Romain Grosjean Q&A: Lotus the perfect place to be 12 May 2012
It would have been a crying shame had Romain Grosjean not been given the chance to show his true colours again after his disappointing first Formula One stint back in 2009. On Sunday in Spain the young Frenchman and his on-form Lotus will start from the second row, one place behind Fernando Alonso, the man indirectly responsible for his previous F1 exit. And Grosjean will no doubt be out to show his former team mate just how times have changed
Q: Romain, two retirements and two good points results, one on the podium. What do you make of the 2012 season so far?
Romain Grosjean: Well, that 2012 is going pretty well - so far. True, the first two races didnt work out as we had expected, but only through circumstances, as we knew that the car was good. So far F1 is treating me nicely and, sure, the hope is there that this podium was just the beginning and not an isolated highlight. (laughs)
Q: Do you sometimes think how tragic it would have been had you never been given this second chance to show your true colours in F1? What if 2009 had been your one and only shot?
RG: I always believed in my dream, but its true dreaming doesnt get you anywhere. I have been through some difficult times, but sometimes hard times help you more in your development than permanent heydays. Its not that I dont like heydays, but I took it that sometimes the bad can make the good - and it really did. I want to stay here now for a long time - and it looks promising?
Q: You obviously started your second F1 foray at the right time with Lotus. Had it been last year - when the team was struggling - that might have been it for you
RG: 2011 - that probably indeed would have been wrong time, wrong place. But thank God it is 2012! (laughs) But then you never know what would have happened. Fact is that I feel so perfectly in place at Lotus right now - and I hope that it stays that way. We have a good momentum right now and I am sure that we will keep it - fingers crossed.
Q: Kimi Raikkonen as a team mate: how is that after a few races experience? Hes got ten years of F1 under his belt while for you its only your 12th race
RG: The relationship works really well. He knows what he wants: he wants good results - and that is exactly what I want. So we follow the same philosophy and have the same spirit. To achieve that we work together as well as we can. And to be honest, hes quite nice. We can joke together, believe it or not. (laughs) And the working environment is simply great.
Q: You had the lions share of testing duties last week. Was that something you welcomed?
RG: That situation was more than welcome. The more time I can spend in the car the better. I want to take in the car, to learn and improve myself. As you just said, 12 races is not a lot, so there is still a lot to learn waiting out there for me. This is a highly technical world, a highly demanding world and if you want to succeed you have to be aware of every single aspect of this unique cosmos. So doing the two days in Mugello only meant that I had to change my flight, bring a bigger bag and put on a big smile.
Q: What do you make of having finished two of those test days at the top of the timesheet? What will it mean for tomorrow?
RG: We were able to try things that you dont do on a race weekend - and it proved promising. We now have a pretty good idea where to go for the coming races and what to do. We have some new aero pieces here and they obviously do deliver. It is hard to say what difference they really make, but we have high hopes for tomorrow because if you head for a race not wanting to succeed it is not worth coming.
Q: On what areas did you particularly focus in Mugello?
RG: Suspension. We put in a lot of work there.
Q: At least at the last two races it seems that Lotus found a key to good tyre management. What are you doing? What is the secret?
RG: I think it is a combination: drivers, car, team. Tyres were key today and will be key tomorrow in the race. Of course, I want to pull it off again like we did in Bahrain - the conditions are pretty much the same - so we will definitely go for a good result.
Q: You are starting from the second row tomorrow. What is your plan for the start?
RG: If I have a good start like at the last race - and am in a good position into the first corner - then we take it from there
Q: Are you a good starter?
RG: Lets see tomorrow. Its more on the engineers to make the right decision.
Q: Your team principal Eric Boullier wants to see black and gold overalls on the podium at every race from now on. Realistic? Have all the pieces now fallen into the right places?
RG: I think we all are ready. We, of course, have to improve with every race and systematically bring new updates, but that will happen, no doubt. We have proved in Bahrain that we can deliver a good result through our own strength. We dont need circumstances, conditions or bad luck from others - and that is a good feeling, touch wood.
Q: So any wishes for tomorrow?
RG: A good result - how good, I dont know. Of course, a win would be fantastic - so again, touch wood (laughs)
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