Romain Grosjean believes that the new Haas F1 Team will react differently in future if its runs into set-up problems similar to those it suffered in China.
After two top six finishes in its first two grands prix, the US-based newcomer failed to score in Shanghai, with Grosjean – who had registered sixth and fifth-place finishes in Australia and Bahrain respectively – struggling to get the best out of his tyres, especially after becoming a victim of the turn one skirmish that also accounted for Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen, amongst others.
The Frenchman had already slammed the mandatory tyre pressures imposed for the weekend by Pirelli, but admits that Haas did not do a good job in combating them by adjusting the set up of the VF16 over the course of the weekend.
“[Tyre pressure] was the basic root of the problems, but we made it worse by our set-up and the way we ran the car,” Grosjean confirmed, “We could have reacted in a different way and that is what we will do now if it happens again.
“It was interesting to see how we reacted to problems but, with all the disrupted sessions, it was hard to catch up - and the way we tried to catch up, and the direction we went, sometimes wasn't the good one, actually making the problem worse. It is now nice to see it as a big picture and, if it happens again, we can ask the questions in a different way and react differently. That is why [China] was positive for us.”
Indeed, Grosjean reveals that he has been particularly impressed by the work that the team has done between races, attempting to uncover the cause of the issue and work on ways of reacting to it should it recur.
“I think it was a very positive weekend for us because we have done much more analysis after China than we did after Bahrain because we could see real problems of why we were on the back foot,” he explained, “I am amazed by the reaction back at the factory and everything that has been put in place for [Russia]. I am looking forward to being back in the car and, after a few laps, we will be back where we wanted to be, back to a good baseline and we can work from there.”
The Haas had been good on its tyres in the opening rounds, but both Grosjean and team-mate Esteban Gutierrez struggled to make them last in China, and the Frenchman is keen to avoid a repeat in Russia this weekend.
“[The car] has a good suspension philosophy,” he confirmed before admitting the single-lap pace is sometimes compromised, “Getting heat into the tyres can be a bit of a challenge. Deg is low, so if the tyres work the same way [here] then it should be the same.
“I think some people used a strategy in qualifying not using the first timed lap to set the quickest lap but, again, we have to work with the Pirelli limits in terms of camber and pressure and work with the set up of the car to get the best.
“In Bahrain, we were faster in the race than we were in qualifying and our deg is better than others. We sometimes don't get 100 per cent of the tyres, but I think it is better. The race is where it counts, so that is where you want to be as good as you can and I am sure there are a few tricks we can use.”
It wasn't only the tyres and set-up causing problems for Haas in China, however, and Grosjean admits that the team will have to continue evaluation of its front wing this weekend.
“We have it here to try,” he confirmed, “It will be interesting to try some more laps on it with a different set-up on the car to see if we can get some benefit from it.”