Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Give F1 drivers more freedom over tyre set-up, says Grosjean

2019 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean wants Formula 1 to remove restrictions on how drivers can set up their tyres.

The sport’s official tyre supplier imposed lower maximum temperatures on tyre blankets during pre-season testing. When asked about the change by RaceFans, Grosjean said made it “fairly tricky” to get the best out of the tyres.

Since Pirelli became F1’s official tyre supplier eight years ago, new restrictions have been introduced governing how teams may use their tyres. These include minimum tyre pressures and maximum camber angles.

Grosjean wants F1 to do away with the restrictions. “I just feel that we should be able to do what we want,” he said.

“Choose our tyre pressure, choose our camber, choose our blanket temperature. That’s really what I feel from from the past: In Formula Renault, Formula Three, GP2, you can play and adjust to your liking a bit more.

“But 80C blanket temperatures in some places could be tricky.”

Grosjean, who is one of the directors of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, says he hopes to raise the matter at next week’s Australian Grand Prix.

“We haven’t had a chance to meet everyone for the GPDA but I’m sure we will meet in Melbourne and discuss.

“Maybe I’m the only one not being a huge fan of this. In that case as I say I will adapt and I think already we’ve adapted quite well. It’s just that we need to re-learn a lot of things that we had nicely in our pocket.”

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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 “Give F1 drivers more freedom over tyre set-up, says Grosjean”

    1. I’m all for that. Give drivers/engineers a larger box to work with.

    2. That’s all well and good until they start exploding again.

      Wasn’t that the main motivator for the limitations?

      1. Then make better tyres. The whole reason these restrictions are in place is because the tyres are no longer allowed to be as good as they could be.

        Everything the teams were doing in 2013 in terms of cambers, pressures & the tyre swapping was stuff they had been doing for decades without any problems because up until 2011 the tyres were designed to be able to cope with been pushed to/beyond there limits because that is a part of what F1 is meant to be about.

        1. No these rules are in place because of what happened in the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis in 2005 where Michelin pushed their tyre development so far that the tyres had become unsafe.

          Michelin had to advise the seven teams who used their tires — Renault, McLaren, Williams, Toyota, BAR, Sauber and Red Bull — not to race.

          1. MB (@muralibhats)
            7th March 2019, 17:59

            Nope. Unrelated.

          2. nothing was actually changed after the 2005 usgp as that was down to a very specific set of circumstances caused by the unique track surface on the indy oval. bridgestone had data on it from the indy 500 where there firestone brand supplied tyres while michelin had no data on it so were unaware of the increased forces the diamond cut surface was putting onto the tyres.

            i think nascar had some issues on the track surface during a test later in the year and good year had to modify there tyre selecting going into the brickyard 400.

        2. @stefmeister, I think that it is a case that there were fewer instructions from the regulators on what the teams could do, but that does not mean that the tyre manufacturers were not imposing their own restrictions on factors such as tyre pressures or camber settings.

          In a tyre war situation, there is an active disincentive to getting the FIA to set those parameters given that, in doing so, you could be potentially leaking information to your rivals on how your tyres operate. Far better in that instance to go directly to the teams and to talk to them privately, rather than a more public route such as the FIA’s regulations.

          To pick up on another point, there were instances in the past where running the tyres on the opposite side of the car to which they were meant to be used on did in fact cause major problems. In 2005, Alex Wurz was involved in an extremely high speed crash whilst testing at the Paul Ricard circuit when one of his rear tyres exploded on the main straight – that tyre failure was because McLaren had mistakenly swapped the rear tyres to the wrong side because there was no directional sticker fitted on the tyre. https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/wurz-escaping-f1-s-fastest-crash-still-spurs-safety-drive/641956/

          It is incidents like that which make me question whether the assertion that it was “stuff they had been doing for decades without any problems” is entirely true when it appears that it did have the potential to cause problem.

          1. It is incidents like that which make me question whether the assertion that it was “stuff they had been doing for decades without any problems” is entirely true when it appears that it did have the potential to cause problem.

            It was car/circuit/compound/condition/situation dependent & teams knew what they could get away with based on the data they got from testing/practice so it never caused any problems.
            There were compounds which on certain circuits you could run on the wrong side of the car without it causing any problems & that was something which teams did in certain situations where it was a benefit to do so. I think back to 1997 where in certain conditions the Good Year tyres were prone to blistering & it was discovered that running the tyres on the wrong side of the car used the compound a different way which helped prevent the blistering & extend tyre life so it was something the Good Year runners did where required.

