‘Want tired drivers? Bring back refuelling’

Romain Grosjean reckons if F1 wants tired drivers, they need to have cars and tyres that allow them to push 100% – and that can only be done through refuelling.

Speaking to the media prior to the Canadian Grand Prix, five-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton stated that he felt Formula 1 had become too easy.

Saying F1 should be a “man’s sport”, Hamilton wants races to be “harder for the drivers. You should be just so physically exhausted after the race, like a marathon.

“Sometimes you do these races and you can get up and I could do a race… I could probably do two or three races in a row.

“Formula One should not be like that.”

Grosjean, though, reckons that is impossible given today’s cars and tyres.

Citing his recent karting adventure with friends, the Haas driver said he walked away from that more tired than he ever was after a F1 race because he could push hard every single lap.

“I recently ran a go-kart race with friends,” he said in an interview with Ekstra Bladet, “125cc with gearshift. And I was more tired than after a Formula 1 grand prix.

“Why? Because you are pushing all the time and you don’t have to save fuel.

“Today [in F1] we need to save fuel. Next and most important: we have to look after the tyres all the time.

“In Barcelona, it felt like we were driving at 50% of the car’s capacity. Therefore it is not difficult.

“If the race was like qualifying and we could squeeze the car the same way every lap, our necks would be totally fucked in the end.

“We would be tired and our focus would disappear.

“But when we constantly get off the gas to save petrol and tyres, where is it tiring for the body and mind? These are the two main points.”

Grosjean’s solution is to bring back refuelling, as the drivers would be laboured by heavy cars and could push from start to finish.

“What we need are cars that we must push – and a return to refuelling so we don’t have to run around with 100kg at the start but only 30-40kg,” he said.

“Then we would be a few seconds faster, if not more, and it would be harder.”

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Pirelli: Not a single request to change tyres

Although many of the F1 teams have been complaining loudly about this year’s Pirellis, none have lodged an official request to change the tyres.

This season Pirelli introduced thinner guage tyres, the same tyres that they ran in Spain, France and Britain last season.

The aim of the thinner tread is to cut down on overheating and thereby reduce blistering.

However, they are proving to be tricky to operate.

Many teams, most notably Haas, have been vocal in their criticism of the tyres with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner saying nine out of the 10 teams want to revert to last year’s rubber.

The only team that doesn’t, Mercedes, is on a seven-race winning streak.

But while the teams may be complaining, none of them have approached Pirelli’s F1 boss Mario Isola to ask that they be changed.

“It is very clear how you can modify the construction or the compounds during the season,” Isola told Autosport.

“I didn’t receive any request so far.

“If I receive a request that is reasoned, we will consider that request.

“We will consider what we have to do to modify the tyres, and we will discuss that with the FIA.

“We, Pirelli, can modify the construction or the compound, the specification of the tyre, only for safety.

“Even if I sent a request to the FIA, to be honest I don’t know what to write in that request because I cannot reason any change for safety.

“There is no safety concern.”

As for Haas saying they have spent millions to design a car only to be thwarted by the tyres, Isola added: “How to design the car, how to generate the downforce, to design the suspension, is their job.

“We still have to work on the working range, but we did most of the job and now it’s up to them to generate the energy.”

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Hulkenberg missed Ferrari seat by an ‘inch’

Nico Hulkenberg reckons he may have missed out on a promotion to Ferrari by “inch, a bee sting”, adamant it was a “realistic opportunity.”

Racing for the Ferrari-powered Sauber team in 2013, Hulkenberg was linked to a move to the Scuderia.

In the end opted to re-sign former World Champion Kimi Raikkonen while Hulkenberg moved to Force India.

Speaking to Tom Clarkson on F1.com’s ‘Beyond the Grid’, the German said it may have been a near miss, he’ll never know for sure.

“You never know with these things and the people that make the decisions they don’t tell you,” he said.

“It was like an inch, I really don’t know how.

“There were definitely some talks and I think there was a realistic opportunity for quite a decent period of time but then unfortunately in the end it did fall through.”

