Haas boss Guenther Steiner said he was encouraged to see Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean fight for position at the Styrian Grand Prix without incident.
The Haas teammates have collided several times before, most notably at last year’s British Grand Prix. The aftermath of that incident, which saw one of the drivers slam a door off its hinges following a frosty debrief with Steiner, featured prominently on the Haas-focused episode of Netflix’s Drive to Survive series.
The pair fought for position at the Styrian Grand Prix without contact, with Magnussen eventually beating Grosjean to 12th place.
When asked what it was like seeing the two men fight without making contact, Steiner laughed and said: « It was about time! It took a few years too long and a few crashes too many!
« I think what was said last year worked. They were well behaved. For sure they are never happy but it’s actually very difficult on the pit wall to manage it because we do not really see what’s going on. You see it from the on board camera but we don’t see how much they push and how much they don’t push. »
Steiner hopes it is a sign of things to come in 2020.
« If you have got two very equal drivers in two very equal cars it’s always very difficult, because the guy in the slipstream on the long straights will always catch up. So if you swap too much then you lose too much time to the opposition and waste time between us.
« It isn’t easy for us to make the calls, but at least they were well behaved. We didn’t have too many arguments, hopefully it stays like this! »
Haas suffered a double retirement at the opening race, the Austrian Grand Prix, but Steiner is encouraged by the fact it got both cars to the finish at the second event of the season.
« I take away quite a few positives, » he said. « We were able to race a little bit more than last week and I think we made some progress with the car.
« The drivers are not unhappy with the balance and the handling of the car. We need to find a little more speed as we well know, but otherwise we didn’t have any issues with the car in the race anyway, so I take away enough positives to go home now and say we made progress from last weekend.
« We still have a long road in front of us but at least we are back on track. We went off-track last weekend with the issues that we had, so all in all it was not a bad day for us. »
Speaking on the team’s prospects for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Steiner said: « On tracks like this the pecking order is pretty clear, we are in the latter half of the field, but I want to see on tracks like Hungary – slower tracks basically where we don’t have the long straights — how we do there.
« I think we can gain something there, because in Barcelona testing we were quicker than we were in Austria compared to other people. But again we need to go at least to Hungary to do a good race and see where we end up. But for sure it won’t be an easy year for us. »