Grosjean still learning how to handle new systems

2014 Australian Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean says he is still getting to grips with the complex new systems involved in driving the new generation of F1 cars.

With brake-by-wire, complicated new energy recovery systems and other settings associated with the new engines, the drivers are busier than ever at the wheel of this year’s cars.

“It’s a little bit challenging at the moment to be honest,” Grosjean admitted ahead of the first race of the season. “We’re changing settings sometimes four or five times a lap which is a little bit too much.”

“However, it was the same first time out with KERS back in 2009 (at Monza). It was a disaster – I remember we had to change the maps around five times in at least five corners.

“It’s just part of adapting to the new technology; it’s hard to get everything working together immediately. But it makes it more rewarding when we do get everything working as we want.”

Grosjean has set his sights low for the start of the season as Lotus only completed minimal running in pre-season testing.

“The aim is to finish the race and maybe score points,” he said.

“We’re not yet in the place we want to be competitively, but we will be there to compete and you never know what could happen with everyone else too. I don’t think any team can say that they are where they want to be heading to the start of the season.

“Yes, we’re not in a nice situation but it doesn’t mean that it’s game over. We’ll try to score as many points at every opportunity during the season.”

2014 Australian Grand Prix

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Image © Lotus/LAT

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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...

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17 comments on “Grosjean still learning how to handle new systems”

  1. The more i hear about most teams and drivers not yet being on top of things, makes me feel more and more excited to see how they get along into the season on their learning curve!

    1. I don’t feel that way as I feel some of these drivers are just putting in early excuses as to why they suck over the coming season. Can u imagine Sutil getting beat by Gutierez? It doesn’t take a genius what his excuse would be in that scenario!

      1. Lets be reasonable here, its not like these drivers went on vacation all winter and forgot how to drive F1 cars. No, this is a real and reasonable statement that they dont really know how well they will do compared to others, and that history can offer no guidance because the Cars, Sporting Rules, and Technical Rules have ostensibly all changed. In some ways, every F1 driver has the hesitance and uncertainty of a rookie.

        This can be nothing but good for us as spectators. Everything is new, everything is indicative, and it is the ONE thing that F1 insiders and outsiders get to share equally, the experience of observing the outcomes of this reshuffle, and calculating for ourselves who is on top, and who is not.

  2. This is going to be a wild ride!

    Keith, You should graph the results of question #1 where we were all guessing how many cars would finish the race this weekend!

      1. Funny that, I’ve been telling a few people that I’d be surprised if more than 6 cars finish in Australia.
        I’m actually interested how many will break down in qually?

        1. @johnnik I think that’s a good point. Will we see some teams (mainly Renault runners) not even try too hard to get into Q2 given that reliability is more likely to get them some points than going for a high starting position at the risk of not even making the race.

          1. I hadn’t thought that much about it, but it could be a risky strategy, I believe the 107% rule is still enforceable…

  3. I think I would be both shocked and disappointed if the drastic new regs DIDN’T throw a huge curve-ball at the teams and drivers. My goodness can you imagine if all the drivers were saying ‘easy-peasy’?

  4. I see Grosjean found Kimi’s leftover sunglasses at Enstone.

  5. Adaptability and understanding haven’t been Grosjean’s strong points to date in his career.

    Hopefully this doesn’t signal a return to the driver who couldn’t keep up with his surroundings a couple of years ago, or who didn’t put in the prep work in 2009. Lotus need a strong, reliable driver in hard times and that’s definitely not Maldonado.

    1. Nick (@grosjean0817)
      11th March 2014, 17:17

      You seem to be far off in your assessments. I think Romain will be fine, I don’t know about the car.

      1. Have you forgotten the “one lap nutcase”? The guy who spun his car when it was on an empty track at low speed? Who spent half the year waiting to get into the car and then couldn’t control it because he hadn’t put in the training?

        He was excellent in the last half last year, but before that he was a disaster area who crashed practically every other race.

      2. I think he is spot on. Considering Grosjean’s career and specifically it’s duration by now, I would absolutely avoid word “learn” in it’s any iterations, if I was his manager. He sure had plenty of time to do that.

  6. Grosjean has been pretty pessimistic all through testing. It’s a pretty bad sign, the only sign we really have on how bad things are right now for Lotus. Maldonado we (well, me atleast) don’t really listen too, as he has no idea how good to car is, only how good it feels (last year at Williams he thought he had a super car).

  7. It’s a tough life changing settings on the steering wheel. I bet Senna and Prost would rather that, than operating a stick shift while going near 200mph… lol

  8. How many times per lap are Mercedes and Williams changing settings?…Maybe Lotus are just doing it wrong.

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