Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

New cars not as tough to drive as feared – Grosjean

2017 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean has said Formula One’s new generation of cars aren’t as physically demanding to drive as was feared.

The combination of increased downforce and more durable tyres has increased the strain on drivers but not as much as expected, Grosjean explained.

“I didn’t feel too bad,” said Grosjean when asked about pre-season testing. “But let’s put it this way, if I’d been in the same condition as I was last year, I would have been destroyed.”

“We pushed really hard in our training. We may actually have overdone it. It’s not as bad as we thought it would be.”

“The cars are going to be challenging and some of the races this year are going to be epic, especially where it’s warm with a high-speed track, it’ll be very hard on the body. I like the challenge and I like to think that we can always get more prepared and better trained. It felt good as we did the proper training. The cars are much harder to drive than last year.”

Grosjean also revealed the team is yet to explore the limits of its 2017-specification Ferrari power unit.

“It felt pretty good,” he said. “Ferrari has made a good step. The drive-ability was very good.”

“We haven’t yet had qualifying maximum power, which you only get at the racetrack, but I’ve got a good feeling that this engine is going to be nicely pushing us on the straight.”

The VF-17 is “a pretty sexy car” said Grosjean. “”It’s got a lot of potential which we haven’t unlocked yet.”

“It’s a good baseline, though, and so far it feels pretty good to drive. There are a few things I’d like to improve and make better for the first few races, but I think it’s a car that should give us some good races.”

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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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19 comments on “New cars not as tough to drive as feared – Grosjean”

  1. nelson piquet
    17th March 2017, 17:26


    1. “The cars are much harder to drive than last year.”

  2. i don’t get why many feel that the cars need to be really tough & difficult to drive just because its how it was in the past.

    it’s like so many things recently, everyone wants to go backwards & they feel that in the past the cars were harder to drive & somehow that was better so they need to go back to that. people seem to think that cars that are tougher physically or whatever will reward the best drivers, yet in reality there is no evidence to support that & it will almost certainly make zero difference to the running order.

    if you want to change something be it making cars harder to drive, going to a different engine format or whatever then do it for the right reasons & not simply because its what it was like 20-30+ years ago…. look forwards & not backwards!

    1. Very simple, people want to see drivers earn their money and be able to show why they are the best. It is simply not interesting to watch drivers drive effortlessly. It would give the impression that anyone could do it.

      Also if you identify the 3 basic performance differentiators as chassis, power unit and driver, in this era the driver is arguably the least important factor. Having cars quick enough to challenge and exhaust drivers will somewhat increase the emphasis on having a good driver rather than a merely average one.

    2. Current drivers could easily drive the old cars from a physical atandpoint as they are in another league of fitness now. Even last year the gvforce was far more than 80’s or 90’s, drivers in the shape of Mansell in his prime would struggle to maintain performance through a race with 2016 cars.

    3. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      17th March 2017, 21:16

      Personally I’d say all cars regardless of spec/capabilities are very hard to drive on the limit.

    4. The cars should not be both physically and driving-wise difficult because they were in the past. The cars should be physically and driving-wise difficult because this is the top class of motorSPORT. These guys are supposed to be top level athletes who are able to do the almost impossible and wrestle these cars through a 1 hour 40 minute race going flatout. The more physical the cars the more difficult this is which means the more spectacular the event.

      Everybody remembers senna getting out of his car in brazil and having lost so much power that he barely was able to lift the trophy. Quite the contrast to 2016 when the drivers barely were tired after 2 hour race despite not even training that hard because it was better to get rid of the muscle to save weight.

      Even something like a f3 car is trememdously physical to drive. I’m willing to bet that majority of people here could not do 10 laps without feeling completely exhausted. F1 should be two steps harder because it is supposed to be the class of cars that only the best can take to the limits and keep it there for the duration of grand prix.

      It is not just the ideology of it being difficult but being physical also can make the races more interesting. If a driver is not fit enough his speed will get slower towards the end of the gp, he makes more mistakes and is less able to analyze his driving. This makes drivers who can do all of those things even more impressive. It makes the last laps of the race more interesting and it adds a whole new aspect to f1 that has been missing for years now: endurance.

      1. Yes well said and what i have been saying for a long time.
        why don`t People understand what f1 is all about ??
        unfortunately there are too many IGNORANT “fans” commenting
        “oh no faster cars means bad racing and speed does not matter”

  3. “New cars not as tough to drive as feared”

    …and then in the article:

    ” if I’d been in the same condition as I was last year, I would have been destroyed.”

    1. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

  4. “to drive”.

    We want to see Grand Prix racers.

  5. Well they still have power steering so those aged over 20-25 aren’t surprised.

    No power steering and a manual gear shift and clutch would have these guys crying all the way into a bit of tarmac run off,

  6. Has anyone ever heard Vettel talk about a training regime? He’s the only one on the grid who looks and seems like he just shows up and drives.

    But who knows what extremely contradictory links you can provide to correct me…

    1. Yes, he talked extensively quite often (at least on Finnish TV) about his training and his relationship with his trainers/physios during his Red Bull career.

      1. @kaiie Which might be correlated to Vettel having exlusively finnish physios/trainers, after Tommi Pärmakoski and Heikki Huovinen he is now on his thrid, Antti Kontsas.

  7. Grojean still has a pencil neck though. Vettel also looks just as slim as he always has. Just compare the size of Alonso’s neck now compared to back in his championship years, it’s half the width (Raikkonen, Massa and Button also had massive thick necks back then too). They had to have trained harder then right? Maybe this was before driver weight become so important?

    1. It was before driver weight became critical – that only came in with KERS in 2009 (which was very heavy back then, with no weight compensation. The constant talk of KERSed drivers having to lose weight sparked an idea of extreme weight loss being advantageous even among teams that weren’t planning on using it at the time). Tall drivers have had to worry about weight loss for decades, but for the rest it’s really been an 8-year phenomenon.

    2. Alonso trained for a Mclaren.. so his neck is the least of his problems.

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