Romain Grosjean, Haas, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Having a circuit at high altitude doesn’t make much sense – Grosjean

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean says the high altitude of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is giving Haas a headache when it comes to cooling their car.

Heat dissipates more slowly at high altitude due to the thinner air, and Mexico City is by far the highest venue on the F1 calendar.

“Cooling-wise I think we’re still very hot on a lot of components and [on Sunday] that’s going to be the challenge,” said Grosjean. “It’s cooler than [Friday], we’ll see what it’s like.”

Both Haas drivers failed to progress beyond Q1 for the second year in a row in Mexico. Grosjean said the team made changes to tackle its cooling problem which “worked, but maybe not as much as we needed.”

“But I think Mercedes have got the same problem. They say they had to turn down their engine and so on.”

“I guess everyone is really,” he added. “It doesn’t make much sense to have a circuit at that altitude.”

Grosjean will have a free choice of which tyre to start on for the race. In response to a question from RaceFans he described how quickly the hyper-softs degraded when he tried them. “On Friday morning on hyper-soft I was seven seconds off the pace after four laps.”

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“We suffered with front graining and we could [in the race] as well,” he added. “But we’re going to try everything we can not to have that problem.

“Low-speed understeer is not our strength. We heat the tyre quite early. Luckily we’re not starting on hyper-soft. Those guys could have some fun.”

Haas’s championship rivals Renault got both their cars into Q3 and will start on hyper-softs, but Grosjean isn’t sure they’ll be able to fight with their rivals.

“I think unfortunately we need to have a very strong race with both cars and they need to have no points. Even though they will be in a difficult situation with the tyres, we’re not the first ones to be behind. So it’s not a great weekend.

“Again a lot can happen tomorrow, you can’t abandon right now. But on paper it’s been difficult all weekend long.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 26 comments on “Having a circuit at high altitude doesn’t make much sense – Grosjean”

    1. The whole point of a world championship is to challenge the cars and drivers under different conditions … Grosjean is far too used to the template based F1 we had for so long.

      1. Agree. Absolutely agree

      2. +1
        If he has a problem with geography he should really take it up with the creator.

    2. Sorry Romain – I totally disagree.
      The altitude alone has injected a degree of chaos to this weekend which (for me anyway) has spiced up the entire race.
      Stop moaning and get on with your job lad! ;P

      1. Couldn’t agree more

    3. Jeez… Are they going to moan about everything that doesn’t work with their car? High altitude is just another challenge, like the heat in Malaysia or the rainy conditions at Interlagos. How can you say it doesn’t make sense? You are full aware that you’re going to race here, do your work…

      This like that really annoy me

      1. the heat in Malaysia

        I agree, I miss the humidity and rain in Malaysia. @fer-no65

    4. Does anyone really care if a Haas makes it to Q2 or not? We’ve seen RBR get their first front row in over 5 years. It’s a cause for celebration after the most lop-sided 5 season in the history of the sport.

    5. All of the above comments are right

    6. Funnily enough the guy from the Low Countries seems to disagree :P

    7. Strangely enough, I would suspect Red Bull Racing fans would argue there needs to be another GP at a race track at high altitude.
      This isn’t a case where the high altitude suddenly appeared from nowhere, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has always been at high altitude and will always be at high altitude.
      Part of many sports is to present a range challenges to the competitors to see who has the best all round ability. If some F1 teams make special allowances in the design of their car for the Mexican GP, and especially if they can do it without undue expense or compromising their performance at every other venue, then I’d say that was a wise decision. Of course, it may be making allowances for Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is costly and would compromise the car’s performance at every other venue, in which case those teams that fall into this category will arrive in Mexico knowing it will be a long weekend with little to show for it.

      1. Yeah, it’s a matter of choice and/or budgetting you would reckon. Haas and Sauber both use Ferrari engine and a lot of Ferrari input, yet one of them is struggling massively here and the other is thriving. Clearly one of them made the decision to have their engine cooled and flowing in such a way that it doesn’t work at altitude, and the other has a bit more wiggle room. Not purely a matter of outright budget, but choice and adaptability.

    8. Grosjean moaning again. It makes perfect sense to have tracks in differing environmental conditions.

    9. 7 seconds off pace after 4 laps? Thats some crazy degradation you have there Romain. Unless they are 10sec quicker per lap you should stay away from them in the race.

    10. Dear Romain G,

      If you can’t stand the heat, you know what you have to do

      Respectfully, Hyoko

    11. If this GP were at any of the several cookie cutter circuits, the conversation would have been dominated by the tyre degradation.

      However, in spite of the degradation, a lot of the talk is also about how the circuit’s characteristics have shaken things up in FP and quali – and I for one am loving it.

      More such circuit-specific variations, I say!

    12. Maybe you should give your seat to a true racing driver, and go participate in E-sport or some other simulated racing where the elements don’t affect you.

    13. Good old Moanin’ Grosjean. His racecraft may be unpredictable but his complaining is always on point.
      He should be happy to have such a good race seat. Far greater talents have been squandered in far worse cars.

    14. While I agree with him saying that every team struggled here, I don’t agree that this is a problem.

      Yes, it is obviously a bigger problem for his team. Much like Monaco for everyone who isn’t in a RB. Or Monza for Everyone that doesn’t have a Ferrari engine.

      Why do people take the time to moan about things that are a disadvantage to their specific situation. HAAS Struggled here. So be it. However if Mexico had played into HAAS’s hands, Grosjean would be saying they should complete all races at altitude.

      It’s just like Max’s “The car is fine” when asked in Q2. But after he lost pole, he complained of “Engine Braking issues”. The silly thing here is that Dan probably suffered the same problems.

      Everything looks bad if you didn’t perform well. It all looks rosy when you are one top. The real trick is to perform well and be on top in all conditions.

      1. @mickharrold

        It’s just like Max’s “The car is fine” when asked in Q2. But after he lost pole, he complained of “Engine Braking issues”. The silly thing here is that Dan probably suffered the same problems.

        Verstappen definitely complained about those problems after his hyper-soft run in Q2 (which he didn’t set a time on, of course).

    15. The comments seem pretty unanimous — racing at altitude is just another challenge to overcome that is part of the F1 championship.

      Sad part is if the Haas worked better than everyone else’s car, Romain would likely be saying the opposite.

    16. I like Grosjean but he has this thing that most drivers have, in trying trying to manipulate the truth to make them look better, just turned up to the max. If respect him so much more if he said “yeah we don’t suit this track”.

    17. I like as many different circumstances as possible in the world championship

    18. Beach Voley should be a better option for Romain, rather than F1.

    19. That the magic of it. To see which equipment is better at different tracks and enviroments.
      The sport is already boring as it is. Moangean wants to make it even worse.

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