Haas team principal Gunther Steiner says he won't put a double mechanical failure at Sepang down to bad luck but has reiterated his demand for the American team to step up after a tricky patch during the Asia flyaway races.
After Romain Grosjean failed to make the race start in Singapore the Frenchman's race was over after just seven laps when he suffered brake disc failure while Esteban Gutierrez, who suffered puncture in the opening lap melee, retired on lap 39 with a freak wheel failure which Steiner says Haas is investigating with the FIA.
With the team's previous points-scoring outing coming in Austria Steiner confessed as some of the front-runners hit problems the race in Malaysia was a missed opportunity for a top ten finish and the team's first double retirement in F1 came as a bitter disappointment.
“It's difficult to say we're unlucky because that sounds like an excuse, because you make your own luck in life,” Steiner said. “But I think there are a lot of things happened which are out of our control and we just try and get them together, like Romain in Singapore - what can you do? It's just one after another.
“Here [Sepang] we started off not finding a balance in the car, and then to find the balance and we're pretty happy. The race is going as it should go. Esteban obviously had a puncture on the first corner because Magnussen ran into him and punctured him, but with Romain we were in a good position, everything was well under control and our strategy was right what we wanted to do - and then the disc brakes. You can call it unlucky but it's still our fault.”
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Steiner has explained Haas is undergoing a heavy work load of analysis to uncover the reason behind Grosjean's brake failure, stating it didn't overheat which had been the Achilles heel for the team, while the Haas boss stated Gutierrez's broken wheel has confused the team as it was discovered the wheel was applied correctly and the nut tightened sufficiently after his previous pit stop.
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Looking to move on despite the tight turnaround to the Japanese Grand Prix, Steiner has called for his team to rally and finish the final five races of the year strongly to ensure it stays ahead of Renault in the F1 world constructors' championship.
“It's not disappointing, we just need to keep on dealing with them,” he said. “We are grown-ups, it happens all the time, you show how strong you are when you're down in the dumps to come out of it. We normally dig our way out, we work hard to get our way out.
“If this weekend on Friday somebody has said that Haas would end up 12th and 13th in qualifying then a lot of people would have laughed about it, but we got it done because we kept on working.”
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