Grosjean – No plans for extreme set-up despite fears over straightline speed
Romain Grosjean insists that Lotus will not attempt to counteract their expected lack of straight-line speed this weekend by running less downforce, after the team’s similar attempts backfired horribly last year.
Grosjean was third in both practice sessions on Friday ahead of last year’s Canadian Grand Prix, before a late change in wing set-up instigated by his Lotus team in a hunt for straight-line speed saw him qualify just 19th, dropping to the back of the grid once a previous grid penalty was applied.
Despite similar misgivings over straight-line speed this year, owing to the relative lack of grunt of the team’s Renault power unit in comparison to that of its Mercedes and Ferrari powered rivals, Grosjean is certain that the team will not try a similar strategy to that which it employed in 2013.
“That’s what we did last year and it didn’t work at all,” explained the Frenchman. “It was good on Friday, I was P3 or P5 at the end of FP2, and then we said ‘okay our top speed is not good enough’ and we tried a new wing set-up that we didn’t know and it was a bad choice.
“We know what we can do, we know which extreme we decided to go, that’s the least downforce we are going to go for, and if it’s good we keep it and if it’s not good we have to compromise a bit.
“I think you learn from the mistakes in the past.”
Grosjean, second with Lotus in Canada in 2011, has now scored points in both of the previous races, with back-to-back eighth place finishes in Spain and Monaco, following a troubled start to the season for the Lotus team.
However, the 28-year-old does not expect to be able to add to his burgeoning points tally this weekend owing to the nature of the high-speed nature of the circuit, which is completely at odds with Lotus’ 2014 car – the E22.
“You never know before you start the weekend, but on paper it’s going to be very difficult against the Mercedes power,” he added.
“[You are] always trying to get rid of some downforce, but it’s tricky in the corners, but on the paper there’s a big advantage for Mercedes.
“Renault I know have been working hard, we have been trying to improve our car on our side, what we have seen in Monaco with the suspension and mechanical grip which was not as good as we thought.
“There are new wings for this level of downforce so hopefully they will work pretty well – but at the end of the story the laptime difference will be between the hairpin and the chicane.
“I think it will be the [lack of] top speed [which will put us at a disadvantage] because the more power you have the more wing you can put on the car and the easier it is for everything.
“At the end of the story, it is always a trade-off, but maybe it’s a bit tricky [here].”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic
Dan Paddock is an FIA accredited freelance motorsport and Formula 1 journalist and the Grand Prix Editor of Richland F1. Dan joined the site in July 2013 as a Staff Writer, fresh off the back of completing a master’s degree in journalism. Following a promotion, Dan has since gone on to represent Richland F1 at four grands prix. Aside from Richland F1, Dan also writes for Rumble Strip News, as well as maintaining his own modest blog.