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Keeping Grosjean, Magnussen for 2018 ‘a given’ in Gene Haas’ eyes

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Gene Haas is planning to field an unchanged line-up for his Formula 1 team in 2018, believing it to be “a given” that Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will continue beyond the end of the season.

NASCAR team co-owner Haas took his eponymous F1 operation onto the grid in 2016, pairing Grosjean with Esteban Gutierrez.

While Grosjean scored a fifth-place finish in Haas F1 Team’s second race and picked up 29 points across the course of the season, Gutierrez failed to record a single top-10 result.

The Mexican was replaced by Magnussen for 2017, with the Dane taking 11 points through the first 10 races of the season.

Despite the fluidity of the driver market for 2018, Haas revealed in an interview with the official F1 website that the team is planning to race with Grosjean and Magnussen together once again next year.

“We will run with the same drivers that we have this year again next year. That is a given,” Haas said.

“And given the other continuity aspects, we should be better racers next season.”

Haas had been tipped to take on a Ferrari junior such as Antonio Giovinazzi or Charles Leclerc for 2018 given its technical ties to the Italian marque.

Grosjean is understood to be a target for Renault should it miss out on re-signing Fernando Alonso, while Magnussen penned a multi-year deal upon arrival at Haas at the start of the season.

Reflecting on Magnussen’s contribution, Haas believes the team has benefitted from his greater race performance that has allowed it to match its debut season points total in just 10 races in 2017.

“Esteban was a good driver. He was as fast as Romain in practice, but I think that Kevin has an edge in terms of race experience,” Haas said.

“He can score points and that was the key for bringing him on board. Kevin can grab points and Romain can too.

“We now have 29 points. Last year around this time we also had 29 points, but did not score for the rest of the season.

“So now if we can score another 29 points by Abu Dhabi, that would be a great position.”

Grosjean leads Haas into Austria Q3 as suspension issue costs Magnussen

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Romain Grosjean led Haas’ charge during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday as a suspension issue cost Kevin Magnussen a chance to match his teammate’s Q3 run.

Grosjean finished just half a second behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to take seventh on the grid for Haas and score his best qualifying result since the opening race of the year in Australia.

The Frenchman was forced to stop his car on-track at the end of Q3 due to an electrical issue, inadvertently preventing his rivals from going any faster and shuffling him down the order.

After struggling for much of the season with recurring brake problems, the result offered Grosjean a boost as he bids to add to his points haul on Sunday.

“We’ve been quick all weekend, Kevin and I. We’ve both been pretty happy with the car,” Grosjean said.

“Unfortunately, Kevin had the suspension issue in Q1, otherwise I think he would’ve been up there with us. Inbetween Q1 and Q2 we found some performance. We had good grip in the car. I think we just lost an electric connection on the car at the end. I’m hoping it’s nothing more serious than that.

“It’s a long race tomorrow. It’s going to be tough on the brakes, tough on the engine and tough physically. It’s the second time this year though, after Melbourne, where I feel the tires are working well and I can really enjoy myself and push the car to the limit.”

Magnussen suffered a suspension failure during Q1 when running over the kerbs at Turn 3, and while his time was still good enough to get into Q2, he could take no part, resigning him to 15th in the final standings.

“We were looking good, so it’s really frustrating not getting the whole qualifying. It’s really unfortunate to break the rear suspension,” Magnussen said.

“It’s just bad luck. I think we could’ve gone on to Q3 today and had a really good chance of points tomorrow. Now it looks more difficult.

“We had been performing well all weekend. We had good pace and were in the top-10. I’m gutted not to get anything out of it.”

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

Steiner: Magnussen more capable of driving around Haas F1 brake problems

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Haas Formula 1 chief Guenther Steiner says that Kevin Magnussen is more capable of driving around its ongoing braking problems than teammate Romain Grosjean, allowing him to charge to the team’s best result of the year in Baku nine days ago.

Brakes have been a problem for the Haas team ever since its debut in F1 at the start of 2016, with a change of supplier earlier this year failing to remedy the problem.

Grosjean has been particularly vocal about the problems, with his radio transmissions regularly appearing on TV broadcasts, while Magnussen has been more reserved about the issues.

Previewing this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, Haas team boss Steiner put his driver’s varying results in Baku down to their different experiences with the braking issue, with Grosjean coming off worse.

“It’s not that Kevin didn’t have the problems with the brakes. With his driving style – for him it’s easier to drive around it, or make it less evident,” Steiner said.

“He was not happy with the brakes in FP2. For the race, he had to lift and coast, as well, because we had some issues.

“With Romain’s driving style, the brakes need to be perfect, or as close to perfect as can be. At the moment, we are not there.

“The cars as a setup – suspension-wise and aero-wise – are pretty similar all the time. But their driving styles – how they go into a corner – that’s a little bit different.

“In the end the cars are not far apart. The drivers work with their race engineer, but the cars, in principle, are very similar.”

Magnussen: ‘Cool’ Haas F1 can compete for points at every race

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Kevin Magnussen finds it “cool” that Haas is now in a position to fight for points at every race after making more progress through its second season in Formula 1.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous operation onto the F1 grid in 2016, enjoying a solid debut campaign that saw the team finish eighth in the constructors’ championship with 29 points.

Haas has made an even stronger start to 2017, picking up 21 points through the opening eight races and ticking off its first double-points finish in Monaco.

Magnussen even found himself running third at one stage in Baku before eventually finishing seventh, but the Dane is boosted by the team’s form.

“I definitely feel that at each race points are possible, which is a really cool feeling,” Magnussen said.

“It’s good going into every race knowing that you can fight for something. It’s cool. The team had performed extremely well in its first season.

“Now, in its second season, it looks like we’ve made improvements and have already taken small steps forward, and that’s not easy in the second year of a Formula 1 team.”

Haas reveals new-look Formula 1 livery to debut in Monaco

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Following a tweak to its Formula 1 livery design for last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Haas has opted to take another step and revise its look ahead of next Sunday’s race in Monaco.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous F1 operation onto the grid in 2016, racing in the red, black and gray colors of Haas Automation.

The team made little changes to its livery between 2016 and 2017, but was required to make alterations for the last race in Spain as per the FIA’s updated guidelines of driver identification stickers.

Haas has now taken advantage of this to make more widespread changes to its car design, ditching the majority of red that previously adorned the VF-17 in favor of a light gray.

“It is for the whole year now,” team principal Guenther Steiner added. “With the change in the size of the numbers and its positioning, we looked into making the entire car a little more visible.”

Here was the initial livery:

MONTMELO, SPAIN – MAY 14: Romain Grosjean of France driving the (8) Haas F1 Team Haas-Ferrari VF-17 Ferrari on track during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 14, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

And here is the new one: