Q&A with Lotuss Romain Grosjean 11 Mar 2013
The 2012 season - his first full F1 campaign - was one of highs and lows for Romain Grosjean: three podium finishes, but also some erratic driving that saw him pick up a one-race ban. As he goes into his second year with Lotus, Grosjean talks about the importance of continuity, the value of experience and his relationship with team mate Kimi Raikkonen
Q: Next stop Albert Park and were looking ahead to the 2013 season; how are you feeling?
Romain Grosjean: Im really looking forward to the 2013 season; its been a good winter for us and we achieved quite a bit of what we wanted to do, even if the conditions were not always easy. Were ready for Albert Park, its one of my favourite Grand Prix circuits, so it will be good to get there, start the season and do the best that we can.
Q: We saw last year that the E20 was somewhat of a dark horse and that then carried on through the year; how does this years car feel in comparison?
RG: Its a good continuation of the E20 and definitely a step forward; the team have been working hard and are doing their best to give us a good car. The answer will only be clear after qualifying in Melbourne; we looked quick during winter testing but its always different to race weekends, so lets see what the first race brings us. Hopefully its a good surprise, as was the case last year, and Im sure we can have a very good season.
Q: Last year you impressed with P3 on the grid in Australia, on a circuit youd never raced on before. Whats your feeling as you look to the first qualifying session of the 2013?
RG: I obviously have much more experience than I did heading into last year and Im looking forward to the whole season. I will try to put all the work I have been doing together with the team and turn that into good performances on track. I feel much more comfortable as I approach the 2013 season. Last year there were some highs and some lows, so the idea now is to keep up the performance that Im able to show and bring some consistency which needs to be there every time. We know what we want and weve had good discussions through the winter, so well all looking to start the season with a clear direction.
Q: How much benefit will the continuity bring?
RG: I think consecutive seasons in any category is good from two points of view. The first is with the driving itself; youre restarting a season so you know the circuits, you know the cars, how a race weekend works and what you should and shouldnt do. Then, there is the continuity with the team, which is another point and one thats quite important as well. As we go to Melbourne well know the set-up we used from last year and we can work from there. All our engineers are the same and the way we approach the data is familiar. From this standpoint we can really work well and keep everything weve been learning together. During testing I also had to the chance to run with Kimis engineers which was very good. We are a team and were working together; theres nothing that is hidden or not shared between us.
Q: Youve been with the team for quite a long time now; what is the feeling within the garage as we head into the 2013 season and where are our strengths?
RG: This team has so much history; it was started a long time ago, has won three constructors world championships and there will hopefully be more in the future. The key people here know how to create a good car and over the last four years the team has been picking up momentum. Our objectives keep rising higher and higher, but I think its reasonable to say that we can achieve them.
Q: Its also your second season with Kimi as a team mate and you were both racing quite closely on track together at certain points last year; how will you approach this season and working with him again?
RG: Kimi is a good team mate and the relationship we have is okay. Were both quite quick and were always pushing the limits. In engineering meetings and internally we share everything which helps us both perform better on track and when were out there we push each other hard, but its always with respect and fair play.
Q: Its very difficult to predict these things after winter testing, but where would you hope to be in Australia?
RG: Ive been thinking about this quite a lot, but I really have no answer until we get to qualifying in Melbourne. Of course, we always want to be at the front; thats the aim, and well do the best that the car can do. As long as I perform to my best then I will be happy.
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