After a solid if unspectacular end to the European season, Lotus driver Romain Grosjean is relishing the challenge of the Marina Bay Street Circuit as he aims to get right back in the podium mix at the Singapore Grand Prix.
What are your thoughts heading to Singapore?
Romain Grosjean: Singapore is a pretty fantastic place and the race is always a challenge. I love street races; there’s something about racing in the middle of a city. We race at night which means it looks amazing for the fans, but in the car there’s not so much of a difference for us as drivers as the lights make it seem like it’s daylight on track. Another thing I look forward to when visiting Singapore is the noodles!
What are the differences for you as a driver for this event?
RG: The difference for us is our schedule over the weekend, as we stay on European time and try not to adjust to the local time zone. To do this we arrive in Singapore a bit later than we would for other flyaway races, where we would normally arrive early in order to get our bodies working on the local time and avoid jetlag. This means we can get a good amount of sleep, including sleeping-in late (relative to the local time).
The race usually has the longest duration of the year; are there any particular preparations you have to make for this?
RG: Our regular fitness programme means that the race lasting longer than others should not be a problem, but something you have to prepare for in Singapore is ensuring you always keep well hydrated as the heat and humidity can easily dehydrate you.
How challenging is the circuit?
RG: It’s a fun layout to drive, with the last section being my favourite part of the track. It’s certainly a physical race, with lots of kerbs, some bumps on the track and frequent use of the brakes. It’s certainly not a circuit with a long straight where you can take a rest! The layout and the fact [that] it’s a street course don’t make it easy for a driver or the engineers. It can be difficult to find the amount of grip you want so we have to work hard to get the setup working well. There isn’t much margin for mistakes as the walls are very close, but this does mean that there’s a great feeling when you get a good lap as it’s very special to be driving at the limit around a street course.
Do you think this is a track that should suit both yourself and the car?
RG: I think so, yes. It’s a very high downforce track and that seems to suit us best as we saw in Budapest. In terms of the tyres I think we should be looking good too. Certainly, we should be able to perform stronger than at the last two races which haven’t always suited our car.
There’s a lot of talk and movement in the driver market at the moment; how does this affect you?
RG: I am keeping focused on this season by doing the best job I can for the team and showing my value on track.
Singapore marks the first of seven flyaway races to end the season; how do you want to end your year?
RG: We have some fantastic races ahead and it’s going to be a busy couple of months. I’ll be pushing to do the very best job I can and I know the race team and everyone at Enstone wants to finish this season with the strongest results possible, so naturally we want to get back on the podium as much as possible.
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