Haas will run different car specifications again at this weekend’s Formula 1 German Grand Prix, as it continues in its quest to understand the weaknesses of its VF-19.
Haas has regularly run competitively during qualifying in 2019 but has regressed in race trim and has scored only 16 points across the opening 10 races of the campaign, leaving the team ninth in the standings.
In a bid to understand and address its problems Haas reverted Romain Grosjean’s VF-19 to the aerodynamic specification it ran at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Kevin Magnussen, meanwhile, ran with the current specification car, though a full understanding of the differences in race trim was wrecked by the first lap collision between Haas’ drivers.
That split car strategy will be employed once more at Hockenheim, with Grosjean running an Australia-spec car, while Magnussen will debut the latest updates to the VF-19.
Haas confirmed that the updates were designed “to improve overall downforce” and the car’s “overall driveability”, but did not specify the exact components that have been upgrades.
“We decided on this exercise to get data and understand better what the difference between the two cars is, good or bad, then we can see where we can make improvements,” said Haas boss Guenther Steiner.
“We weren’t sure if the update we introduced in Barcelona was better or not.
“We’re running this again in Hockenheim, which is a different type of track with different temperatures – they’ll be a lot higher – and, as we all know, we couldn’t get a lot of data from the race at Silverstone from either of the cars.
“We’ve changed a few parts on [Magnussen’s] car. There’s not one specific area we’re targeting. We’re just making the car, in general, better, more drivable with more downforce, which always helps you go fast.
“We’re trying to make the tyres work better for us. That’s the biggest improvement we can make at the moment – getting into the window of the tyre – and that’s got a lot to do with downforce.”
Grosjean believes the update Haas brought to Spain – since when it has not scored a point – was a step back compared to its baseline, and that he was immediately sceptical over its potential.
“When we brought the upgrade in Barcelona, I wanted to revert [to the old car] on the Friday evening,” said Grosjean.
“For me, the feeling was not so good from the rear end, especially through medium- and high-speed corners. The feeling hasn’t been good in those corners since then.
“Going back to the Melbourne package, the car felt a lot better in those regions. It shows that something was not working as expected.
“Now the aero guys are looking into it, but we know it’s been our weakness. Obviously, that launch package has some limitations also. It has less downforce, but it has better stability.”