19 September 2019
A surprise from Haas
It is inevitable that teams make announcements when journalists are busy doing other things, and we were just landed in Singapore on Thursday afternoon when it was announced that Haas will be retaining Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen for another season. That is a surprise as Grosjean's place seemed very uncertain, given that he has scored only eight points compared to Magnussen's 18. Neither is a stellar result but the team must take much of the blame for this as its performance in races has been pretty poor this year. One presumes that this is why the team has chosen this path because it feels that it has not been fair to the drivers.
The announcement is very bad new for Nico Hulkenberg as it means that there is not much left for him in 2020 and one would expect to see him join one of the teams as a test and reserve driver as a man of his experience is obviously worth having. One must presume from this that the problem is not one of whether or not he is qualfied for the job, but rather that the two parties did not agree on money or that The Hulk did not feel that it was the right place for him to be. If, as expected, there is no room at Sauber (Alfa Romeo), then the only possibility for him would be Williams, where he might replace Robert Kubica. However, this is unlikely to be a move that would be financially rewarding for the team as George Russell comes with backing from Mercedes and Kubica has a big wedge of wonga behind him. It is thought that Nicholas Latifi might be a good bet for 2020 as he has done pretty well in Formula 2 and has money behind him. Perhaps so. We will see. The Hulk is a Le Mans 24 Hours winners as well and so may find some work there, but there are no real top seats left open. It is a similar story in Formula E. We will see where he ends up.
It will be the fourth year together for Grosjean and Magnussen, with Romain having been there from the start in 2016 and Kevin joining in 2017.
“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 line-up that offers us a solid platform to continue our growth," says Guenther Steiner. "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."