Grosjean: Restarts could be carnage

Romain Grosjean is concerned about safety with regards to grand prix standing restarts, which teams have been practising during this week of Formula 1 testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

The revised FIA regulations on restarting a race in the wake of a red flag stoppage state: “Once the safety car has entered the pit lane all cars, with the exception of those that were in their garage at the time the race was suspended, must return to the grid, take up their grid positions and follow the procedures set out in Article 36.9 to 36.13.”

But in practice, at least in Barcelona where it was trialled at the end of each day this week, cold tyres have been a problem as cars have had not had the grip to handle the power delivered on a restart.

Grosjean explained, “I didn’t go above fourth gear. It’s undriveable. I was one of the first guys to come on the grid so I sat there with [Valtteri] Bottas for a long time. But when we restarted, it was like it was raining on slicks. Every time you upshift, the rears spin and wheelspin. Every time you downshift, the rears lock. You go into a corner and slide. It’s doesn’t work.”

“Safety-wise, I’m a bit concerned because as I say, I went to fourth gear and that was the maximum I could do. To me it could be carnage. You can lose the car in a straight line, and if someone loses it and then people are behind…”

“We tried it, and honestly I was not having much fun just trying to upshift and downshift, it was tricky. Bottas was in front of me, and he was not having much fun either. I don’t know what pace we’ve done, but look at the sector. It’s going to be very, very slow.”

Asked if the cold conditions were the cause, Grosjean replied, “It’s pretty cold, but we know that if you spin and then you restart and you try to push again, the tyre’s normally gone and you never put the temperature back in. So imagine doing a slow lap and then aborting and then another one. We were down in 40 degrees or something like that with tyres. They just don’t work.

“At Monaco you need 20 laps, and I’m not even sure you’re going to get the temperature back. Some tracks it’s fine where you manage to generate temperature – [but in] Canada, here with those conditions, China, not sure you’re going to get temps again.”