What’s this? A team keeping exactly the same drivers for 2019? Unheard of! Yup, Haas is sticking to its guns next year. Magnussen has been having an excellent season, no doubt benefiting from a bit of career stability (2019 will be his third year with Haas) and it never looked like he’d be going anywhere. He said:
“I’ve never been in a better situation than the one I’m in here at Haas F1 Team. This is a team filled with racers and we’re all striving for the same thing. There’s no bureaucracy and everything is very straightforward. Gene Haas is all about efficiency, and he and Gunther Steiner have created a very efficient environment that gets the best from its people. We all believe in each other and that’s why we’ve achieved as much as we have.”
Grosjean’s future, on the other hand, was a bit more uncertain. He had an incident-filled first half of the season and didn’t even score any points until he finished a fine fourth in Austria. Since then he’s been more like the Grosjean of old, which has been enough for the team to keep him on for a fourth season. Grosjean said:
“It’s impressive to see what this team has accomplished in such a relatively short time, and for someone who has been here since the very beginning, I take a lot of pride in the time, effort and sacrifice we’ve all put forth to make Haas F1 Team so competitive.
“I’m very happy to continue with Haas F1 Team and represent Haas Automation and all of our partners. Gene Haas has built something very special – something we can make even better – and it’s an honor to be a part of it.”
Haas boss Guenther Steiner explained the decision:
“From the very beginning, we needed experienced drivers to hasten the development of our car and our team, and we have two very good and experienced drivers in Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. We’ve improved drastically from last year to this year, so retaining both drivers was a pretty easy decision”
The news puts an end to rumours that Sergio Perez might have been heading to the team; the Mexican is now surely likely to stay at Force India.
The pieces are falling into place – just Toro Rosso, Williams and Force India are left to announce their drivers.