Romain Grosjean had cause to be positive after completing a race simulation during testing today.
He made four pit stops during the 66-lap run, which included a 24-lap stint:
“That was quite an impressive stint,” he said after today’s test. “We tried to work as hard as we could and speak with the guys on the radio, try to see what we could do to help the tyres to last longer.”
Grosjean said managing the tyre degradation was “very hard” during his Grand Prix-length run.
“I think the first stint I came on the radio on lap two saying ‘the tyres are dead’,” he said. “But there were 66 laps to do.”
“So I try to do the best, try to adapt our driving style, it’s not easy to be honest.
“I think the conditions doesn’t help, or are not representative of what we should get. The cold here doesn’t make it easy for the tyres but it’s very different from what we had last year and we have to change a lot of things to make it work perfectly.”
He said the medium compound tyre gave the best results and described how the nature of tyre degradation has changed with the 2013-specification Pirellis:
“It’s quite different from lat year to be honest. Last year we struggle a lot with the rear tyres degrading, this year is more front and rear we’ve got a lot of graining.
“It makes it different to adapt and you have to change your driving style. It was good for me today to have a lot of laps to try to adapt myself, try to understand and for the engineers to see as well where we could go and what was the communication like and and whether the tyres are going away or not.”
“It’s hard to explain exactly and to feel it,” he added. “It’s really a question of trying to keep the rubber on the tyre. And to do that just guessing the amount of energy you have to put into it and try to not go over the limit for them.”
Grosjean believes the handling of the E21 has improved from being designed from the outset to feature a ‘Coanda’-style exhaust: “High-speed [cornering] feels better than last year.”
“When we swapped to the Coanda exhaust last year the car was not as easy to drive as the first one we had. But we bring it quite late and I think this year’s car’s a little bit more designed around that aspect and makes it enjoyable into fast corners.”
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