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Grosjean: New Formula 1 cars are less fun to drive

Mar 23, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

Romain Grosjean AP

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean has said that the new Formula 1 regulations for the 2014 season have made the cars less fun to work with, as drivers are forced to closely judge their pace and ease off for large parts of the race.

Alongside teammate Pastor Maldonado, Grosjean has endured a terrible start to the season as Lotus recovers from the brink of financial collapse in 2013. The team missed the first test in Jerez and has been on the back foot ever since, with both cars qualifying on the back row of the grid in Melbourne and then retiring from the Australian Grand Prix last weekend.

Heading to next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, Grosjean is hopeful of making some progress, but he explained how the cars are more difficult to work with this year.

“It is not quite as pleasant as before to be honest,” the Frenchman explained. “There is a lot of energy recovery to deal with and optimise. You cannot drive most of the grand prix at 90% as before; sometimes now it is only 30%. We just have to get used to it.

“When you win you love it and when you retire, you don’t. At the moment it feels a little frustrating as a driver but these are the rules, we will adapt and make the best of them.”

After a rather hectic weekend in Australia at the opening round of the F1 season, Grosjean is targeting a ‘normal’ schedule in Malaysia as the team looks to move off of the back of the grid.

“We gathered some useful data and we will now improve using that data,” he said. “The aim now is to have a straightforward weekend at Sepang, working through our proper schedule in free practice, then carrying the benefits from that over to qualifying and the race. Sepang is one of my favourite circuits and I’m looking forward to it.”

Deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi issued a rally cry earlier this week as the team tries to find its feet in 2014, and with the highly capable line-up of Grosjean and Maldonado, it is unlikely that Lotus will remain in the doldrums for long.

  1. kurttrail - Mar 23, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    I’m driving the worst car with the worst team with the least amount of testing, so I know that my opinion means that it applies to all cars and all teams!

    Grosjean should STFU! Stop blaming the rules changes for your teams obvious problems. You’ll be lucky if your team is still racing and not bankrupt towards the end of the season.

    • crunge4461 - Mar 23, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      First, if you are right that Lotus will be lucky to be racing next year, well then F1 is in big trouble, cause if they lose Lotus they will be losing Caterham too, the fact that the second best team last year was on a knife edge economy should be a massive worry for F1.

      However, what Grosjean said about drivers have to drive slower for parts of the race, well if that does apply across the board it is unfortunate. F1 is a sprint and people watching want to see drivers pushing all the time.

      • kurttrail - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:30 AM

        At least Caterham had enough money for testing, and met payroll. Lotus can’t claim that.

        And drivers have been complaining that they cannot race at full speed since Pirelli tires were reintroduced to F1. Nothing new to see here, except that the excuse has changed.

        The only thing keeping Lotus in F1 is having Pastor’s backers paying for his ride.

  2. techmeister1 - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    Actually as much as I don’t care for Grosjean all that much, the new cars are not that much fun to drive from what a number of drivers have indicated. Lotus is in trouble as a team as they have too small a budget and team now that they lost 20% of their people.

    The racing will get even worse when they have to run a fuel economy race. I can hear Hammy whining on the radio now about going as slow as he can drive… I do believe however that the teams can manage the power and fuel mileage so that the better car/team still wins. That is part of the challenge. If the fuel quantity was rediculously too low that would be a different deal.

  3. worknman24hours - Mar 23, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    The key statement of the 2014 Formula One season for me came direct from Ron Dennis who said;

    ” These are the most expensive race cars ever built for ANY racing series.”

    It is no wonder that Lotus is behind the curve when they could’nt even pay their drivers as well as other people promptly last year.

    Now Formula One belongs firmly to those teams with the deepest pockets to build the most fantastically complicated multiphase engine setups ever devised.

    The current formula is moving Formula One to the inevitable situation where we will have but one or two engine multiphase setups in the sport field wide.

    There simply will not be the money to have it any other way.

    Buy your kit and run it for what – six races?

    I firmly expect some teams to tell their drivers that their kits have worn out but for the last race scheduled for that engine,they must baby that kit until it can be replaced in line with the current engine use rules.

    We are in this now-so this season should be very interesting in just how hard the cars are driven as the races pan out position wise.

    I expect the FIA to start penalizing teams for drivers not pushing the cars till the end of the race making the races a fun fest of two cars at the front just running past everyone.

    You know, the silver ones.

  4. photog645 - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    I guess that Grosjean is right on the money when he says that the new F1 cars are not much fun to drive. He has crashed his so many times, I am sure it has not been fun for him at all! However, he is consistent; he having been involved in NUMEROUS crashes throughout his F1 career! One of the things that is REALLY true, however, is that the driver’s really cannot race the cars as a result of “fuel management”! The jerk, or jerks, that thought this one up should be run out of the racing business and never be allowed to return! When in the HELL did F1 get to be a “Green” series and stop being a racing series! I have followed F1 since the late 1950′s and I am just about turned off to the point that I am going to stop watching the them! Cookie cutter cars as a result of onerous rulemaking, fuel restrictions, a single supplier tire policy that is absolutely outrageous, and gimmickry that does absolutely NOTHING to advance the sport as a racing series! And Vettel was right on the money when he said that the new F! cars sound like vacuum cleaners!

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