Haas’ Romain Grosjean didn’t like the 2020 F1 tyres still after running them in Abu Dhabi as Esteban Ocon faced seat issues on return.
Out of all the drivers testing on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi test at Yas Marina circuit, Grosjean was the only one to speak to the media, who has driven the 2020 tyres during the Friday session of US GP as well. The Frenchman, though, didn’t feel that confident still.
Having had the reputation of saying things against the Pirelli tyres, Grosjean didn’t wished to dwell too much into it but couldn’t help it as he didn’t feel good with them. In fact, he thought the feelings were pretty similar to how it was in Austin.
“They’re different,” said Grosjean to media in Abu Dhabi including FormulaRapida.net. “There are some positives and there are some negatives. It is early days. They did a big change, and are they what everyone would like to have? No.
“We have to look at how we’ve been running the cars and make sure that we are on the maximum of everything. But if you’re asking if I’m very happy about the new tyres and if it’s going to solve some of the problems of thermal degradation sensitivity when following another car, I just have to tell the truth, and no it’s not going to change that problem fully.
“The degradation on some compounds was better. Being able to run lower tyre pressures also helps you; obviously they don’t balloon that much. So they are the positives, but it’s not what you would dream of.”
When asked if he found any difference from Austin, the plain answer was ‘no’. And when pressed further regarding racing with the 2020 tyres or 2019, even by FormulaRapida.net, Grosjean felt that ‘it isn’t really a question to ask [whether we use 2020 or not]’.
The Frenchman believes Pirelli had enough time to prepare the tyres and in Abu Dhabi, the question shouldn’t have been about whether we should race them or not, even though he did put the ‘early day’ tag and that the car isn’t maximum on 2020-spec yet to fully say.
It remains to be seen how other drivers take it but Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas spoke through social media and showed displeasure on the tyres as well. “Just the tyres were tested,” he said. “I had to say it felt that nothing better would have been found from these new tyres.
“I got the impression they were even a little bit slower compared to the old ones. They behaved in the same way.” On the other hand, it was a welcome return for Ocon in F1 as he unites with Renault to race in the 2020 season after missing out in 2019.
The Frenchman, though, only did 77 laps though as there were issues with his seat. “My position is a bit better in that car [Mercedes],” said Ocon to the media including FormulaRapida.net. “The seating position, there is more space.
“Obviously, Nico and Daniel are taller than Valtteri and Lewis. And getting to know people in the team as well, getting to work with new people is very different. This is what will take the most of the time for all of us to understand each other perfectly.
“There’s a lot to say on your first day. As for the tyres, it will never be night and day difference from one season to another but there are plenty of differences.” Apart from seat issue for Ocon, Grosjean stopped on track late as he lost power.
At the same time, Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Raikkonen ended his day early with a possible driveshaft issue. As mentioned in the report, there was also a minor contact between Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez but neither spoke to media.
Here’s how Day 1 went through in Abu Dhabi