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Romain Grosjean Q&A: I’m eager to get back out on track 10 Oct 2012

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 5 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 E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 7 October 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 6 October 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 7 October 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 5 October 2012

Romain Grosjean was not a popular man after the Japanese Grand Prix, having caused another first-corner collision, just one round after returning from a one-race ban for his role in the turn-one pile-up at Spa. But having left Suzuka with plenty to think about, the Lotus driver is now relishing the challenge of a new circuit for him in Korea and a chance to make amends…

Q: Firstly, what went wrong in Suzuka?
Romain Grosjean:
Since Singapore, I’ve been trying to be really cautious at the starts and it’s been all the more frustrating to be involved in an incident in Japan. When approaching the first corner, I was watching Sergio [Perez] on my left to make sure there was no contact with him. I didn’t expect such a big speed difference between me and Mark [Webber] braking into the corner, we collided and that was it. It was a stupid mistake. Mark [Webber] came to see me after the race and was obviously not happy, but I apologised and we have to move on. I’ve sat down and looked at things again with the team; for sure it’s still an area we need to improve. We’re clearly focusing on this area for the next races.

Q: You retired from the race not far from the end - was there an issue?
RG:
We tried running a long final stint but my tyre performance dropped off significantly. We were a long way out of the points and making another stop so late in the race wouldn’t have made sense from a tactical or safety standpoint so retiring was the only sensible option.

Q: What were the positives from the weekend?
RG:
Qualifying was certainly a highlight, and the way we all worked together as a team to dial in the set-up of the car which was not where we wanted it at the start of the weekend. In qualifying we were easily through to Q3 and the car even had the pace to be further up the grid. I took the most satisfaction from how well me and my engineers worked through the weekend to extract more performance from the car.

Q: The track has a bit of a split personality with the three long straights and some tight and twisty sections; does that make setting up the car difficult?
RG:
It’s the same for many circuits. There will be corners where we may be good and some where we may not be as strong. We know our strengths as well as out weakness, so hopefully we can improve on those in Korea and through to the end of the season.

Q: How do you cope as a driver when you have to make such a compromise on set-up?
RG:
A compromise is not always the best solution. Everyone on the grid has their own driving preferences - some may like a very light car at high speed for example - so you have to try and find the best solution for your own style. Normally we adapt ourselves quite well in that sense and it will be another interesting challenge.

Q: What are your thoughts on Korea as a country?
RG:
Seoul was very nice when I visited it last year; it’s a fascinating combination of Asian culture with some European flavour too. The circuit is quite remote and it’s a very different part of Korea from Seoul. It’s certainly a different experience from that of many other Grands Prix. The track looks to be a good challenge and it’s going to be great to be racing in front of new fans for Formula One.

Q: Do you like visiting new countries and meeting new fans?
RG:
Yes, I do like travelling and seeing new fans. We’ve just left Japan where the supporters are very enthusiastic; they even gave me a flag signed by many people which was really nice. In Korea Formula One is new so it’s fascinating seeing the sport grow and meeting new followers.

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