PODCAST: Romain Grosjean on criticism, psychology and his racing future
There's no doubt that Formula 1 drivers live a largely glamorous life. But to say it's always a bed of roses would be far from the truth - and this week's guest on Beyond The Grid, presented by Bose, knows that better than most...
In a career spanning more than 130 Grands Prix, Romain Grosjean has experienced the highs of reaching the podium several times and the lows of facing heavy criticism from his fellow drivers for his on-track behaviour – not least for high profile first-lap crashes at Spa and Suzuka in 2012.
In an extremely candid conversation with Tom Clarkson, the Haas driver said the two incidents changed his career for the better, adding that the backlash he faced was tougher for him to take than losing his seat in F1 at the end of 2009.
“When you are in that spot, when all the spotlight is on you and you know you can’t make any move without risking a penalty, then of course [your fellow drivers] take advantage, which is normal – you would always do that,” Grosjean explains.
“If you are playing tennis and your opponent is struggling from the heat or has lost his backhand, you’re going to hammer it. If you’re cycling up a hill and you see the other guy struggling you go for it. We’re competitors – we want to win.
“Dealing with media criticism, fan criticism, happens all the time, especially with Twitter and so on and the amount of abuse you get. Then when you meet people they never say anything, they are always nice to you.
“But having the drivers [criticise] – and Mark [Webber] calling me the first-lap nutcase –when you’re doing the same job, that was painful.”
In a feature-length conversation, Grosjean goes on to discuss his use of a sports psychologist, why he still has unfinished business with Haas, how having children has made him a better driver and much, much more.