            The difference between then & now is that in the past the tyre suppliers knew teams were going to push the boundaries & so went in with tyres designed to withstand been pushed to/beyond there recommended limit. And if in doing so a problem was spotted they would inform the team & work with them to fix it. Pirelli don’t do either, In part due to the quest for degredation there designed to be used in a very specific way & don’t have the same safety margins built into them.
            They also don’t have the same relationship with the teams as previous suppliers have which is why the philosophy in 2013 was to regulate how the tyres should be used rather than Pirelli looking at how they could change the tyres to suit how they were used which is what other suppliers in the past would have done.

            Something else that led to some of the issues is the tyres not been as easy to read as previous suppliers. With say the Bridgestone’s teams knew how far they could push them & drivers had a very good feel for them, The Pirelli’s don’t give you that so there never really sure just how far you can push them & it’s that more than anything else that led to some of the problems in 2013 especially. The tyres looked/felt perfectly fine so teams felt comfortable pushing them & Pirelli’s engineer’s didn’t exactly try all that hard to stop them doing so as there own data was also showing no signs of potential big problems; But at a certain point & without any warning they went pop.

      2. Minimum pressure and cambers, maybe. But tyre blankets at 80C has nothing to do with tyres exploding.

        1. it kind of does in that pressure changes with temperature.

    3. I don’t think it applicable even if every other drivers agree with him. It’s could only happen on very durable and build to last tyre.

    4. I think they should have more freedom with the tyres in general. It’s all become far too restrictive the past decade or so & especially since 2013 when they started enforcing pressures, cambers etc…

      It’s interesting watching races from the 80’s/90’s & seeing how much relative freedom they had compared to today, I mean they could even run different compounds on different corners of the car if they wanted on top of having freedom over what compounds they ran, If they even made a pit stops etc… All felt more interesting, Less predictable & more organic.

    5. Are they still planning to ban tyre blankets? I remember seeing that it was meant to be happening but nothing since.

      1. I read somewhere that it is still on the table for 2021.

    6. I can understand banning tire blankets. I can’t understand mandating a lower temperature.

      It’s like the FIA wants more crashes.

      1. It’s like the FIA wants more crashes.

        So, you do understand.

      2. You really hadn’t thought that through. Surely banning the blankets altogether is potentially more crash prone than just lowering their temperature slightly. 80 degrees is higher than zero last I’ve heard…

        1. Thought it through, posted hurriedly. They’ve been threatening to ban the tire blankets for years, citing cost, because apparently the blankets cost millions of pounds per season. So banning, while asinine, and doing very little to save costs, could at least be claimed as a cost savings.

          But all reducing the blanket temperatures will do is make it more difficult for the drivers to hold onto heat that opening lap, and make crashes more likely.

    7. I get him. Yes for more freedom. I think the 80 deg blanket issue was amplified by the cold conditions in winter testing. I didn’t here anyone else grumbling about it.

      1. @ming-mong Publicly maybe not but privately quite a few of the drivers raised concerns & will do again in the drivers briefing next weekend.

        Remember that a few years ago drivers were ‘asked’ to keep critical comments about the tyres private.
        https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/120630/drivers-ordered-to-stop-slating-pirelli

    8. Wish they’d get rid of the mandatory pitstop!

      1. This for the millionth time! I would rather have sprinklers and fastest lap points than these stupid mandatory pitstops. Pitstops break up the rhythm of the race.

        1. MB (@muralibhats)
          7th March 2019, 23:12

          I think thats why they are there for! Atleast theoretically.

          We definately dont need Rythm in a race in 2019.

          1. @muralibhats +1

            Also I love to see fueling again. I think the technology evolved enough since it was banned.

    9. IMO, the freedom teams should have is to chose compounds freely.

    10. I agree with Grosjean.

      Let the drivers/teams run to the edge. If they step over it ( and you can bet that won’t be often) a tyre blows. No different really to stepping over the limit on a corner and running off track into barriers.

      You can always allow Pirelli to independently monitor tyres and break into the driver communications with a “Romain, your tyre temperatures are critical, cool them down or risk tyre failure in the next 2 laps” if they’re so precious about seeing their product fail.

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