Romain Grosjean, Haas, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020

Grosjean reveals Haas have had overheating suspension problem all year

2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean says Haas’s performances have been affected all year long by a suspension overheating problem which they are unable to solve.

Both Haas drivers were eliminated in the first round of qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix. “I can find a tenth maybe but there isn’t much more in the car,” said Grosjean, who will start 18th, one place ahead of his team mate.

“We’re struggling with the rear suspension overheating,” he explained, “meaning that the platform, the right height, keeps changing at the rear. From one lap to the other we can pick up up to 4% of aero balance.”

“When it gets hot at the end of third practice you get the ride height and then it cools down – and then you start qualifying with a different one and every lap the rear suspension heats up and the rear ride height changes,” he explained. “Normally we’re struggling a little bit but this weekend the magnitude is quite bigger and we’ve got no idea why.”

Grosjean said the problem is making the team’s set-up choices a matter of guesswork. “I feel for my race engineer because they roll the dice and they decide which flap angle we’re going to go on but we never know where it’s going to end up.

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“We’ve had the issue all year long but this weekend it has been, for some reason, really exaggerated. So we’re struggling with that. The car is never the same from one lap to the others. We’re not very confident for tomorrow and how it’s going to end.”

The team “don’t have any idea” what is causing the suspension to overheat, said Grosjean. Both cars have the same problem but Grosjean said his car is affected by it more than Kevin Magnussen’s.

“We see it a little bit on Kev’s car, but it’s always been minor compared to ours. This weekend, as an example, I picked up 3% of aero balance on the long run yesterday. It’s a fair bit.”

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said the team is working on addressing the suspension problem.

“We had this issue since the beginning of the year and it took a few races to understand it,” he said. “We tried a few options to cool the system. I don’t know how much difference it makes.”

New parts added to the VF-20 this weekend haven’t made a difference, he added. “I don’t know how bad it was today. Sometimes it seems to be working better.

“We brought some new parts to this race and I guess they don’t work as written on the box. So for sure we’ll keep on working on it.”

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2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Grosjean reveals Haas have had overheating suspension problem all year”

  1. Didn’t Grosjean say they were running the Australia spec until now a couple races ago? This light be the very first new part they are putting on the car.

  2. I think next year the team will realise that Grosjean and Magnussen really flattered that car. Although hopefully drivers with more financial backing means these problems can be ironed out with more in season development.

    1. I must say that putting a rookie in a car that does this seems sheer folly and a career wrecker.

      1. Yeah this seems like a lot to deal with for even the most experienced super talented driver, but for a rookie, wow that is a tough start @bascb and James

  3. If they’re having a technical issue they can’t resolve is it really wise of them to change up both of their drivers? Surely it’d be a safer bet to keep at least one as a reference point to the car’s issues. Or at least take an experienced driver that could advise.

    1. Marcus Hardung
      25th October 2020, 9:14

      Money makes the world go round.If Romain is citing the problem they,have been plagued by for over a year now it just shows how little in depth knowledge
      there is at Haas .Why should nMagnussens,car bw less affected by such an issue ? The team seems to be at a loss to isolate and get to the rhe root of their problems .
      Of course ,having a temperature dependend rideheight is a dog if you are unable to be on top of the temperatures and temperature /rideheight cirreöation is not there.
      Other teams obviously exploit this temperature ride height thing for years now – just recently the FIA clarified that external heating devices under parcferme regulations are no longer allowed …Mercedes has all their suspension springs and dampers buried deep into their Gearboxhousing ….
      HAAS should be ingenious with temperature management , there is a high temperaturecooling circuit for oil (150°c),water (~110°C),a low temperature cooling circuit for battery and electronics cooling it seems weird the teans do not use these systems to
      drive the Suspension heat managwment to their needs …You just don’t want to have random temperature deltas sputtering you arround in your aeromap…..not a good idea.
      If you are unable to control this you have
      of course a very severe feedback loop :
      as the miscontrolled rideheight produces
      wild changes fluctuations in downforce
      which in turn leads to wild fluctustions in susoension force , which in turn leads to
      more movement more temperature (!!!) and more confusion….
      Haas is trying to fly before knowing how to crawl.Rookie drivers certainly not the solution to that problem …toddlers may not be the best idea to learn flying a missile…

  4. What a weird issue to have, I wonder which parts are expanding and changing the ride height? Is it a materials issue, or a packaging issue. How strange.

  5. Sounds like they need to talk to the people designing the suspension back at the factory. In Maranello.

    1. Sure though Dallara makes the part, it is not like racing point where parts are made by a common supplier.

      1. @peartree, are you sure? Thought the rear suspension was all Ferrari. Probably just from Vettel’s car tho.

        Also agree with your TV director’s directive. Wonder if they still monitor with 9″ tube TV from Bernie’s era. ;-)

        1. @jimmi-cynic I’m wrong, ferrari is allowed to sell the suspension so they probably do that, they’d sell it all directly if allowed.

  6. That’s the trouble when you don’t design your own car – you don’t have that in-depth knowledge of the parts to be able to re-design them when they’re not working.

    1. Yup, this really does seem to be the central issue @petebaldwin. Combined with a still relatively inexperienced team, it must be a very tough position to be in.

      Changing the drivers for (most likely it seems) rookies can only end up making it worse. Then again, maybe the money they come with helps get in a few more people to try and understand+solve the issue that the drivers cannot really do more than try and cope with.

    2. Also this can’t be safe. At some point the adhesives in the lay up have to give way if the the component is warping from heat?

      1. It sounds like they have a semi pneumatic spring arrangement. Sounds wacky, but usually shocks have a gas charge to prevent cavitation. Everyone has or should have heard of “Gas Shocks”. Really fluid (oil) shocks with a gas bladder and a pressure charge. This pressure adds to the effective spring rate. Possibly they are running a different system where the gas pressure has a significant net effect.
        Either way, likely the gas reservoir is in a place picking up heat and changing the spring effect and hence ride height.
        Good news is they have found a problem. Bad news, why did it take so darn long to fix and why wasn’t it handled in the design stage. Not like Dallara is new to this.

  7. We see it a little bit on Kev’s car, but it’s always been minor compared to ours.

    At one time I had a job which required finding and fixing faults. One of the basic rules of fixing faults is if you can reproduce the fault then you should be able to fix it. This is especially true for when you can reproduce the problem by following the same set of steps.
    From what we’re told it appears to happen very regularly, e.g. every time Romain drives the car. Since the problem is predominantly on Romain’s car and not on Kevin’s, one has to assume Romain is doing something different from Kevin. Heat is the discharge of energy, so maybe Romain’s style of driving is probably more energy intensive than Kevin’s. For example it might be Romain frequently drives onto those kerbs which have an undulating pattern on the surface, whereas Kevin might not do that very often.
    My suspicion is this problem should have been fixed long ago.

  8. Unless Haas hires at least 1 experienced driver for next season, I fear they will struggle to beat either Williams or Alpha Romeo.

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