Haas Formula 1 chief Günther Steiner says he is still unsure what sparked Romain Grosjean’s mid-season turnaround in performance that ultimately saved his seat with the American team.

Grosjean went on a run of eight races without scoring a single point to start the 2018 season, leading to concerns about his future with Haas.

Driver Ratings - Mexican GP

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The Frenchman recovered with a run of four top-10 finishes in five races, including a fourth-place finish that is Haas’ best F1 result to date at the Austrian Grand Prix, which ultimately led to him being retained alongside Kevin Magnussen for 2019.

Steiner said that it was clear to see a turning point for Grosjean’s season, noting his qualifying form in particular, but conceded he did not know himself what had sparked the change.

“I think we all saw it. If you think now, he got into Q3 11 times in a row - that never happened to him before,” Steiner told Crash.net ahead of last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

“That is quite an achievement for a team like ours. I was just told this last race. I did not know it as well, because it just goes by you so quickly. So that is quite an achievement.

“Something changed for him. I still haven’t understood what. I just hope he understood what changed so he doesn’t make a change back again.

“We are quite openly speaking about these things, and I think he seems to be in control of it. Hopefully it stays like this.”

Steiner confirmed the team did consider alternative driver options for 2019, but never entered serious negotiations given its desire to retain Grosjean.

“Obviously we were looking around. You have to look around because if it continues like this, it’s also not good for him,” Steiner said.

“Sometimes it’s not only that the team wants to change, sometimes the driver in a team stagnates or doesn’t go anywhere, or he is not motivated. Then he needs to find new challenges.

“It was like ‘hey should we look around’ and I spoke with a lot of people, and they came and spoke to me, because with a car like this, a lot of people want to speak with you.

“We looked around, but we never got into any real [talks]. I’m always serious if I talk with people, I never steal people’s time, but we never got into any negotiations with anybody.

“I think he just came around at the right time. Again, our aim was to keep him because for the obvious reason, stability is worth a lot in this sport.

"Thank God it ended up like this."



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