By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
AUSTIN, Texas — The 2018 United States Grand Prix will be one to forget for the Haas F1 Team after Romain Grosjean suffered an early retirement and was given a grid penalty for the upcoming Formula One race in Mexico.
While running through Turn 12 on the opening lap of the race, Grosjean, locked up briefly and made contact with Charles Leclerc, which sent the Alfa Romeo Sauber into a spin and ultimately, retirement after 31 laps due to the damage.
For Grosjean, who started eighth on the grid – the best qualifying performance for Haas at their home race in America in three attempts, the damage to the steering rack was severe enough that he was forced to retire after just two laps.
As a result of the incident, the stewards elected to give Grosjean a three-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, along with one penalty point.
“Video evidences showed that entering Turn 12 Car 8 locked tires and made contact with Car 16,” read a statement by the stewards. “As a result of the incident both cars suffered damage and Car 8 had to retire.
“The Stewards noted that Car 8 lifted and braked early because of the positions of the cars in front, but nevertheless Car 8 made contact with Car 16. The Stewards awarded just 1 penalty point in recognition of the circumstances.”
With 10 penalty points of a possible 12 scored over the past 12 months, Grosjean is in danger of a potential race ban. However, good news for is he will begin dropping penalty points the day after the event in Mexico City on October 28. Should two penalty points be collected though, it would result in a race ban in Brazil.
The outcome is just another dagger to the team, which also endured a disqualification for Kevin Magnussen following a ninth-place effort due to excessive fuel usage.
Guenther Steiner, team principal of Haas F1 Team, elaborated on his frustrations from the event at Circuit of the Americas.
“It wasn’t a good event for us,” Steiner said. “Grosjean’s collision with Leclerc on the opening lap – he ended up getting a penalty for the next race, so we’re penalized for that already. We get a three-place grid penalty for him.
“Kevin finished ninth, but has been disqualified because we used too much fuel. In the end, that’s our responsibility to control the fuel amount, but I still disagree with Formula One having to run on these rules.
“I hope next year, with having 110 kilograms, this will change, but we change another rule and put a big front wing on, so maybe this will be the same. One day we’ll get to have a good show, but at the moment it isn’t.”