In 2013 Romain Grosjean was a regular front-runner with Lotus, but this year the combination is struggling to even do any decent mileage with the finicky Renault power unit and their troublesome new car, and when they do manage to circulate new problems emerge.
Speaking to media at the end of the first day of free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, Grosjean reflected, “We have to work and then try and solve our issues. Every time we do some more mileage we had more issues. [In FP1] it was 100% Renault issue, so we couldn’t do any laps.
“In FP2 we burned a cable and that broke a gearbox, which was a stupid thing. We burnt it, came back in, went back out but the bearings were broken from the first time,” explained the Frenchman.
Last year Grosjean scored six podium finishes and more than once looked good for a first grand prix win, the memory of which keeps him motivated during these times of trouble.
“Luckily I had a good season last year! As a driver I don’t get out of the car and say ‘I’m not working anymore!’ Of course you swear a little bit in your head but at the moment it is only the second race of the season.”
“We know we started on the back foot, we know we have problems, we just have to take it step by step. We knew we were not good in terms of core engine. It’s not perfect.”
“It’s a little better than when our brake-by-wire was not working. We knew tyres would be a problem but we can’t understand them with a good run.”
Grosjean is adamant that there will be a turnaround in fortunes sooner than later, “I honestly hope we can do some more work tomorrow in qualy, and then we go to Bahrain, so I hope we will catch up step by step but I am unable to tell you we are good from Barcelona onwards.”
“It might be that we say ‘that was the problem’ or discover a better management of the charge and then everything is perfect. It could take longer, we don’t know. If our car is running, and Renault brings us more performance and more consistency in reliability, and we do our homework then yes we can catch up.”
“I don’t want to say we can be fighting for podiums in races but we can certainly get closer to a decent level,” ventured Grosjean. (GP247)