Strategy switch spoiled Grosjean’s race

2013 Australian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Melbourne, 2013A change of strategy was the reason why Romain Grosjean finished so far behind his team mate in the Australian Grand Prix.

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said the team originally planned to run Grosjean on a two-stop strategy, which team mate Kimi Raikkonen used to win the race.

“We had decided on a two-stop strategy before the race, even for Romain,” said Boullier. “Unfortunately, when he got stuck in traffic he changed strategy otherwise we could have had a strong result from both cars.”

The Lotus drivers started together on row four but while Raikkonen gained three places in the first two laps Grosjean lost as many. Grosjean made his second pit stop on lap 19 while stuck behind Jenson Button and Paul di Resta, while Raikkonen took the lead of the race by delaying his second pit stop until lap 34.

Grosjean believed he had a fault on his car during the race: “It?s a shame as everything looked positive after qualifying in the morning, but in the race something felt wrong with my car.”

“I sat down with my engineers to analyse where the problem came from and we hopefully will be able to perform better in the future. The car felt so good at times over the weekend, but then at other times it wasn?t where I wanted it to be.

“It meant that the race felt long and pretty difficult for me. We know that Albert Park can be a tricky circuit to understand and the weather certainly didn?t help us.

“It was very frustrating and I?m disappointed for the team and for myself as I wanted to start the season with a strong result. But I?ll sit with the engineers and work out how best to improve for the race ahead, and we?ll work hard to achieve the maximum, as always. If the car is capable of being on the podium then I want to be there.”

2013 Australian Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Australian Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Lotus/LAT

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

51 comments on “Strategy switch spoiled Grosjean’s race”

  1. Well they got stuck in the traffic because of his poor start…shows how important off-the-line starts are..

    1. @wsrgo You have to wonder whether he was being extra-cautious at the start after last year.

      1. @keithcollantine Yeah that’s probably it. Shame the guy can’t do both things-be quick and aggressive, but not crash into others….he’s really wasting God-given talent(yes, I watched him in junior formulae)..

        1. @wsrgo Hopefully his confidence will increase.

          1. @andrewtanner I hope so too, but I have a feeling the gap b/w him and Raikkonen will increase till then. And then the pressure will increase..

        2. These drivers work their entire lives to become the best in the world. They improve their skills from an early age. I think it’s a bit insulting to say that they are somehow “given” all their skills, and if they aren’t as good as their competitors then they are “wasting” what was “given” to them. If they are “wasting” anything, it’s their own hard work.

          1. I’d rather possess an innate talent (associated with hard work) rather than having worked hard for something. Natural ability is much more sexy and exciting than being trained.

          2. @victor

            Natural ability is much more sexy and exciting than being trained.

            Myths are often sexy, some even romantic, but they are myths nonetheless. I don’t believe in “innate talent”. It’s not appealing to me at all. I see it as a pretty idea to make lazy people feel better about themselves. “If only I had a talent” sounds better that “if only I worked harder”. I think that natural predisposition is a tiny, negligible factor. I respect drivers not because of their “talent”, but because of their hard work, skill and dedication.

          3. So you’re saying that if I had trained as much as Hamilton I would be as quick as him? Or to give it another twist, is Vettel tripple WDC because he has trained the most?

          4. Certain lazy people don’t have to feel better about themselves, because they’re talented. Who wants to work harder? That’s just crazy.

            Being lazy is a luxury only talented people can afford. And the be a good, productive, happy lazy person requires a lot of talent.

          5. I am 100% with you on that one.
            That talent thing is so over-rated. I mean, except in certain very specific areas (you won’t be high jump world champion if you are 5 foot short), i believe anything can be trained and learnt.

          6. @maroonjack – I agree with what you’re saying to an extent however saying that anyone could be in F1 if they worked hard enough at it is just wrong. The world’s best drivers aren’t in the position they are because of working the hardest.
            Let me post a question – if we go with the concept that talent is directly propotional to how much effort you put in, how the hell is Kimi Raikkonen a world champion!?

          7. I think ‘natural talent’ is better described as aptitude. Some people, for certain reasons, be it their up bringing or their hard work, or a combination of the two can become so in-tune with their abilities that it becomes second nature. The best drivers just have the ability to use all of their abilities at once to provide amazing performances.

