He certainly wouldn’t want to be remembered as “Good ol’Brakes Grosjean” or “Romain “Brakes” Grosjean” but with the focus for the last 18 months on his performance issues during grands prix always centered on his struggle with the brakes, it may be a hard moniker to shake but that’s exactly why he now refusing to talk about it.
“I don’t want to speak about brakes anymore.
“I just need to be better in those conditions and improve myself.
“There are things behind the scenes but I’m not blaming anything.
“The brake feeling has been terrible all weekend long but Kevin’s got the same comment and he can drive around [it], that’s why I’m saying I don’t want to blame anything.
“Braking is my strength, since Formula Renault. But when things are not working as I want, it’s my biggest weakness.
“When it’s not good, then I’m lost. I admit it and I need to work on that and I’m sure I can get better.”
When teamed with Esteban Gutierrez, it wasn’t discussed that much and taken as writ that Haas F1 has a serious brake issue but now teamed with Kevin Magnussen who seems far less hobbled by the system, the focus has become Romain and not the brake issue. In fact, some fans are wondering if the brake issue is real an issue?
Let’s be for to Romain here, there is an issue and even Kevin says so per an article at Autosport.
“Brakes is the most important thing that you need to have working because it takes away a lot of confidence if you don’t know what’s going to happen if you push the brakes.
“So it’s not a good situation but it’s something that’s a little bit out of our hands.
“There’s not much we can do about it, it’s one of those things, it’s like complaining about the weather.
“There’s not anything you can do about it, you just have to deal with it.”
What we discussed on our recent race review podcast, however, is that a driver will need to adapt his style to the car if the car cannot be cured of its issue and perhaps this is where Romain is struggling more than Kevin. Having had a very high-performance braking style in junior series with no brake-by-wire system may have been one of his calling cards but in the Haas car, it simply isn’t capable of being managed the same way.
Therefore, a driver will have to change his style and that may be asking a lot when you are some entrenched in a braking method. However, Romain says that is exactly what he is going to have to do and instead of demanding the car allow him to brake late and hard, he’ll have to find other ways around it like Kevin has.
“When the brake feeling is terrible, I need to find a way that I can work with it,” he said.
“When I cannot brake very late, very hard and turn the car with the brakes, then I just need to find more tools.”
Speaking with Paul in the Podcast, you’ll recall that it is always as easy as just saying it, it takes serious mental changes but you’ll also know that is a hallmark of a professional driver, to change his style to meet the car’s personality and get the most out of it. Think of Fernando Alonso’s style change from the early days to now. His approach to corners and steering input have changed on turn-in and this is to accommodate the new cars from 2014 onward.
Lewis Hamilton has done a great job of becoming a much more sympathetic driver to these new cars and the car and tire sympathy needed to make the car go fast around a track. While there have been suggestions that Mercedes have done some very creative brake system work that feel more natural and drivable, he still has to make the adjustment which he’s done with much aplomb.
Romain is a professional driver and I think he’ll get on top of it. Perhaps, for the past 18 months, he felt this was a Haas issue to fix—they did try different brake systems—but now he may have mentally taken a full inventory and realized that it is up to him to make the change. The car is what it is.
Hat Tip: Autosport