Haas principal Guenther Steiner has admitted he could be forced to drop one of his drivers at the end of the season after Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen collided again at the German Grand Prix.
The warring teammates have sparred since joining forces at Haas in 2017, and their rivalry has stepped up this season with several high-profile accidents.
A late-race clash in Spain had Grosjean tumble from seventh to 10th, but their first-lap crash in Britain was far more egregious. Not only did both drivers’ races effectively end on the spot, but the team was unable to complete an important aero comparison test as part of its efforts to diagnose its chronic tyre problems.
Both Magnussen and Grosjean were read the riot act ahead of the next round in Germany, but it wasn’t enough to prevent them from clashing again in the wet-dry race, banging wheels at turn six just eight laps from the chequered flag.
Neither sustained damage and both collected points for the first time in almost three months, but tensions were clearly frayed.
“My god, this guy is incredible,” Grosjean exclaimed over team radio. “He will never learn.”
Magnussen was similarly incensed in his message back to the pit wall.
Both drivers insist that the respect between them remains, but with Grosjean out of contract and the team holding an option on Magnussen, Steiner confirmed that their relationship and chemistry would be an influential factor in his driver line-up decision from 2020.
“Absolutely, yes,” he said. “I think team chemistry, when you make a decision on drivers, always come in play.
“Team chemistry, who is pushing who, and all that stuff comes into play, so it’s nothing new to think about when we make our driver choice for the future.”
However, with 11 races remaining and Haas desperate to unlock its car’s potential to recover ground in the constructors championship table, Steiner admitted he is considering implementing team orders to reduce the chance of more friendly fire.
“I think I have to,” he said when asked if he would now be firmer with his problemed drivers. “It’s the only solution, to be firm with them, and tell them what to do, and when they get close to each other, we’ll go from there.
“I need to come up with something better … because it is not acceptable towards the team because the team is again suffering from if you keep on doing this, and that is what will happen.
“I’m going to sit down with them today and let’s see what is coming out of it, how they see it, and what we need to do to go forward in the future.
“Maybe it ends up that we tell them what to do, decide who is doing what when they are close to each other.
“When they are close to each other, I think we need to take it out of their control who is doing what.”