            For some, this is enough. You can see that Kimi Raikkonen can really maximise his abilities because of his aptitude. However, when you look at Vettel and Alonso, it’s easy to see that they have the same aptitude, but their dedication is incredible. They stay late with the engineers, they request information, they want to know everything. It’s hard to argue that the combination of both of these is why these two drivers are considered the best drivers on the grid.

            You can go through the list and almost see the potential of each driver:
            – Hamilton: Again, the same ability and aptitude, but to me lacks the intense focus on other things away from the driving, especially working with engineers to the same extent as Seb and Fernando.
            – Grosjean: Although he’s fast, you can see in his all or nothing approach that he can’t quite use everything at once.
            – Button: Exceptional people skills, an extensive knowledge of the car (as was a necessity when he joined Williams), but can’t always work with a car and use his ability to turn a quick lap in a car that doesn’t give a good feeling. However, arguably has the best sense of feeling grip, or the lack of it and base his speed on that, which makes him so formidable in changeable conditions.
            – Schumacher: Almost a little like Grosjean. Great, except when he comes into a mid-pack position, and he sometimes over-extends his reach (More so post-comeback).

            Maybe this long post wasn’t quite necessary.

          8. @jamiefranklinf1 No, it made it all clear for me. You’re right, aptitude has more scope to be used in this case than talent.

          9. @JamieFranklinF1
            I think you read a bit too much into the perceived characteristics of the drivers. I would not be so fast to describe kimi as undedicated simply because he looks like so in TV. What happens with drivers and engineers is almost totally unknown to us fans and I would bet my hat that if you use the TV/media presentation of the driver as some kind of guide as how good some drivers are with engineers and “dedication” the guide will be extremely wrong.

            I am not saying there isn’t aptitude and there isn’t dedication in addition to that (among many other things) but you really should not assign those values to a driver just based on your personal opinion. Because the nicest guy may not be the best guy to work with social skills with the engineers just like the most uninterested looking driver in a press conference may not be the most uninterested driver in engineer meeting.

        3. @wsrgo

          In fact, he told to french media, he nearly crashed into some car at turn 3 in lap 1 and he almost said something like: “It was close, I thought I was about to collide with someone, like last year.”

          Anyway, he know what he has to do!

          1. I don’t think there’s much doubt that certain people have an inherent natural ability over certain others. I personally have a much better natural aptitude for intelligence-related activities over those that require quick response times and the ability to focus on multiple aspects of your environment (so in essence I’d make a much better F1 designer than an F1 driver!).

            I think it is part of your generic make-up which “natural” abilities you have – from a neurological standpoint you may be able to “nurture” specific talents to an extent as the human brain goes through much development in the early stages of life, so perhaps it could be argued that there is an element of your nurture in the matter, but people are to an extent limited by their DNA.

        4. @maroonjack @victor @flig I think this is a fascinating area of discussion. Matthew Syed, a former Olympic-level table tennis player turned journalist, has written some persuasive articles on the subject of ‘natural talent’ versus practice. Here’s one of them and a brief extract:

          A ground-breaking investigation of British musicians, for example, found that the top performers had learnt no faster than those who reached lower levels of attainment. Hour after hour, the various groups improved at almost identical rates. The difference was simply that top performers had practiced for more hours. Further research has shown that when top performers seem to possess an early gift for music, it is often because they have been given extra tuition at home by their parents.

          1. Confusing “musical ability” with “learning technical skills” is a horrible mistake to start off with, and usually the preserve of teenage amateur heavy metal guitarists.

            It’s perfectly possible to have an affinity for music that stretches far beyond playing a particular note cleanly on a certain piece of equipment.

            You could teach me to play the piano but I’m not going to then go out and write Beethoven’s fifth.

            The article proves little or nothing.

          2. @keithcollantine I’ve read similar articles before; the following being very interesting (although that is not the actual article I read):

            To argue (as the Telegraph article does) that some individuals start with better predispositions than others is essentially claiming that there is such a thing as talent. The article merely says that in the modern world nurture matters more in overriding natural differences.

