BARCELONA, Spain — Guenther Steiner is confident Haas’ drivers have no ill feelings towards each other after clashing in the closing stages of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were fighting for seventh position after a late Safety Car period. After the race restart, Grosjean was forced wide at Turn 1 when Magnussen passed him on the inside. A couple of laps later, Magnussen and Grosjean made contact at the same corner, again prompting the Frenchman to drive across the run-off area.
Grosjean eventually lost pace and dropped to tenth after briefly losing temperature in his tyres, although he was able to hold of Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon for a point.
Radio messages released on Monday revealed Steiner had asked Magnussen to come and see him as soon as he could after the race.
“Kevin, the first one to come and see me, please,” the message said, with Magnussen replying “Sure, no problem”.
A radio message to Grosjean followed, saying: “Romain, this is Guenther. I will sort this out. Stay calm, come back easy, we speak afterwards. Please just stay calm. Thank-you.”
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Steiner’s post-race media session was delayed while he spoke to both drivers.
“The debrief wasn’t difficult,” he said afterwards. “I spoke to both drivers, I wanted to clear the air. We cleared the air, we are OK. It is neither here nor there and I told them ‘I’m not sitting here until midnight looking at videos to see who’s fault it is’.
“We need to learn from this and move forward. We got away quite lucky even if we lost some points, in the end we still had two cars in the points which is always good.”
Steiner understands that having two competitive drivers will always come with an element of risk.
“They have a good relationship between the two of them, they had that before and I wanted to make sure there is nothing said from one of them which upsets the other one, so I got them both straight after the race, we talked it through maybe for 15 minutes and we said ‘We move on from this and don’t do it again’.
“Can I promise that they won’t do it again? No.”
Haas left Barcelona positive about the upgrade it took to the race, something Steiner was keen to stress when asked for his overall assessment of the weekend. It was also pointed out to him that having two drivers who clash from time to time can be a good problem to have, as it shows two competitive drivers extracting the maximum out of their equipment.
To that, he replied: “Yeah, but you don’t want them to run into each other. We cleared the air and this happens, it’s racing. Stuff happens like this and we move on… It’s a nice thing to have but the negative is we lost some points. But it’s better like this if we fight for points.””
As always, Steiner was quick to make a joke and he said Haas deserved credit for spicing up what had been a grand prix low on entertainment to that point.
“I think it spiced the race up a little bit because it was getting quite dull in the end,” he joked. “We should get something for it, we should get some premium points for keeping people entertained! Bonus points! We get it for the fastest lap, we should get it for the best entertainment…”