Grosjean: Now I have the tools at my disposal so I can really push
5 May, 2013
After his first podium appearance of the season in Bahrain, Lotus driver Romain Grosjean believes this was the start to some serious points scoring for him, as the Formula 1 season heads to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
The start to the season fell short of your high expectations, why did everything come good in Bahrain?
Romain Grosjean: It’s no secret that before Bahrain my feeling hasn’t been right with the car. It wasn’t the chassis, the aero or anything like that, but we took a while to get everything to my liking and that’s been frustrating. We managed to put our finger on the issue and I feel much more comfortable now. I really had a good sensation behind the wheel on Sunday in Bahrain, and a podium position at the end of the race was the result. I could put the car more or less where I wanted which is all you want as a driver. Third place was a deserved reward for everyone after all our hard work.
How good was it to get that podium after your tough start to the year?
RG: The race was really enjoyable with a lot of overtaking. There were a couple of tense moments where maybe things got a little too close, but it was a lot of fun! To come from P11 through to the podium is really satisfying. I saw P4 on the board and Paul [Di Resta] was not too far ahead, so I thought “come on, this is the podium, let’s go!” I knew I had fresher tyres but it wasn’t easy as I had to push but at the same time look after them, which is hard for a driver when you have another car in your sights. Luckily we managed to get past near the end, pull out a small gap and maintain it until the flag!
How do you feel the E21 is evolving?
RG: We’ve been able to see progress with the lap times so we know that the upgrades being brought in are working. Last year’s car was already very competitive – we achieved a total of 10 podiums in 2012 – so it’s good to see the team has retained and developed the best performing areas of the 2012 car for the E21. For me, after Bahrain, I’m feeling much more at home with the car and I hope that there will be many successes to come in 2013.
What are your thoughts on the topic of tyre management?
RG: Tyre management has always been part of the qualifying and race strategy. I don’t know about others, I just know that I always push as much as I can to obtain the best result possible. Of course, if you drive a certain way or adapt yourself you can get more out of the tyres than if you don’t, but that’s just part of being a racing driver; you always have to adapt to extract maximum performance.
What will be the key to a good weekend in Spain?
RG: In Barcelona it will be important to qualify well as it will be much harder to overtake than in Bahrain. As a team, this is an area where we can still improve a little bit, but we have some ideas of how to do that and hopefully we’ll be able to make the front row.
What are your thoughts on the Circuit de Catalunya?
RG: Everyone knows Barcelona very well from testing. The first four corners which make up the first sector are pretty fast, then there’s the slow final sector with between turns 10-15. Out of turn 15 you need a good rear end of the car with strong traction. It’s important not to overheat your rear tyres and managing degradation will be important – even with the harder tyres which are now allocated – as when you reach high degradation levels on your tyres you are nowhere on lap time. Tyre management will still be the key area for a good performance in the race.
What do you need to keep getting podium results?
RG: To keep finishing in front of the competition! We’ve had consistency already, finishing every race in the points, but now it’s the big results we’re chasing and getting the car as I want it has been a vital ingredient. Now I have the tools that I want at my disposal I can really push. In some ways you can say my season starts now! My podium in Bahrain was a very good start to that challenge. If we keep working the way we have been so far this season as a team I’m sure we can achieve great things.