Had Hulkenberg moved to Ferrari, he would have partnered Fernando Alonso.

Asked if he felt the Spaniard may have played a role in the team signing Raikkonen instead of him, he said: “I’d like to know that too.”

He did speak with Alonso but never got a straight answer.

“With Fernando you can never be totally sure what he says and what he actually means.

“I think he likes the games sometimes so I’m not really sure if he was supporting it or not to be honest and now anyway it’s in the past.”

Last year Hulkenberg claimed an unfortunate record in F1, the most starts without a podium, now up to 163.

Asked why, despite dominating junior series, it had never happened for him in F1, he said: “It hasn’t happened for a few reasons.

“There were a few opportunities where it could have happened like Monaco 2016 was one of them but we made a bad strategy call or the team did at the time and it went bad.

“Brazil 2012 where I threw it away by attacking Lewis [Hamilton] there. I was also leading the race by almost a minute when the Safety Car came out so that was almost a guaranteed win.

“If you go into every opportunity there was an issue somewhere so for one reason or another it hasn’t happened.

“That is annoying and not nice but it is the way it is.

“I can’t change the past so I have to focus on the future and try change it asap.”

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Ferrari: The same weaknesses as before

Despite claiming pole position and a double podium finish in Canada, Mattia Binotto concedes Ferrari’s SF90 is still plagued with the same “weaknesses” it had before the race.

Throughout this year’s campaign, Ferrari’s 2019 car has shown great speed in a straight line but is lagging behind the likes of Mercedes when it comes to cornering speed.

Added to that the Scuderia have struggled with the revised Pirellis, finding it difficult to find the working window.

As such the nature of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the venue for the Canadian GP, played into the hands of Ferrari.

Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position before racing his way towards the win, only to be denied by the race stewards.

His finished P2, joined on the podium by team-mate Charles Leclerc.

“We know it is a circuit that is more power sensitive, and it is rear limited not front [limited] like Barcelona,” Binotto told Motorsport.com. “So it is more similar to a Bahrain than a Barcelona.

“We knew that coming here we would be closer to Mercedes, but how much closer I don’t think we had any clue.

“I think the Friday performance relative to them was difficult, and the track improvement through the weekend, with more grip on the track, somehow we coped with the weaknesses we have.

“But the car as a matter of fact is exactly the same as it was in Spain. [There have been] no upgrades since then, so let’s say the weaknesses we have are still here on the car.

“It is as simple as that.

“We need to work and try to improve, because there will be other races that are not Canada. We need to keep fighting and challenge them.”

Seven races into this season and Ferrari are second in the standings with 172  points, 123 behind runaway championship leaders Mercedes.

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Chandhok calls for an end to finger pointing

Karun Chandhok says the time has come to stop teams communicating with race control as their “incessant badgering” is influencing penalties.

Racing for the victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton closed right up Sebastian Vettel’s rear wing resulting in a mistake from the Ferrari driver.

Vettel ran off the track at Turns 3/4 and rejoined directly in front of Hamilton resulting in the Brit being forced off the track and towards the wall.

Hamilton was immediately on the radio complaining about Vettel’s “dangerous” driving.

Soon after, the stewards announced a five-second time penalty for Vettel that handed Hamilton the win.

Chandhok, a former driver turned commentator, reckons teams should not have the stage to influence the stewards.

He told Sky Sports: “I don’t blame Lewis and Mercedes for complaining to the FIA about Sebastian because that’s part of the game that all the teams play.

“I actually wonder if at these moments, it’s better for the teams not to be able to communicate to race control because their incessant badgering will have an influence.

“If the boot was on the other foot, unquestionably Ferrari would have complained and Mercedes would have defended the case – that’s just the way things are in F1 nowadays which in itself seems wrong, but that’s a whole other subject for another day.”

As for the penalty, the former HRT driver, believes it was “unjustified.”

He expanded: “It’s worth remembering Sebastian was doing over a hundred miles per hour there and not looking at things frame by frame!

“This was not a situation where Seb intentionally came off the brakes and cut the chicane, like we see people do in places like Abu Dhabi. Believe me, no driver ever wants to find themselves on the grass outside Turn Three, with the wall that close!

