Apr.5 (Lotus) The season has started with a great deal of promise for Lotus, but ultimately the results have not materialised – as yet – for Romain Grosjean. With another new track to learn in China, the Frenchman is looking for a fresh start to kick off his season which has been a big disappointment thus far.
After some time to pause and reflect, how do you feel things are going now we’re two races in to the season?
Romain Grosjean: We can certainly say that we have good performance from the car. We’ve got through to Q3 at both races so the car is performing very well. We were able to fight for the front row in qualifying and the pace in the race is very good. In China I hope we can have a more standard race with everything in order with regards to the start, the race – and not a crazy amount of water on track as we did at Sepang – and we can finally achieve the good result which we are capable of.
Two short races – is this now an issue for you?
RG: When you make mistakes you have to admit it and not repeat that mistake. When it’s not your fault – well it’s not your fault. The first two races were tough and we didn’t get a result. On the other hand I know that we can do some great things in the future races. My season starts properly in China.
What do you think of the Shanghai circuit?
RG: It will be my first time driving the circuit. I’ve been watching some on-board videos and it looks pretty nice. I hope it will suit the E20. We have a new package which will hopefully be beneficial. I’m looking forward to discovering another new circuit. There are plenty of good, interesting corners by the looks of it. If we get a good result I’m sure it will become a track that I love.
How excited are you about a new aerodynamic package coming for the E20?
RG: It’s great to see how much the factory is behind us and working very hard to give us updates. We’ve had a promising start to the season and we all want to get the best in every area, so a new aerodynamic package is quite exciting; I can’t wait to see how it looks and then experience how it feels on track. Then, most importantly, I want to see the lap-time gain.
Now you’ve had some decent track time at two Grands Prix, how comfortable are you feeling with the car and how close are you to delivering 100% from the interaction between you and the E20?
RG: The E20 gives me a great feeling. We have seen some interesting things in Malaysia and we are always learning more about how it reacts. We gained a very good impression at Australia and Malaysia. We have a few areas where we know what to do and a few areas where we know what not to do in terms of set-up. I’m sure for Shanghai we will be able to find the best set-up quicker than at the first two races. I think there is still scope for me to feel more comfortable and confident with the E20, but it’s a very nice car to drive and with the new aero package it should be even better; then with all subsequent packages better and better…
How intense did you find the first two races with your return as an F1 race driver and the back-to-back nature of the two Grands Prix?
RG: A race weekend takes a lot of time and a lot of energy. But when you are in the car, the adrenalin takes over and you never feel tired. When you get back home, you normally need a bit of a rest. You relax and it’s then that you feel tired. Over the race weekend there’s so much happening that you don’t have time to feel tired.
Compared to last year, where do you think we are in the relative order?
RG: We’re definitely a step forwards, we just need to be able to show this in a normal race. We’ve seen that we are looking good in qualifying where we’ve been either the second or third fastest team which is very good. There are a few areas we need to improve in the race but we are definitely on course this season.