Grosjean questions new tyre blanket rules after spin
Romain Grosjean has questioned the decision to drop Formula 1 rear tyre blanket temperatures for 2019 after spinning off on an out lap during pre-season testing in Barcelona.
The Haas driver was one of several drivers to have moments in Monday’s cold conditions, with Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg also spinning.
Rear blanket temperatures have been dropped to 80°C this year, while fronts have stayed at 100°C. Pirelli experimented with different combinations at the Abu Dhabi test in November before making the final call.
“I think we are three who spun on our out lap,” said Grosjean. “We’ve got new tyre blanket temperatures, at 80°, and when the track is four degrees, it just doesn’t work, to be fair. In the afternoon it was still a struggle to get the first timed lap.
“I don’t really know why we went so low in blanket temperature, I don’t think it’s the right thing, and could be tricky on some occasions. That was the thing, I just went on the throttle and the rear was facing forwards at one point.”
He added: “We already know the Pirelli tyre has quite a narrow window, and if we go out at 80° behind the Safety Car, we'll find ourselves at 50° quite quickly, and that's when it becomes tricky.”
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Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola said that the change resulted from the fact that last year teams often preferred lower rear temperatures as they tried to optimise pressures.
“We tested 80°/80° in Abu Dhabi and the reasons we did that was to see if the warm up was still acceptable,” said Isola. “But the running pressures are a lot more in line with the starting pressure starting at 80°.
“Talking to the teams in general they were worried about possible issues with the front warm up. Because the front is a bit more tricky they had to put some energy on the front tyre.
“Nobody is worried about the rear tyres – last year we saw in a lot of races that the out lap was very slow in order to keep the rear temp very low, or some teams they were removing the blankets in advance in order to cool down the tyres, so we decided to go to 80°.”
Isola explained that lower temperature in turn has an impact on pressures, adding: “With 80° we have the opportunity to give them lower prescription in terms of pressure.
"If you compare the prescription compared to Barcelona last year we have 2psi less in the rear tyres, and this is considering the expected performance of the cars and the 80° prescriptions. That is all in the direction to avoid or reduce the overheating.
“Also the working range of the new compounds is slightly different to last year in order to reduce the overheating.”
Grosjean’s Haas team boss Gunther Steiner says that drivers will quickly adapt to the change.
“It caught him out, but like everything we get used to it, and find a way around it," said Steiner. "We’re unhappy for one or two races or one or two tests, and then we just get used to it and move on, because we have to.
"If Pirelli thinks that’s what we need to do, we need to learn not to be too complicated about everything anybody changes.”
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-19 Ferrari.
Photo by: Andy Hone / LAT Images
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