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GP Week : Issue 191
5 MINUTES 5 MINUTES WITH ROMAIN GROSjEAN Lotus driver Romain Grosjean has had a very up and down year. Though the Frenchman has firmly put the first lap collisions that marred his 2012 season behind him, 2013 got off to a wobbly start as he couldn’t get the car working for him in the early races. But Grosjean has put in some strong drives since the Bahrain Grand Prix and with teammate Kimi Raikkonen all set to return to Ferrari next year, Grosjean has upped his game and has been increasingly driving like a man staking his claim to the mantle of team leader. ABHIsHeK TAKLe sat down with the 27-year-old shortly after he qualified a fine third for the singapore Grand Prix for a wide-ranging chat about how he worked to get over the start line incidents, the brain drain at Lotus, the enstone-based squad’s widely reported financial difficulties, and working with Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. GPWeeK: It’s been sort of a remarkable turnaround if you consider how the season started for you. You were struggling to get the car to your liking. so how would you say 2013 has been as a season? ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yes, we lost four races. Unfortunately, I think. Things would have been very different if we could have got proper winter testing and those races with a car that suits me, but since Bahrain – honestly – we are on a really positive note and even though we couldn’t see it on the results because we had some issues and the very bad Monaco weekend. In Canada it was a bit more difficult, but I felt that things were going in the right direction and it just keeps going that way. If you compare it to last season, you came back to Formula One, impressed straight away in Australia with your speed. Later on there were some difficulties, the start line incidents and all of that. This year, you haven’t had those sorts of incidents but a bit more up and down season performance- wise. so how have the two season been for you, comparatively? Last year was a bit too many incidents, that’s no secret, and a good car. This year we had more problems. Again, the first four races were just not right because that thing was not right with the car and we finally found out [what]. Since then the team has been working very hard and very well, but it’s like we lost all the winter testing so it’s not easy to recover. But then in Bahrain we were third, Barcelona we should have been P3 but we broke the rear suspension. Then Monaco, well, that’s my weekend, missed the weekend, never mind. Then Canada was hard for the whole team – I think the low downforce configuration this year doesn’t really work well. And then we were in Silverstone where I think we could have been in the top five but we had a front wing issue. From there we went to Germany and things finally worked out. Germany we could have won the race, Hungary we could have won the race, and then two more difficult ones due to the low downforce configuration and here [Singapore] we are back on a normal track with the car which is good. Still a bit too far from the Red Bulls, but they have done a very fantastic job and they are really strong, so we’ll try to get every single opportunity behind them and do our job. You went away last winter with the incidents playing a big part last year. How did you work to not repeat those sorts of mistakes? I’m guessing that at the start, a driver is relying on instinct. so do you sort of change your mindset, your approach to the way you start the race? I worked hard with a psychologist to allow me to have more instinct, if you want. For sure you use your instinct when you start the race and there is adrenaline, there is stress, there is pressure, but then if you have more solutions in your hands to try to pick up the good one then, yeah, just the way we worked, trying to get the right objective when we start the race and that’s about it. I want to get this next one out of the way early on. eric Boullier was asked in the [singapore] press conference whether he had any idea who the two drivers he would like for next year are. Do you think you were one of the drivers he spoke about there? I like the team. I think they like me. So if we keep going that way, no reason to panic or change anything. 18 GPWEEK.com // 18 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: