Exclusive Romain Grosjean Q&A: Im ready to deliver for Lotus 14 Mar 2013
Last year Lotuss Romain Grosjean gained a reputation as one of the most erratic drivers in the paddock. That often hid the fact that he also put in some storming drives, including three podium finishes. This season he is determined to repay the faith team boss Eric Boullier has placed in him, and - with five rookies alongside him on the grid - finally shake off that image as the F1 new boy
Q: Romain, what have you done over the winter to calm that youthful enthusiasm?
Romain Grosjean: Ha, the secret is that I have been working hard since last September with a psychologist - and hopefully it will pay off. I will try to do my best and the tracks will tell me if Ive done good work or not.
Q: Were there ever moments when you were afraid you would lose your seat?
RG: I have to confess that the month of December was hard. But I had very good talks with the bosses of the team. We had deep discussions to see what we can do - and I know now what I have to do and now I can move on.
Q: What did you have to promise to the team never to do again?
RG: I had to promise that I would work hard and be consistent. In fact I was the first one to be in pain when it was going wrong, so I promised to do things rather than not do things ever again. I will.
Q: You have been given more chances than many other drivers. After your stint with Renault alongside Fernando Alonso in 2009, it looked as if that was the end. Then Lotus team principal Eric Boullier brings you back and you have a quite rocky season - and he still keeps you. To what do you attribute that?
RG: I think it doesnt happen very often that a driver in his first full season delivers three podiums and fights twice for the win. I think that this is a pretty good recommendation for any driver - not only a rookie. It is true that there have been many talks about my incidents, but hardly any talks about what I have delivered. I have had some very good races, so I have shown that I can do it. Hopefully this season will show that the team and I were right.
Q: Eric said recently that your Renault experience is still somewhat of a trauma for you - in what way?
RG: That was all last year. Sure, if you get fired from Formula One and come back after one year you desperately want to prove that you deserve it. You probably want to prove it twice as much as anybody else. When I was talking with Gerard Lopez last December he said to me, When I take a decision I never go back on it. So he took the decision to keep me and will not question it any more. It is done - and from now on we look forward to the season and maybe even beyond
Q: Big things must be on your agenda this year. Can you name your three must-deliver objectives?
RG: Consistency, performance, and to have reasons to be proud of myself at the end of the season.
Q: To make Erics plan work - for Lotus to be third in the constructors standings - both drivers have to deliver. Has that been hammered into you?
RG: He didnt have to hammer that into my head. (laughs) I know that and, believe me, I am absolutely ready to deliver.
Q: The car has put out some mixed messages over the winter tests - sometimes fantastic, sometimes a bit troublesome. What is the true state of affairs?
RG: Under the circumstances we had at all three tests, we are pretty satisfied with how it went. We have been checking and double checking to make sure that set-up wise we are taking the right direction - and hopefully by Friday evening we will have all the answers and work from there.
Q: Are there any upgrades or new parts here in Melbourne?
RG: We have some new bits and pieces on the aero side, which is the main thing that you want to have on the car. Melbourne is a very specific track - hugely different to most tracks we will race during the year - so hopefully we have brought the right answers to this very specific Melbourne situation.
Q: After one year as team mate to Kimi Raikkonen, how is the chemistry?
RG: He doesnt speak much, but that doesnt mean that hes not a good team mate. We are working pretty well together. He has the experience and that is good. Other than that, everything is open in the team.
Q: How about your driving styles? When you say that Kimi has the experience, does that mean that his set-up findings are also valid for you?
RG: Our driving styles are different, but the feelings and the comments are pretty much the same, so the engineers know that if something is working for one the likelihood that it is also working for the other is very high. That makes things a lot easier.
Q: What would be a good weekend for you?
RG: I dont set myself any specific results objectives. Sunday night I want to look back and say to myself, I did the best I was capable of doing. And then - hopefully with a lot of tailwind - move on to Malaysia!
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