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Should Haas axe both Grosjean and Magnussen?

Should Haas axe both Grosjean and Magnussen?

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Should Haas axe both Grosjean and Magnussen?

Should Haas axe both Grosjean and Magnussen?

Haas has yet to confirm its drivers for 2021 although signs are pointing towards an all-new line-up.

At present, it has been a wretched season for the team, which is on course for its worst constructors' championship finish and points tally since it entered F1 in 2016.

The VF-20 has been problematic from the start, while it was also decided very early on that due to the nature of the campaign it would not be updated, which has led to poor qualifying performances and race results.

Throw into the mix a Ferrari power unit severely hampered by technical directives at the end of 2019, then the chances of a strong season from either Romain Grosjean or Kevin Magnussen were minimal from the word go.

Coming off another dismal campaign last year and given the stability of the rules regulations going forward, it is fair to suggest the deck was stacked against them coming into this year.

Team principal Guenther Steiner has made one thing abundantly clear this season - Haas is looking for drivers not just for 2021 but beyond given the changes to the regulations from 2022 onwards.

At 34, it seems Grosjean may have entered the season as a 'dead man walking', with seemingly no level of achievement high enough for the Frenchman to retain his seat.

Magnussen, slightly younger at 28, still has time on his side, which might be enough to convince the team to retain a degree of stability going into next season.

Despite the lack of performance from the car, however, it is impossible to declare either driver's campaign a success.

Magnussen has scored just one point for finishing 10th in the Hungarian Grand Prix, a result that came from a combination of a strong drive and a bold but illegal decision from the team to pit at the end of the formation lap for slick tyres in damp conditions.

Grosjean had to wait until Sunday's Eifel Grand Prix to finally end a points drought stretching back 14 months, prior to which there had been few signs he was a realistic points contender.

The race at the Nürburgring, although affected by a late safety car that aided Grosjean's cause, was arguably the strongest from either driver this season.

Going forward then, should the team retain either of the current drivers? In short, yes, as there are benefits.

Looking to the future is all well and good but taking on two potential rookies is an incredibly risky strategy.

After circumstances conspired against him, F2 driver Callum Ilott was unable to make his F1 debut with the team in first practice at the Nürburgring.

With the young Briton a potential option, along with fellow F2 drivers Nikita Mazepin and Robert Shwartzman, a pairing with a known quantity such as Magnussen represents a wise move the team is likely to be considering.

And then there are talents such as Sergio Perez and Nico Hülkenberg who could easily come in and perform.

Either naturally represents a safer bet than a second rookie, although at 33, Hülkenberg does not appear to fit the criteria of driver who could take the team into the future despite his stellar performances as Racing Point's stand-in this season.

As for 30-year-old Perez, he naturally has a longer shelf life, is a proven leader and skilful in many areas behind the wheel.

For Haas, the number of sponsors behind the Mexican would naturally be welcome, and he is the more likely option of the two.

Perez will almost certainly want assurances the team is fully committed to developing the car, not just next season but primarily from 2022 onwards as he will not be happy languishing at the rear of the grid, and his frustration will soon show.

There is the likelihood of a Perez/Magnussen partnership if Haas wants to progress from 2022 onwards.

Alternatively, Perez could be paired with a rookie, representing a long-overdue clean sweep for Haas after four years of the Magnussen/Grosjean partnership.

Next season would be seen as a bedding-in period for the duo to get to know the team before it launches its assault on 2022 and hoped-for progression up the midfield.

While axing both Grosjean and Magnussen is perhaps harsh, it is also fair to suggest that now is as good as time as any to make widespread changes for the long-term health of the team.

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Comments (3)

Heini

Maybe not fair. If you look on the season 2018 when was the last time HAAS have a real race car MAG was number 9 in the championship. I don't understand why HULK is suddenly is a star after so many year with out much preforming.

7 0  Reply
Matt

Yes - lose em both... get Checo & Hulkenberg in

1 3  Reply
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