On the day of his confirmation as driving for Lotus F1 Team for 2015, Romain Grosjean answers the questions and gives a little insight into the hows, wheres and whys of his future with the team.
How does it feel to finally announce your 2015 plans?
We’ve been waiting to announce it for a while now so it’s really good to finally confirm that I will be staying with the team next season. My finger’s been poised over the tweet button for quite a while and there might even have been a little jump-start! Fortunately, there’s no stop and go penalty!
Why Lotus F1 Team?
I think we make a great combination. We’ve been working together for a long time now and I certainly didn’t want to leave on a performance low like we’ve seen in 2014 as we’ve enjoyed some beautiful moments together. It would have just felt wrong to say goodbye in a tough patch like we have had in 2014, because I know what everyone at Enstone is capable of. Moments like this can either make you stronger or destroy you and I’m sure that the team is only going to learn from what has been a hard year.
We’ve seen (and heard!) some frustration from you in 2014, but what’s your vibe looking to the future?
I’m very pleased, happy and proud to be part of Lotus F1 Team for next year and excited at the prospect of being powered by the Mercedes engine which has looked so strong this year. The E23 should be a good step forward, building on all the lessons from 2014. I’ve spent a lot of time at the factory working with everyone, and the relationship I have with the team is very strong. We’ve had some good moments and tough ones and we always stay together, which makes it even more attractive for the future.
After what has been a trying season, do you expect the team to come back stronger next year?
It’s easier to say than to do, but I firmly believe that you always learn much more from difficult rather than easy situations. Not only has the team learnt an enormous amount this season, but I think I’ve also improved massively. Two years ago I’d probably have dealt with this situation completely differently but I’ve managed to stay composed. I’m looking forward to seeing us work hard and develop during the winter. We all now have a much clearer picture of what we are focusing on and avoiding in terms of plans for the E23. We’ve been working on it for quite some time and things seem positive, so I really hope when I get in the car at pre-season testing I get that special feeling when you know it’s going to be a good season. I’m not saying we will be back at our 2013 levels when we were extraordinarily good for the size of our budget that we had. Personally, I am hoping we can challenge the front runners, score a few podiums and points and get back into the top five in the Constructors’ Championship and I want to taste champagne with the team again!
How deep have you had to dig this season, how tough has it been?
News like this helps me a lot to forget about the difficult moments. Of course when you’re out on track it’s not always easy and sometimes I show my passion to succeed on the radio as we’ve had quite a bit of frustration this year. Equally, every time we go in to the engineers’ office we sit and learn. For 2015 we have many lessons we can put into practice.
How much contact will you have with the factory during the off-season?
I live around 45 minutes away from the factory so I’ll be popping in regularly to see how things are going and how development on the car is progressing. If ever the team needs me, they just call me and I’ll come down and see if I can help, although some of my fabrication skills are probably best not employed on a Formula 1 car!