Haas driver Romain Grosjean is confident that the technical gremlins that struck his car at the end of qualifying won’t be an issue on Sunday.
Grosjean posted the seventh fastest time in the final pole shoot-out round at the Red Bull Ring. In fact he will start the Austrian Grand Prix from sixth place on the grid, because of Lewis Hamilton’s five-place gearbox penalty.
But Grosjean’s car ground to a halt as he came out for his last qualifying lap, triggering local waved yellows in the final minutes of the session. That prevented anyone from making any final attempts to improve their times.
“I don’t know,” Grosjean told Sky Sports F1 when asked what the problem was. “We went out on new tyres and I had driveability issues,”
“We tried some switches in the car. But after the first corner the guys asked me to slow down. Then I completely lost control of the gearbox and the clutch.
“The car went into anti-stall in the hairpin and I couldn’t unclutch anymore so I had to stop the car there.
However, the Frenchman was confident that the team had a pretty good idea what had been behind the VF-17’s failure.
“I believe we are going to be fine,” he said. “In my opinion, it was just an electric connector that got disconnected. Nothing too crazy.
“It is still only 26 or 27 Grands Prix in for the team, so there are still a lot of things that we are still learning,” he pointed out.
- Bottas pips Vettel to pole for Austrian Grand Prix
“He had an electronic issue, which we’re still investigating,” said Haas F1 Team principal Guenther Steiner. “But we should be on the grid tomorrow without any more issues.”
Grosjean’s team mate Kevin Magnussen had also been looking strong on Saturday. However, the Dane suffered left rear suspension failure in Q3 after running across the aggressive kerbs at the circuit.
Despite making it through to the next round, Magnussen was unable to take any further part in qualifying and will start from 15th place on the grid.
“I don’t know what happened with Kevin, it was a shame with the suspension,” said Grosjean. “He was very fast all weekend.
“Actually we were able to emulate each other to go faster and faster. It shows in this result: when we get everything to work properly, it goes well.”
Magnussen was clearly disappointed at the premature end to his participation in qualifying.
“Rear suspension failure just as we were looking so good,” he tweeted later. “Sucks big time but there’s still a race tomorrow to push like hell.
“It’s just bad luck,” he added later. “I think we could’ve gone on to Q3 today and had a really good chance of points tomorrow.
“Now it looks more difficult. We had been performing well all weekend. We had good pace and were in the top ten. I’m gutted not to get anything out of it.”
Steiner insisted the team remained optimistic about Magnussen’s prospects for Sunday.
“With the pace the car has shown over the weekend here, with Kevin starting 15th, we’re still very hopeful and very confident to get into the points with him,” he said.
GALLERY: F1 drivers’ wives and girlfriends
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter