Haas’ Romain Grosjean says he doesn’t think the change to lower tyre blanket temperatures is doing the drivers any favours as there is so little grip on their outlaps as a result.
The Haas driver was one of the drivers to spin on an outlap on the first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona. While he was able to continue without incident, others weren’t so lucky. Kimi Raikkonen lost the rear of his Alfa Romeo through Turn 5 on his first outlap on Monday morning, which resulted in a brief session stoppage as he and the car were recovered to the pits.
Tuesday saw more of the same. Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon had a mildly embarrassing start to his competitive F1 career as he lost the rear of his STR14 exiting Turn 4. Leaving prominent skid marks behind him, his car ended up facing the wrong way and beached in the gravel just metres from where Raikkonen went off the previous day.
Romain Grosjean believes the spins could be linked to the change of tyre temperature rules for 2019. The Pirellis are now heated to 100 degrees at the front, and 80 degrees at the rear. This is designed to help with reduced front end graining, but does mean less rear end grip straight out of the pits.
“We saw drivers spinning on their outlap.” said Grosjean. He says he’s not quite sure why the move has happened in the first place: “We’ve got new tyre temperatures from the blankets that are just 80 degrees. When the track is 4 degrees, it just doesn’t work. In the afternoon even, it was still a struggle the first timed laps. I don’t really know why we’ve gone so low with the blanket temperatures, I don’t think it’s the right thing as it could be tricky on some occasions. I just went off throttle and suddenly the rear was facing forward.”