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Pre-Korea analysis - Grosjean aims to make amends 12 Oct 2012

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Preparations, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Thursday, 11 October 2012 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Preparations, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Thursday, 11 October 2012 A dramatic first lap also sees Romain Grosjean clatter into Mark Webber's Red Bull. Webber returns to the pits with a damaged sidepod while Grosjean is handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for causing the collision Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Preparations, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Thursday, 11 October 2012

Lotus’s Romain Grosjean will be desperate to avoid a ninth first-lap collision with a rival during this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix. Grosjean is under pressure to keep his nose clean, after criticism from Mark Webber and his Red Bull boss Christian Horner after his latest gaffe in Suzuka.

"I think not having any contact on the first lap, that is one of the objectives," Grosjean said in Korea. "It takes a bit of time, and it is a cycle as well so things have been going bad. But I am conscious of the risk at the start. The Spa accident was quite impressive and I was the first one happy that Fernando had no injuries. I am conscious of the risks, and I paid the price for my mistakes.

"With the team I have spoken a lot: they are not happy, and I am not happy with the way I have been doing the first laps. There are 550 people working hard at Enstone and, if you ruin everything on the first lap, it is not good."
After Webber had stormed down to the Lotus hospitality cabin in Suzuka and accused him of a being a ‘first-lap nutcase’, the Frenchman apologised and they agreed here that they had moved past the incident.

"Mark came to see me, and I understood he was unhappy," Grosjean said. "The only thing I could do was apologise. I was very sorry and hopefully now it will be a different story.

“I went to see Romain and we had a discussion about it,” Webber said, “so that’s it.”

Horner had declaimed Grosjean’s behaviour in Suzuka, and demanded that Lotus control their impetuous young driver. “He’s capable of doing the job, as he’s obviously a quick driver, but so many incidents is unacceptable at this level. He needs to really talk to himself, or the team needs to talk to him, because not only is it dangerous for others, but he has cost himself and his team a colossal amount of points - together with the innocent victims that he has collected en route.

"I think Mark has every right to express his feelings, and I think that it was just a complete misjudgement by Grosjean. The most important thing when you make a mistake is to learn from it, and I think the most disappointing thing is that it is a repeat incident and proved extremely costly for Mark. Grosjean doesn't appear to be learning from his mistakes."

Lotus chief Eric Boullier said: "We have spoken a lot, but only he can fix this problem. He has to find the right balance in these situations and only he can do that because he is the only one driving the car."

Rumours that the FIA are to consider another ban on the young Frenchman are wide of the mark. The stewards of the Japanese round imposed a 10-second stop and go penalty on him during the race after his clash with Webber, and there is no facility to reopen such incidents afterwards once they have been dealt with. But they will be watching him very carefully this weekend.

David Tremayne

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