Haas F1 has announced its driver lineup for 2020 and it will remain exactly the same—Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
“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,” team boss Gunther 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.”
This leaves Nico Hulkenberg on the outside looking in at Formula 1. Many thought Haas F1 would replace Grosjean with Hulkenberg but that hasn’t happened despite the inconsistencies and occasional gaffs from the Frenchman. Grosjean said:
“I’ve always stated that it was my desire to remain with Haas 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.”
Steiner explained the rationale for keeping Romain:
“He is with the team for four years, we know his highs and his lows. We know on a good day he’s a very good driver. He knows the team very well.
“The biggest reason is our car this year is not performing as we want it to perform – which in the end has nothing to do with the drivers we’ve got at the moment.
“It’s the car, we’re very conscious about that.
“Changing the driver now, I don’t know if it would help us make the car better. It could, but it also could not, because the new guy wouldn’t know where we start off.
“Romain was a big part of getting the understanding of why we are wrong with the car at the moment. He was a big help. And we didn’t want to have any more unknowns or risks.”
This leaves precious few options for Hulkenberg who is now focused on Antonio Giovinazzi’s seat at Alfa Romeo but Ferrari are backing the young Italian and that’s not going to be an easy bond to break even though Giovinazzi hasn’t had the best of seasons and Hulkenberg would be a big step up.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz said it isn’t just about talent in F1.
“I think everyone knows what Nico brings to the grid, I don’t think I need to explain myself much.
“But, as we know, in Formula 1, it’s not always the talent or what you’re capable of doing on track that is predominant.
“There’s a lot of things that can be taken into account, other than your talent and how quick you are.
“If it was speed and talent, he should be on the F1 grid until whenever he wants.”