“When Seb bounced back onto the track, the rear of the car kicked sideways and he had a snap of oversteer. That was not him steering into Lewis’ path or squeezing Lewis into the wall.

“It was simply an instinctive reaction of a driver catching the oversteer caused by the rear of his car bouncing when he re-joined the track.

“You can then see Sebastian put a lot of steering lock on to turn left and straighten the car, thereby giving Lewis space.

“If his intention was to squeeze Lewis, he would not have turned the steering wheel as much. From the moment he got full control of the car, he went straight – not right to squeeze Lewis.

“Therefore to me, this was an incident where a driver simply made an error, bounced back into the path of another car who, yes, had to take avoiding action but that was always a gap that was going to close.”

Chandhok believes Vettel already paid a price for his error as his advantage over Hamilton was greatly reduced.

“Ultimately, my underlying feeling was that a driver was being penalised for making an error which has anyway cost him lap time, and that’s harsh.

“This was quality driving from two great drivers, pushing their cars at a relentless pace for every corner of every lap and one of them made an error.

“That’s human and he should not have been penalised for it.”

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Perez backs Racing Point’s split strategy

Sergio Perez says he has no gripe with his team after SportPesa Racing Point split strategies in Canada, resulting in points for Lance Stroll and a P12 for Perez.

Although Perez began the Canadian Grand Prix two places ahead of Stroll, at the end of the 70-lap race he was three positions behind his team-mate and outside of the points.

While Stroll started on the hard Pirellis and ran 45 laps before pitting for medium tyres, Perez started on the mediums and had to pit on lap 11 for hard tyres that he kept to the end of the race.

He finished 12th at the chequered flag.

“It was a very frustrating afternoon,” Perez explained to Autosport.

“Early on [Daniil] Kvyat was struggling ahead of me, and I only had two laps before I had to look after my brake temperatures.

“As a team we maximised what we could from where we started, to be able to get a car in the points is good for the team, but personally it was a bad day.

“It’s always after the race you know which is the right strategy.

“We had to take some gambles and it paid off for Lance and the team, so we can be happy to get those two points.

“But other than that we have to improve to be further up the grid.”

Asked how he felt about running a different strategy to Stroll, the one that was least effective, Perez insisted he had no issue with the call.

“We spoke and we thought the best was splitting the cars before the race,” he said. “We didn’t see an advantage for them so it was more of a gamble.”

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Wolff: Ferrari courting heftier penalty with review

Toto Wolff has warned Ferrari that should they opt to review Sebastian Vettel’s Canadian GP penalty, they could in fact incur “more punishment” for the German.

Vettel was handed a five-second penalty during the Canadian Grand Prix for returning to the track in an “unsafe” manner while trying to fend off Lewis Hamilton.

The four-time World Champion was furious with the decision, saying F1 is no longer the sport he fell in love with as a child.

Ferrari declared in the immediate their intention to appeal but dropped that ahead of Thursday’s deadline.

Instead the Scuderia stated that they may yet call for a review.

“We have withdrawn our intention to appeal and are evaluating the right of review,” said a team spokesperson.

They have until the Sunday of the French Grand Prix to review, however, that can only go ahead if they have new evidence that the stewards are not aware of.

Mercedes boss Wolff, whose driver Lewis Hamilton inherited the win when Vettel was penalise, reckons it won’t go in Ferrari’s favour and has warned that Vettel could even have tougher sanctions for his antics.

“You can’t undo the penalty,” he told Osterreich newspaper.

“The worst case would be that the stewards, after looking at the data, find that more punishment is needed.

“I talked to Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto and he thinks what happened isn’t 100 per cent worth a penalty.

“I think he is 100 per cent wrong.

“The fact is: Vettel flew off the track and came back. He looked in the rearview mirror and pushed Lewis towards the wall.

“If Lewis did not put on the brakes, the two would have collided. That’s why the penalty fits.”

“Okay, it’s controversial,” Wolff added. “But in our sport you do not take prisoners.”

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