Romain Grosjean says getting to grips with tyre management must be the “number one priority” for Haas in the upcoming Formula 1 races after the team’s difficult start to the 2019 season.

Grosjean and teammate Kevin Magnussen have qualified inside the top 10 at all three races so far this year, but failed to bring home any points in either Bahrain or China as their pace faded over long runs amid struggles with the Pirelli tyres.

Haas F1 chief Guenther Steiner offered a bleak outlook for the team ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, saying he is “readying for disappointment” given the ongoing tyre struggles.

In the team’s race preview, Grosjean explained how the car felt so different in the race compared to its short runs in qualifying, and stressed the importance of getting to the bottom of its tyre woes soon.

“The grip is going,” Grosjean said. “We have good grip in qualifying. On new tyres, the car is amazing, but when we go into the race, we’re losing the grip and things become a bit more complicated.

“That’s the problem we’re facing at the moment. It’s probably coming from the way we use the tyres. We haven’t managed to get on top of it yet.

“That’s our number one priority for the next few races.”

Grosjean said a possible change in the peak operating window for the tyres compared to last year may contribute to Haas’ lack of pace, but took confidence from the pace shown by the VF-19 chassis over one lap.

“The window may have moved, or the operating of the tyres may be a bit different with the thinner treads,” Grosjean said.

“Obviously the chassis is good, otherwise we wouldn’t be so fast in qualifying, we wouldn’t be so fast over one lap.

“We need to understand the tyres a bit more, and where the window is and how we get there. That’s the next task for the engineers."

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