From the moment Lotus decided to miss out the season opening Jerez F1 test in January they have been on the back foot, and their star driver Romain Grosjean admits things are a tad strange ahead of the Australian Grand Prix weekend because he has no idea what the source of the problems are.
Speaking to media in Melbourne, Grosjean said, “It’s not frustration it’s just a little bit of a strange situation because you don’t know what the car is.”
“You don’t know a lot of things – race simulation, set-up, starts, safety car, qualifying mode, overtaking or defending. It just adds a little bit of pressure that you have to learn all that on a race weekend which is not ideal, but it is what it is right now. There’s nothing we can do expect take things as they come day-by-day and tick the boxes as much as we can.”
“We had problems on the [installation lap] in Bahrain, [and then] we could do ten laps another time. It wasn’t things that were always the same issue, they were different, and I think a lot of them were coming from the software not putting the things right together. Software is something you can work on at the factory on the dyno so I trust they improve that.”
“If we improve every time we are out and the performance is kind of there,” he said when asked for a realistic weekend target. “I’d honestly rather prefer leading the race for 20 laps and then break everything rather than being four seconds off the pace and finish the race.”
“I jump out of the car and, yes, sometimes it has been a disaster. You go out with new tyres and everything breaks on the out lap and you have to come in and four times a day…”
“But I don’t think it’s any interest to blame anyone or just be angry and run away. The idea is to work together and try to get the best of what we can.
“Yes, it’s been a disaster winter for us. Renault has got their issues, we have got ours but on the other hand we have learnt a few things from the little running we did and all those things if we can get right for here that’s already a step forward.
“Renault I’m sure has upgraded the software and things will get better as well. On paper the car is good so, yes, there are a lot of things we want to learn but I won’t jump out of the car tomorrow and say ‘that is it, that is bad, that is beep, beep, beep’ or whatsoever.”
“Sometimes you can be a bit emotional when it doesn’t go as you want but so far it’s winter testing and not even the first race,” mused the Frenchman who starts his 46th grand prix on Sunday, and is still seraching for that first elusive win. (GP247)