Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Albert Park, 2014

Grosjean ‘only driving at 30 per cent’

2014 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Albert Park, 2014Romain Grosjean says he had to drive well within his abilities at the first race of the season in Australia.

“It is not quite as pleasant as before to be honest,” he said of the new cars. “There is a lot of energy recovery to deal with and optimise.”

“You cannot drive most of the grand prix at 90 per cent as before, sometimes now it is only 30 per cent. We just have to get used to it.

“When you win you love it and when you retire, you don’t. At the moment it feels a little frustrating as a driver but these are the rules, we will adapt and make the best of them.”

Both Lotus drivers retired during the Australian Grand Prix after several problems during practice. Grosjean said the team “still have a lot of work to do” but they gained a lot of information about the car on Sunday, when it ran for longer than it had in testing.

“We learned more about the car in 44 racing laps than during the whole of winter testing,” he said. “The team has done so much work and each of the changes have been in the right direction.”

“It was looking good in the race and then we had the same problem as Pastor [Maldonado]: the MGU-K shaft. But at least there is no mystery about what happened and we are working with Renault Sport F1 to solve the problem.”

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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 “Grosjean ‘only driving at 30 per cent’”

  1. They really need to allow these guys to burn (and carry) more fuel. Unfortunately, these changes couldn’t realistically happen until next year, and I’d guess it’s unlikely to happen then either.

    1. Was RG referring to fuel when he said he was only at 30% , I dont think he was-was he ?

      1. I don’t know what he was referring to specifically, but I’d think being restricted to the 100kg/hr fuel rate is a big part of it. 30% does sound quite drastic though.

        1. I would say that it says a lot more about Lotus, who barely managed to get their car working at all during the whole of the Australian race weekend, than the regulations.

          Bear in mind that Maldonado only managed to complete 41 laps in total across the three practise sessions, qualifying and the race itself whilst Grosjean only managed 66 laps across all three days of running – in other words, Lotus were barely able to complete a race distance over three days.
          By their own admission they barely understand how the car performs on track, having skipped out on the first test and spending most of the next two struggling with reliability and are still struggling with their powertrain package (Ricciardo was the only driver with a Renault powered car that made it to the end of the race).

          When the energy recovery systems on the car do not work (that was the cause of their retirements) and, going by Grosjean’s comments, the team has no idea of what the set up should be, it is not surprising that he is nowhere near being able to explore the performance limits of the car.

          1. (Ricciardo was the only driver with a Renault powered car that made it to the end of the race).

            Both Torro Rossos finished the race :)
            (In the points, too)

  2. I believe Grosjean thinks he was only using 30% of his abilty to race a F1 car as opposed to his ability to just driving to the shops.

    1. @jpowell I disagree. That would then mean these cars are easier to drive if he only “needed” to use 30% of his driving ability… Whereas he was talking about the cars as being rather complicated, meaning that he has to drive at 30% of all-out racing whereas previously he’s had to drive at 90% of this all-out racing.

      At least that is my understanding from the article.

      1. I think actually we agree the headline was about driving at 30% .My comment was about racing at 30%…

      2. If he isn’t driving fast enough, the brain has plenty of time to react to instructions. If he was taking the car to the limit, obviously the brain will be overloaded with the increased workload.

      3. I understand GRO to mean that because of brake-by-wire and other driveability issues with the software/power unit that he had to brake way early on the corners and couldn’t push the car to its limits because it might (would) fail.

  3. Could someone explain the reasoning behind the whole fuel flow limit? I can understand, accept and even appreciate the limit of 100 kg/fuel per race. I cannot, however, understand why the cars are not allowed to use that limit how they see fit.

    1. The FIA’s reasoning for having both is explained here:

      FIA to guard against “extreme engines” in 2014

  4. The BBC were able to get a camera on Grosjean in the garage. I believe it was during qualifiying. It honestly looked as though he were bordering on tears. It wasn’t long before a mechanic stepped infront of the camera to block the view. I’m still not entirely sure what to make of Romain.

    1. @lordhesketh Caught that too. And then had a chuckle at the Lotus PR recovery when it showed RG and two other guys taking that stroll and RG was all smiles.

      Yeah sure, I just qualified 22nd and have a crap car, lots to be smiling about!

    2. He’s gone from being “best of the rest” in the back half of 2013 to “back of the grid” for the start of 2014 and he hasn’t changed teams.

      When you are fighting for your first win and suddenly with a new car you don’t even know if you can compete in Q1, that has to take a toll on any young driver who has the ability to make their mark in the sport.

  5. Oh good. I was beginning to wonder what 2014’s first random percentage number would be. Turns out it’s 30%

    These are the rules, Lotus have built a car that doesn’t work well (in the precise same way they built a car that did work well with the tyres last year). Lotus can either sign this year off as a failure and go straight to 2015, similar to Honda in 2007/8/9, or they can try and turn the year around and get something good out of it. Both options have their pros and cons though..

    1. MGU-K shaft failure, has nothing do with with Lotus. If one assumes Renault supplied its customers adequate information on the cooling requirements for its PU and they designed their cars based on those recommendations, one can not fault Lotus if the PU when operational, has an even greater cooling requirement.
      Renault messed up, Lotus’ only failing would be not starting early enough to catch the different issues the Renault PU exhibits. Contrast that with Mercedes, running four different chassis, and everything works.

  6. I don’t think Grosjean is really qualified to speak about driving this year, he hasn’t done much! He looked on the edge emotionally and driving wise last weekend, not good. But I think in this new era, like in the 80s, driving seemed to have ‘push’ stints and ‘save fuel’ stints, luckily this years tyres are pretty solid, so the drivers are able to push the grip a bit more.

  7. I was sure he was talking about 30% of the race.

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