Romain Grosjean does not think the longer-lasting tyres put forward by Michelin will necessarily lead to better racing in Formula One.
Michelin has applied to be F1's sole tyre supplier for 2017 and wants to enter with low-profile 18-inch tyres, which are currently used by Formula E. The French manufacturer made it clear it is disappointed with the quick-degrading tyres which have defined Pirelli's most recent spell in the sport.
When announcing its entry, Michelin Motorsport director Pascal Couasnon took a swipe at the current supplier, saying: "We believe the image of tyres in Formula One is not what we would like to do, or makes sense ... The tyre used as an object you throw away after a few laps, or whatever, is not really something that is good for the tyre industry."
Pirelli's Paul Hembery scoffed at Michelin's plans, saying F1 rule makers are currently looking for more pit stops and therefore higher levels of degradation. Lotus' Grosjean says opinion between drivers is split but that he is one who would prefer to go back to before Pirelli adopted a more conservative approach to its constructions in 2014.
Asked if he liked the quick-degrading tyres of previous seasons, the Frenchman replied: "I did like it. If you ask Felipe [Massa] he will say the opposite, I don't think he liked it - it's different for everyone. I believe it created overtaking chances because there is a delta speed which is more important in between cars and a grip level. If the guy in front of you has a big snap you can get an advantage. Right now if the guy in front of you has a snap you normally get the same one and don't get the advantage any more.
"I did prefer when we had to think about it and when we could change the way it was degrading. It meant if you took it a little bit slowly at the beginning of the race you had an advantage over some other people and could go for an overtaking manoeuvre. Right now everyone is always on the limit of them; when you follow another car you don't really get that advantage right now."
Pressed on Michelin's proposals, Grosjean used a recent example of his own to highlight the problems of following and passing other cars.
"I don't know. Austria was a good example - I was behind [Sergio] Perez at the start of the race, I was on super-soft, he was on soft, so I had an advantage over him. But I couldn't get past him because every time I push to get close I was over-working my tyres and couldn't overtake. That's probably where we should focus and concentrate to make it easier to get closer to the car in front of you.
"In 2012 and 2013, when they were degrading and we were getting to that bad shape of losing grip, the guy behind could take an advantage. Right now it stays quite consistent but over the lap if you go over a certain window then you just lose the grip and when you follow another car you have less downforce, you slide more and lose the grip and it makes overtaking harder."
It was then put to Grosjean that longer-lasting tyres would just and allow the car in front to brake later and have better grip, thus limiting overtaking opportunities further.
"That's another point, it's a fine line," Grosjean replied. "I don't have the magic answer. Do I get the Nobel Prize if I find it!?"