            Natural predispositions, however, have to be groomed as well – had Einstein never been in a maths class he wouldn’t have come up with the theory of relativity. The fact that individual brain structures are largely identical, they do nonetheless differ. Hypothetically, if there were no difference the human brain (or whatever you require to be successful in a field) could be reduced to an a priori instrument – one could know what exactly is necessary to groom someone to be successful in a field.

            Further, to argue that some people are more hard-working than others surely, to some extent, depends on their natural constitution as well. You cannot explain feature X through feature Y if both belong to A. If you do with Z you face an infinite regress.

            Essentially, assuming two individuals have had the same exposure to training, there must be a differentiating factor between them external to it. You could argue that they in fact would be the same, but I beg to differ; even if I had the same amount of training as Einstein, I don’t think I would have the same special, temporal and numerical awareness as he did. Nor would I be in Formula 1 if I had the same amount of hours on track as Hamilton (I know that for a fact given my experience of karting in the rain…).

            Having said that, I know nothing about science whatsoever, so someone who knows something rather than makes stuff up on the spot please enlighten me.

          3. Thinking about Maradona or Romario. For sure there were football players working everyday harder than them, but with modest results compared to this two football legends.
            On the other side Ayrton Senna’s often told that when he drove for the first time under the rain it was an absolutely disaster. So he trained himself in this condition to achieve his magic sensibility in wet conditions.
            I think that a good one can have worked hard or be a talented lazy guy, while a champion is a mix of five different things: talent, work, physical predisposition, fortune and right opportunities.

          4. Reminds me of the Polgars, Keith. I like Matthew Syed from what I’ve seen of him on tv.

          5. That’s really interesting. I guess it all comes down to dedication, which is easy to see in the likes of Alonso and Vettel.

            It also kind of explains Button’s ability in changeable conditions. He spent time in his youth having to run slicks in wet conditions, whereas others would have been able to pay for wet tyres, which has made him apt at feeling the grip level in such conditions, because he’s had more time using those tyres in those conditions.

          6. Yes, we can go on and on to debate this. However, I strongly believe that a donkey will never be a matter how hard you train it. A lazy horse will never win anything, it must be trained hard…but first, it must be a horse.

          7. After spending six hours on go-kart track for three years five days a week. I know for sure that training hard is not the only answer. You got to applaud the dedication and attention to detail some of the guys have while they trying to understand how to go faster, but when after two years of them trying to catch your times, you jump in to their kart and go half a second faster on a second lap – they are great, but not in this area.

        5. @wsrgo: I haven’t followed him jr formula but I really want to know how good he was, can you sum up his exploits in short? I’d like to know why this guy is so hyped.

          1. @aish Certainly, I’d be glad to. He started by winning the Swiss Formula Renault 1.6 in his first year of car racing(2003). The following year he did a double campaign of the French Formula Renault 2.0(7th) and Eurocup FR2.0(15th). In 2005, he won the French Formula Renault 2.0, and finished a steady ninth in his first outing at the Macau GP. In 2006, he moved up to the F3 Euroseries, where he won on his second try in 2007. In 2008, his first year in GP2, he finished 4th behind veterans Pantano, Senna and di Grassi. He also won the GP2 Asia series. In 2009, he was in a close battle with Nico Hulkenberg for the GP2 championship when Renault called him up to replace Piquet. In 2010, Grosjean crushed his opposition in Auto GP to win the ch’ship, combining it with a GT1 campaign(winning 2 races) and a few races in GP2. He made a full-time return to the series in 2011, and started on a high note by winning the GP2 Asia series. In the main series, he was never opposed, winning the ch’ship easily.

      2. All too likely, lets just hope he can get back to racing with all his heart soon.

      3. Romain was definitely over cautious into turn 1. I remember seeing the overhead shot of the start of the race and you could clearly see how over cautious he was. It’s a shame that it is affecting him a bit psychologically but it’s good if he learns from that as he is a great talent

    2. This is exactly why I changed my mind from Kimi to Webber for Driver otw, fighting back to within 2 places behind Vettel after being buried at the start and having no Kers for 20 laps, but I don’t expect any one else to agree.

      1. actually 2drivers not places.

      2. @hohum – I think that might be founded on the fact nobody really paid much attention to Webber – we saw him fall back at the start and assumed immediately he’d have another uninspiring drive. That said though, Vettel didn’t have the best of races (he was very consistent and did well with the circumstances but I wouldn’t say he was the best) so the fact Webber was arguably not as good relative to him over the weekend prevents me from considering him DOTW.

