Romain Grosjean has said that the rule changes Formula 1 introduced this season to boost overtaking have made it easier to follow cars in front, but the Haas driver says he found passing just as difficult during today’s Australian Grand Prix.
After concerns that fans were switching off due to a lack of on-track action in recent years, F1 introduced a raft of technical changes this year in a bid to increase overtaking and reduce the aero efficiency of cars so that they could follow more closely.
The changes, which included simplified front wings and larger rear wings, were criticised by some teams with some suggesting that the changes were rushed and unlikely to have the desired effect.
Now, following on from today’s Australian Grand Prix, Haas driver Romain Grosjean believes the changes have had some impact, but in Melbourne at least, overtaking was no easier than last year.
“The new rules for the aero, it's easy to follow another car, which is good, but the tyres are still overheating as soon as you push, so it's very, very difficult to overtake,” Grosjean told Motorsport.com.
“If you noticed it took how many laps to pass Giovinazzi, it's just too difficult to push on the tyre, they overheat and that's it. You lose the grip and you cannot get close enough.
“It's good on TV I think but the next step is to get more robust tyres to get better racing.”
Despite qualifying in sixth and running in the points early on, it ended up being another hugely disappointing Australian Grand Prix for Grosjean.
After retiring from fourth place in last year’s race with a loose wheel nut, the Frenchman retired from today’s race with what appeared to be a similar issue, much to team boss Guenther Steiner’s frustration.
“Deja-vu from last year on Romain’s (Grosjean) car it looks like, a pit stop gone wrong,” said Steiner.
“Last year, after Australia, we went 20 races – the rest of the season, without another pit stop issue. We’re a little bit unlucky here, we’ll have to investigate what happened, it’s too early to say [what happened] right now.
“This year we take eight points away from Melbourne, last year we were last going away from Australia. It’s better than in 2018. I think with this car we can be strong in all the remaining 20 races.”
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