Friday, 1 May 2015

Lotus F1 Team Spanish Grand Prix Preview - Q&A with Romain Grosjean

(Lotus F1 Team)

Following a strong performance last time out at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean heads to the opening race of the European leg of the season at the Barcelona Circuit De Catalunya in Spain hoping to be in a position to challenge for more points.

The new Lotus E23 Hybrid has proven that it is a very quick car and the team started the season well claiming 12 points from the opening four flyaway Grand Prix of the season. Romain Grosjean took part in a Q&A ahead of the next weeks Spanish Grand Prix.

What does heading to Barcelona mean for you?

Barcelona means the start of the European season. That means we can travel less, which is good as you soon get bored of those long haul flights, even if the destinations are great when you get there! It also means we see quite a lot more updates on the cars, which can make everything interesting. We’ve had a couple of weeks since Bahrain and it’s only a short flight from Enstone to the circuit so there’s been a decent amount of time for some more developments to the car. The fans have a great spirit in Barcelona, which is a beautiful city full of culture that I really enjoy.

How do you like being on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya itself?

It’s a circuit we’ve seen pretty often in your career so I know it well, and I have some good memories from the past. It was our best circuit last year, and I also finished fourth back in 2012 as well as setting the fastest lap. It is a circuit everyone knows backwards, so as a team we go to Barcelona intent on getting much more performance from the car.

Any idea how many laps you’ve done around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya? Do you think you could drive a lap with your eyes closed?

It’s almost impossible to know. I’ve driven many, many laps of the circuit in F1 and in
different junior series I’ve competed in. I’ve drawn the track my eyes closed in the past….
Trying to drive a lap eyes closed in the simulator at the end of a day’s work could be fun. I’ll do it next time I’m in Enstone; I’ll let you know how I get on!

What are your favourite parts of the circuit?

I quite like the first section of the circuit in particular; it’s fast and you get a lot of grip from
the car as you can really feel the downforce pushing you hard to the road. I’m a bit less
of a fan of the final sector which is twisty but that’s where you can make the most lap time
improvement so it’s important to get it right.

What do you feel about the level of competition in F1 in 2015?

It’s pretty exciting. We see some good races with us fighting hard in the pack. Up front we’ve seen some good dicing and Ferrari have shown that Mercedes is not invincible.

How is the relationship with your new race engineer?

He’s bloody French! On a serious note, it’s going well. We started our working relationship on the right footing and we understand each other very well. All this is very important to make things work properly.

How do you review your first four races of the season?

In terms of performance we have achieved a one hundred percent record in reaching Q3 which is a very good result. We could have done more in the first two races had we not had a few issues but I think that we got everything right from China onwards. It’s very good to be in the top ten in qualifying and then play with the strategy in the race. I’m happy with the points we have scored these last couple of races, let’s now get more at every race and continue to improve.

© Ben Johnston 2015

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