Extra pitstop practice will be scheduled for Haas after a pair of ‘heartbreaking’ unsafe releases put both cars out of the first Formula 1 race of the season.
Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were running fourth and fifth respectively at the Australian GP, putting the Banbury-based side on course to score their best-ever result since joining the sport in 2016.
The duo built on a mightily impressive qualifying, have lined up P5 and P6 on the grid after Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo’s grid penalty, locking out the third row.
However, in a catastrophic few moments at Albert Park, both cars retired on the lap following their respective pit stops, losing them a potential 22 points, which is just shy of half their entire tally in 2017.
Team principal Guenther Steiner confirmed the wheels ‘weren’t tied on correctly’ and the cars had to be stopped.
He said: “As much as you don’t want to say it, it’s racing. It happens, even though it shouldn’t. It’s almost unbelievable to have this in one race, and on two cars, while running fourth and fifth.”
To add insult to injury, Haas were given a €10,000 fine for the unsafe release of their cars from the pit stop.
The team, who look to have improved massively on their last two years’ eight-placed finishes, have vowed to bounce back.
Magnussen, the first Haas driver to retire, said: “It’s a very tough one to swallow for the whole team. To have both cars not finishing is just heartbreaking. I’m beyond disappointed.”
Grosjean, who was forced to call it a day just three laps later, added: “We’ll come back stronger as we always do. It’s a lot of points lost today, but if we can repeat that performance over and over, we’re going to forget this very quickly.”
It was also a tough weekend for Renault’s Carlos Sainz who appeared the faster of the Enstone team’s drivers but struggled with sickness.
He salvaged a point but team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who benefitted from the Haas drop-outs, scooped six more with a seventh-placed finish.
The next race is in Sakhir for the Bahrain GP on April 8.