HOCKENHEIM, 18th July 2014 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Both Lotus drivers have confirmed that they are suffering without the FRIC system.
Despite the general woes this season for Lotus, one bright spot was that its car was thought to have one of the most effective, and long-established, FRIC systems in the field.
It seemed to show today as – with FRIC now removed up and down the grid – both Enstone drivers underwhelmed on the stopwatch in Friday practice at Hockenheim, and afterwards indicated that the adaptation to running without the system was a trying one.
“It’s just that we’ve been using this system for a long time and the ban of it probably is hurting us a little more than some others,” explained Grosjean afterwards.
“The first impression (without FRIC) was quite nice to drive, but in terms of pace it’s not exactly where we would like it to be.”
His team mate Pastor Maldonado concurred. “We had a big influence to be honest (from FRIC), personally I was not expecting that big change, and it’s quite big, especially in terms of the balance, the car was not easy to understand and not working together.
"For sure the car has been designed to use the FRIC, now without the FRIC we need to think about it and try to do our best to gain the time we lost.”
The Venezuelan was however optimistic that matters would improve in short order: “That (the cars’ handling) will improve for sure as the teams are learning the FRIC situation, especially on our side we did a good jump between session one and session two and still there is some margin to keep improving the car.
"I mean not for two seconds but to balance the car which is not 100% at the moment.”
When Grosjean was asked where in the corner its absence makes the biggest difference to driving style he said: “More entry to apex, because basically with a non-FRIC car you can control a little bit more the platform with the brake pressure you are carrying in the corner rather than before, it is just the system doing it so if you were in the right place it was nice if it wasn’t it was a disaster from the A to Z!”
Maldonado however downplayed the difference to the driver’s approach.
“No nothing different, more or less the same. In terms of lines it’s exactly the same.”
As to whether the car was more predictable for FRIC on, Grosjean reckoned “It was on low fuel it wasn’t on high fuel, but that’s good as we can look into it and try to understand.
“It doesn’t feel too bad, it changes a little bit of the way you drive the car, but it’s not night and day”.
Maldonado also confirmed that the impact of FRIC on tyre wear was minimal, or at least indirect only. “When the car is not balanced the tyres suffer…but the main thing is the temperature for the tyres, we’ve seen that in the past as well.”