks Paul, I’m really enjoying this series of articles.
    Haas has got itself an enigmatic driver pairing, both of them coming to F1 as very young drivers with top teams, after stellar performance in the feeder series. Then being dropped, (winding up back in sportscars and GP2 for Grosjean) and having to reestablish their F1 careers.
    So they are obviously hugely talented and determined, both are well capable of turning in great performances.
    Grosjean has already been reported as having problems with the Haas braking system, that only a change in supplier will solve. His courage in charging hard despite potentially lethally inconsistent brake system behaviour last season was impressive. But, he could be painting himself into a self fulfilling prophecy if he convinces himself that the brake system can’t be fixed. I’ve seen no reports of comments from Magnussen.
    So apart from a potential that Grosjean could psych himself out, I can’t pick which may be the quicker this season.
    Interesting fact – Magnussen is the only driver to have driven all four hybrid p.u’s. It would be amazing to hear about the differences – add that to the list of potential ‘FBC downshifts’ N.C!