Romain Grosjean fears the performance gap between the top Formula 1 teams and the midfield will remain too large and not give more teams chances to win before the expected 2021 rules overhaul.

Despite hefty regulation changes to the front and rear wings for 2019, Grosjean feels the level of investment and development work required will not see midfield teams catch the front-runners of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

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While Grosjean is relishing the prospect of another intense battle between the midfield teams he doesn’t expect any of them to make a performance step big enough relative to its the top three to be able to fight for wins until 2021.

“I think F1 needs to get better at having more chances to win races, I don’t think that’s going to be before 2021,” Grosjean said. “But if you look at the midfield race last year, it was quite exciting. A lot of changing of orders and another race at the front.

“Ideally, you would like as many teams as possible to be fighting for the win. I think people like Gene [Haas] would like to see that in F1, otherwise what is the point of coming to always be around the same one. At the minute, I think it’s going to be the same thing.

“Ferrari is announcing that they are going to increase the budget for the year, Red Bull is saying they have spent a lot of money on the front wing, I’m sure Mercedes have been working hard as well. Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t been sleeping, but as long as there is going to be so different resources between teams, there’s always going to be a difference of level.”

While significant regulation tweaks have been installed for the new F1 season, with the aim of improving racing, the next big revamp in rules and regulations is set to arrive in 2021.

For 2019, Haas brings on new title sponsor Rich Energy with boss William Storey immediately targeting fellow energy drinks brand Red Bull.

At the team’s livery launch at the Royal Automobile Club, Grosjean agreed targeting Red Bull is a “long term” target while bracing for a competitive 2019.

“The expectations are to try and do better than last year,” he said. “We set the bar quite high up last year with fifth. We want to keep an eye on fourth if it’s possible.

“The first indication of how good the car is will be in Barcelona. Then how much development we can put on the car for this season. I’m not thinking we are going to be Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes.

“I think Renault could be strong, McLaren you never know – they are a big team, a lot of history and could come back strong, we know that Racing Point is injecting a lot of money in the team, so yeah, and Toro Rosso is going to be close to Red Bull in terms of technical partnership, they share the same engine.

“There is a lot of people who want to be best of the rest, it’s a very competitive world and we need to do our best.”

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