Steiner: Grosjean’s Baku error ‘not even worthy of a rookie’

Haas boss Guenther Steiner says that he wouldn’t expect any driver in Formula 1 to make the kind of mistake Romain Grosjean did in Baku – even one who was just starting out.

The French driver crashed out of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix while running behind the safety car. He was in sixth place when he locked up and speared into the wall as he warmed his tyres.

He later explained that he had inadvertently knocked a switch in the cockpit while weaving back and forth.

“I was warming up my tyres and bumped into a switch that I’d moved by two positions,” he reported after the race. “The brake balance was locked rearward – it just locked the rear wheels and I spun.”

Steiner was deeply unimpressed by the incident, and made it clear that he wouldn’t even accept that sort of thing from a total rookie in the sport.

“You don’t expect [that] from a rookie or anybody,” he told Racer.com this week.

It’s even more aggravating given that Grosjean was set to pick up significant points in Baku, from the unlikeliest of starts. Sergio Perez, who had been running just ahead of Grosjean, picked up a podium in the race.

“In the race we saw we started last and were P8 with Romain behind Perez,” recalled Steiner. “That was on speed [not luck], because everybody had made one stop.

“Sure the safety car comes out and we are in P6 all of a sudden. But then we go home with nothing.”

  • Grosjean offers bizarre explanation for clumsy safety car crash

It’s the latest in a series of setbacks for the team this season. Haas had both cars running in the top ten in the series opener in Melbourne, when issues with air puns meant both cars were forced to retire with improperly attached tyres.

As a result of the points Haas has lost over the first four races of 2018, the team is down in eighth place in the constructors standings.

“Just at the moment it feels like we always let it slip,” he admitted. “We are not using the potential of the car to get in the points. We should be quite well up there because the car is performing very well.”

Steiner is increasingly having to play cheerleader to keep the team’s spirits high despite the disappointments.

“You’ve just got to tell people that you haven’t done anything wrong,” he said. “The guys know themselves if they are good or not. Until you get the momentum going, assure them they are doing good.

“They keep on coming back because they are convinced that we can get it done. They are not lacking.

“In the position like we are in, we have got a good team, everything is good, we just need to get it together for one weekend, execute it well over the whole weekend and we will be fine.

“You always feel like you are running out of time, but then again it’s only race four.

“I’m not saying its fantastic. We should have done better. But it’s not the end of the world.”

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