Exclusive: Romain Grosjean Q&A
Frenchman delighted to be staying with Lotus in 2013
By William Esler
Last Updated: 12/04/13 7:28am
First of all congratulations on retaining your seat at Lotus. How does it feel to know you will be staying for another year?
RG: "It feels very good. I have been waiting on this news for quite a while now and I was really hoping for it. When I got it I felt really good, really proud and it is a sign of the confidence the team and the owners have in me. I am really looking forward to starting the 2013 season."
A lot of people will look at the timing of this deal and think it perhaps had something to do with the Race of Champions. How long ago was the deal agreed?
RG: "It was just before the Race of Champions, so it was good to get there and have a weekend of fun with some good guys and really enjoy it."
And speaking of the Race of Champions, how did you enjoy that experience?
RG: "It was good fun, I really like the Race of Champions. It was great to get to the final with France the first day and then I won on the second day the Race of Champions itself. The atmosphere is great with all the drivers from different categories - Mick Doohan and Jamie Whincup from Australia and Jorge Lorenzo from MotoGP and of course (Michael Schumacher), (Sebastian) Vettel and (Tom) Kristensen - they are good drivers and winning it was awesome."
Is it a true test of driver skill seeing as everyone is in identical cars?
"It is pretty fair. Sometimes you will drive one car a little more than another, but we are all pushing hard when the helmet is on then in the evening having a drink, so it is nice to end the season with that competition."
How have you found working with Kimi Raikkonen? Have you been able to learn anything from him?
RG: "Kimi I have learnt a lot from - he is a very good team-mate. I think we are doing well together and I am trying to push him to go quicker and then learn a lot from him and his experience in F1."
You received some negative press during the season, perhaps unfairly sometimes. Were there any dark moments, or were you able to put it out of your head and feel self-assured in your own abilities?
RG: "The end of the year was pretty hard for me. After the ban at Monza and getting back into the car and having to deliver straightaway was not easy. But then I really worked hard to try and improve and not make mistakes again - the first one to blame himself is me and the first one to lose as well.
"I was very sorry for the drivers that were involved. But I am not stupid - I know the risks and I will try not to make the same mistakes again and learn from that."
On a more positive note, you put in a number of impressive drives. Third on the grid in the first race of the year and three podiums this season as well.
RG: "We had some fantastic races and fantastic podiums and some very good qualifying sessions and I think generally we were very quick. So I think if we can maintain this speed and improve the consistency - that is what we really want and we can go from there."
And finally what are you goals for 2013? Can you challenge for the title?
RG: "The objective is to do my best, my best race and the best job for the team - I need to get out of the car and know I did the best I could - and of course scoring points as well. But I am not going to put any big objective straightaway - I am just going to do things the best I can."