(© Ben Johnston 2015)
The Lotus F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean heads into his 4th season with the Enstone outfit in 2015 and will be looking to challenge at the front of the grid on a regular basis.
The team who finished the 2014 campaign in 8th place in the championship have moved to Mercedes Benz power which they hope will allow them to extract the best possible performance from the E23 Hybrid.
The new car looked extremely quick during winter testing and both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado are very happy with the work that the team did over the winter. Grosjean took part in a Q and A session with the team.
The season start is with us already – are you ready to go?
I am ready! On the one hand it seems like it was ages since the last race in Abu Dhabi, on the other, it seems like we’ve only just seen the new car and pre-season testing finished so quickly!
What are your thoughts when you think of Albert Park and the first race of the year?
Albert Park is still one of my favourite Grand Prix circuits, so it will be good to get there and get the season started and there’s always a great atmosphere. It’s a fantastic track and the changing scenery as you drive through the park is incredible. Of course it’s a great country and I always enjoy visiting Australia, although as someone who loves their sleep, I still haven’t found the perfect strategy to counter jet-lag!
Is it a challenging venue for the first race?
It is, and not only because of the jet-lag! We know it can be a tricky circuit; it’s not a permanent track so the surface and its layout gives us plenty to think about. We’re still quite early in our understanding of the E23 and how it works so we’ll be kept busy finding the correct set-up and getting everything working as we want it to. The weather can make things pretty difficult too – three years ago we had lots of rain and even had to finish qualifying on Sunday morning! Hopefully the weather will be good this year! You can say that everyone will be in the same position of not knowing what to expect, and with all the car changes I imagine there will be a few surprises! For us the weekend will be maximising the time on track, aiming to finish the race and getting the best result possible.
This will be your fourth full season with the team – what are your goals?
This season will be very much about reminding people how good Lotus F1 Team and Romain Grosjean can be! People have very short memories in Formula 1 and it’s true we had a tough fight for results in 2014 so some people have forgotten the performance we showed in 2013 and 2012. We have a lot more potential for strong results this season so we’ll be pushing to show that at every race, and what better a place or time than at Albert Park?
Where’s your ‘head at’ coming into the season opener?
I’m in a good place. I’ve had a great winter where I’ve been able to spend time with my wife and son. I’ve done plenty of training. I’ve been at the factory and I’ve been out in the new car so everything’s been going well in the pre-season build-up. I head to Australia very eager to jump in the car and get out on track.
How much change do you expect there to be through the field relative to last season?
Certainly for us there is a lot of change! This time last year we were nowhere, so this year is particularly positive. For sure, we still have work to do and our car’s not perfect, but we have a great platform from which to build and I’m sure we’ll have lots of good developments to come with the E23.
The Australian Grand Prix can be quite an eventful race with numerous incidents over the years: how frustrating will it be if things don’t go to plan?
It’s the nature of motorsport that results don’t always go your way, but we’re approaching this race like any other; trying to achieve the very best result we can. It’s one race in twenty, but it’s always nice to start the season with a strong result, let’s hope we can get that in 2015.
© Ben Johnston 2015