Haas retains Grosjean, Magnussen line-up for 2020

Formula 1

SINGAPORE — Romain Grosjean will remain at Haas for another season after the American team confirmed he will partner Kevin Magnussen next year.

The news puts Nico Hulkenberg’s Formula One future in doubt as he was in the running for a Haas seat after Renault announced he would be replaced by Esteban Ocon in 2020.

Magnussen already had a contract with Haas in place for 2020, meaning team boss Guenther Steiner faced a straight choice between employing Hulkenberg or retaining Grosjean for next year.

After considering his options along with team owner Gene Haas over the past few races, Steiner confirmed the team would continue with the same line-up next year.

“Experience, and the need for it, has been one of the cornerstones of Haas F1 Team, and with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen racing for the team in 2020, we continue to have a driver lineup that offers us a solid platform to continue our growth,” he said. “Their understanding of how we work as a team, and our knowledge of what they can deliver behind the wheel, gives us a valued continuity and a strong foundation to keep building our team around.

“It’s been a tough year for us in 2019 with the fluctuation in performance of the VF-19, but our ability to tap into our combined experiences will help us learn, improve, and move forward as a unit in 2020.”

Haas has faced its most difficult season to date in 2019, as ongoing problems getting Pirelli’s tyres to perform to their maximum have dogged the team.

Grosjean has been instrumental in trying to understand the issue after he reverted to an aerodynamic specification from the first race of the season in order to run a comparison with Magnussen’s car, which has been running the latest aero specification.

Grosjean has been with the team since its debut season in 2016 and said he was happy to remain with Haas.

“I’ve always stated that it was my desire to remain with Haas F1 Team and keep building on the team’s accomplishments,” Grosjean said. “Having been here since the very beginning and seen the work both Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner put into the team to make it competitive, I’m naturally very happy to continue to be a part of that.

“To finish fifth in the constructors’ championship last season in only the team’s third year of competing was something very special. We’ve had our challenges this season, but we’ll use both the experience of last year and this year to move forward into 2020. I’m looking forward to working with Kevin and the whole team and continuing our journey together.”

Magnussen added: “I’ve had the comfort of knowing I’d be continuing with the team in 2020 and that’s very much been a positive throughout what’s often been a difficult 2019 season. Knowing we can work to make things better, improve our understanding of our situation, and get back to the level of competitiveness we showed last season — these are the things that excite me about 2020.

“We’re a team full of racers, led at the top by Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner. Nobody’s satisfied with how the 2019 season has played out, but the determination to turn things around is very much in evidence. I’m grateful the team have always believed in me and what I can bring to the table. We share a common goal and together with Romain, I’ll be giving it my all on-track for the remainder of this season and into 2020.”

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