        I went for Kimi personally, but Jules Bianchi was fantastic also I thought – no way would you think from watching him it was his first race weekend.

        1. @Vettel1, As you say, I thought Mark had screwewd up again, under pressure like Helmut says, but when I found out the problems he had I could imagine how gutted he felt and how much extra wear he had to put on those tyres pushing to get back through the traffic with no Kers for 20 laps and then only having Massa and Hamilton between him and Seb on the podium was a pretty good job, but yes, it was a sympathy vote.

    3. funny, James Allison claimed that he overstressed the rear tyre.

      How is that being over catious??? LOL

    4. Agree, bad start contributed the most to the result.

  2. Didn’t he get overtaken by perez during the first 4 laps? I think his tyres were already worn out and that is why he made an early pitstop, not because of getting stuck in traffic.

  3. According to James Allison, it was a matter of getting the setup right. The marginal is so small that if you get it wrong, and its game over.

    He can just use Kimi ‘s setup for Malaysia gp, lets see how it goes from there.

    it wont be easy, kimi prefer oversteer in term of balance while romain prefer the opposite spectrum.

    1. Adds: James Allison told finnish press that Kimi is harder on front tyres while romain is harder on rear.

      Kimi mentioned the same thing on the press after the win that he had no problem making the rear last as long as the front follow suit. Hence, they made setup change to improved the front tyre deg, and BANG, the win.

      Romain might have to do the same with his rear tyres configuration to minimize the deg.

    2. Interestingly if you go back to the Friday practice data it does look like Grosjean had the potential to run his tyres as long as Raikkonen, you can see it in the stint graph:

      1. yea, still, the condition was much hotter on friday!!

    3. That’s some interesting info, taking in consideration what Kimi said after Melbourne it make sense that Roman would struggle a bit more with the car, Kimi said that the main worry were the fronts, therefore you would be better suited with oversteer rather than the opposite.

    4. This is exactly what affected Kimi in 2008. The car was inherently understeering as Massa likes….. well, old history.
      It will be interesting what Lotus do as far as car development is concerned. Will they opt for the suspension that Kimi wants or his teammate’s choice?.

  4. I wonder whether Grosjean is quite sensitive to car setup. Also last year there were a couple of races where he was off the pace. And I suspect this year’s Pirelli tyres can easily exacerbate the problem: if you don’t have a balance in the car you are comfortable with, then you can’t make the tyres last, and if you can’t make the tyres last you can be made to look very silly.

    So I agree with @sandy, if he wanted to do a two-stopper, he shouldn’t have pitted after five laps. And if the only reason for his poor result was traffic, why didn’t he overtake anyone in a car good enough to win? It just looks like Bouillier is trying to explain away Grosjean’s disappointing performance for the outside world. I hope he can sort out the car setup for Malaysia, and have a good race there.

    1. Dont discount the accelerated wear factor on the tyres when in heavy traffic.

  5. According to the haters, the DRS makes it “impossible for the other driver to defend” and “makes passing trivial” if the cars are even reasonably close in performance.

    I assume Grosjean’s was broken then, because he was within drs distance for most of the race, the McLaren was much slower, and Kimi was able to overtake faster cars without it on the medium tyres…

    The alternative explanation is that Grosjean wasn’t fast enough on the day, and DRS isn’t the Deus Ex Machina that some people claim it is. Surely that can’t be true… can it?

      1. @keithcollantine I don’t usually look out for it, to be honest. I did see a few drs passes, but whether it was above or below average is a good question (and feeds into the argument that drs, properly set up, isn’t a “free pass” system).

        Even if drs was less effective, the lotus was whole seconds faster last weekend, so he should have been able to get past. The multiple explanations from the camp so far point (to me at least) towards “driver couldn’t get it done”. Bit like hearing Button complain of “massive front locking”

      2. Did the FIA ever get the DRS control system running ?

        1. @hohum The contingency described here was in force throughout the weekend:

          FIA telemetry glitch causes DRS problems

  6. Gosh I love F1! I’m so happy that the season’s started! My life was as hollow as an empty eggshell w/o Formula 1 during the winter!

Comments are closed.