Haas makes changes to pit crew for Bahrain

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Haas has swapped members of its F1 pit crew around to avoid a repeat of the mistakes which destroyed its chances of a strong result at the Australian Grand Prix.

Two botched pit stops in Melbourne forced Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean into immediate retirement from the race when they had been running fourth and fifth, looking set for Haas' best result since joining the grid in 2016. Both cars had been released back to the circuit with an incorrectly fitted tyre.

The team has made changes for this weekend's race in Bahrain.

"We swapped a few positions and the main reason is not because they did a mistake but to get their confidence back," team boss Guenther Steiner said. "If you keep on doing the same and the guy is not confident.

"The risk you have a mistake is high. You swap positions, you give them different jobs because you need so many people anyway. That is what we did for this race and what we are doing since yesterday practising."

Although no new members have been brought in, the three-man teams working on either of the left-hand tyres -- the ones which suffered the problems in Melbourne -- have been altered.

"One wheelgun guy stayed and one we put another on. But it's a combination of these three people as a team. It's just swapping a bit. The guys who feel most of the pressure, you tell them to do another position for a few races to get their confidence back up. The last thing you want after an event like last week is to have low confidence in anybody because then mistakes will happen again."

The team has also introduced a change to its procedure around fitting new tyres, with a new person added who can override any decision to release a car from the pit box if he sees anything wrong with the stop.

Steiner has been consistent in his view that no individual deserves to be singled out for blame and he said the whole Haas operation is determined to ensure the problem never happens again.

"We got them altogether, and not only the guys who did the pit stop, also the guys who are responsible, the management, because it's all part of the team, and just talked it through. You analyse it and then find a way to do it better for the next race. There's no point to dwell on what happened.

"You cannot fix the past, but you need to look forward and say 'guys, it happened, it shouldn't have happened'. I'm not proud of that, as a team I'm not proud of it. I'm not pointing fingers at one guy. You just need to explain to them 'hey guys, we need to get this better, but as a team', and everyone went straight in to come up with ideas for how we can avoid situations like this going in to here."

After the opening race Steiner said a lack of pit-stop practice had been fundamental in the two mistakes, but the team has only just been able to rehearse its procedures since arriving in Bahrain this week.

"[Not much practice] over the last two weeks, we just started now because you don't have cars. The guys are travelling a lot. The thing is with the pit stop practice is that you need the whole crew together. Some of them came out already here on Saturday.

"We started yesterday, pit stop practice, and tried to do as much as possible until the race. There's a fine balance between doing too much because it's also physical. If people are tired, there's no point to do it because then they are not focused and they just lose their confidence again."

As well as losing a big haul of points, Haas was also fined 10,000 Euros for releasing both cars to the race track in an unsafe condition.