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Grosjean feared blistered tyres would “explode”

Haas driver Romain Grosjean had some strong words to say about an issue that dominated Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix: tyre blistering.

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Haas driver Romain Grosjean holds up four fingers to celebrate his P4 finish in the Austrian Grand Prix.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean feared his soft tyres would “explode” in the final twenty laps of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, as many teams struggled with the Red Bull Ring’s hotter-than-normal temperatures.

“The last 20 laps were not fun – there were blisters on the rears,” Grosjean revealed post-race, after coming home in P4 and recording his first points finish of 2018.

As he entered the pit-lane at the end of the race, he told his engineer the tyres were “blistered like you’ve never seen.”

Blistering occurs when the surface of a tyre becomes too hot from the loads and the rubber begins to melt into pools, similar in structure to a human blister.

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Romain Grosjean leads Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen during the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.

“We were struggling with blistering on the tires the whole of the soft stint,” Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen revealed.

Grosjean raced with soft tyres throughout the majority of the Grand Prix after pitting during lap 15’s Virtual-Safety-car.

Multiple teams, including the front-running Mercedes and Red Bull’s, struggled to keep their tyres under control as the race produced track temperatures 20 degrees hotter than that of FP2.

The blistering was made worse by the soft tyre’s use because it can retain more heat than other compounds.

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Haas F1 celebrate one of their best finishes of the season: Romain Grosjean’s P4 and Kevin Magnussen’s P5.

Pirelli said as a consequence, soft tyre runners were more “susceptible” to blistering.

Some drivers, including Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz, had to change from the softs and revert to a slower two-stop due to the extremity of the blistering.

Ricciardo said he saw his rear tyre “getting torn apart” whilst Mercedes engineer Andrew Shovlin felt the Silver Arrows “didn’t manage the tyres as well as we could have.”

Lewis Hamilton criticized Pirelli for their choice of tyre compound in Austria, saying they should’ve brought different compounds.

Steven Walton is an 18-year-old Journalism Student at the Ara Institute of Canterbury. He previously attended St Andrew's College in Christchurch, where he excelled at History and Classical Studies. Steven is the Editor-in-Chief at Green Flag F1 and spends most of his days living, breathing, and immersing in the Formula 1 world.

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