Romain Grosjean looks to the Chinese Grand Prix hoping to celebrate his 28th birthday with an improved performance at Shanghai and a crack at the points for Lotus.
What are your thoughts on the Shanghai circuit?
Shanghai is not my favourite race of the year, but I will be spending my 28th birthday there so let’s make it good! It’s quite a particular circuit where it is not always easy to find the right setup and the temperature can also be cold. You never know what to expect, except that there will be a monster traffic jam to get to the circuit! I scored my first Formula 1 points at Shanghai in 2012 and scored points again last year when Kimi finished second for the team. So let’s hope that’s a good omen and we can add to the good memories, next weekend.
How will it suit the E22?
I don’t know to be honest. It’ll be interesting and challenging for us but still the emphasis is on getting good track time so we can be as prepared as we can be for when our season really starts at Barcelona next month. There’s a very long back straight and some high-speed corners. There is a lot we need to do with the E22 and we certainly need some better P U performance. Of course we’ll do our best to score our first points of the year. That is our goal, our target.
What happened at the post-race Bahrain test?
Unfortunately we struggled with the PU and couldn’t manage many laps. We did some aero work but compared to the programme we had planned it was far too little. We want to work but if the car won’t run cleanly there is not much we can do. We have to keep pushing and be motivated to learn what we can, when we can.
Do you wish there was more testing available with these new cars?
Yes of course. Every time we go testing we seem to have problems and this situation hasn’t helped us. Luckily in the races it’s been better and we have gained knowledge from a performance point of view. But I do wish we had more testing as we’re currently playing catch-up. When you’re struggling a bit, all this new technology means it’s hard to get the reliability. We haven’t been very lucky with testing so far.
How is it for you as a driver this season – is it more work inside and outside the car?
It’s still Formula 1 so you are prepared and focused 100% on every aspect. Driving is certainly very different to last year though. It is much slower in the race, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier. We have a lot more to change inside the cockpit and a lot more to think about with the energy recovery and the way we actually race. That is harder than last year but a great challenge. But physically it is easier because the cars are slightly slower.
What is your target for the next few races?
Obviously, the target is to try to get better results. We have lots of parts for the car which should make it faster, but we need reliability to be able to test these. So far, when we’ve finished it’s been just outside the points. If we can get a little bit more performance and reliability, we’ll be finishing in the points. We can build a strong season from this point on and everyone is concentrating on this goal. We just have to push as hard as we can and stay as positive as possible even when the going gets tough. As a team we have to stay united, it will make us stronger as a unit.
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