“I've learned from my mistakes,” said Lotus Formula 1 driver, Frenchman Romain Grosjean during an interview he gave Thursday to Canadian motorsport journalists.
Question (Q): Romain, how did you prepare yourself for the 2013 Formula 1 season?
Romain Grosjean (RG): “I worked hard. Today, I am in a good spirits. The past winter has not been easy. I got really scared of losing the Lotus drive. Some nights have been quite difficult. Early December, everything was still up in the air. But when I got the confirmation from Lotus, I worked hard to be in good spirits and physically prepared for Melbourne.”
Q: You were highly criticized last year for your mistakes. Did that influence you?
RG: “It's normal to be criticized sometimes. I was a rookie in F1, and I had to prove myself. Mark Webber was quite hard with me, but it was just moments after the accident, and he was angry with me. But days later, he apologized. I changed my approach and I worked on myself. I have learned from the ups and downs of my first season in F1. I have learned that if I lose one place at the start, I can gain it back during the race.”
Q: The new breed of Pirelli tires caused you and the other drivers a few problems during the winter tests...
RG: “Yes, indeed: We tested the new tires at the end of the last season, and the results were promising. But the temperatures were really cold during the winter tests in Spain, and the tires never worked properly. Their degradation was a lot faster than expected. After three or four laps, they lost their grip and we were slower by four to five seconds a lap. But we tested them in very special conditions, and it will be interesting to see how they will handle and behave in Australia. Pirelli is bringing super soft and medium tires to Melbourne, so we expect them to degrade very quickly.”
Q: The DRS (Drag Reduction System) will be used differently this year. Is that good news for you?
RG: “We will only be allowed to activate the DRS in the same zones as during the races. For us drivers this is very good news, because last year, it was a real challenge to activate the DRS in every straightaway, and sometimes in very fast corners. The usage of the DRS will remain unchanged during the races, however.”
Q: What's missing at Lotus to be a regular challenger to the bigger teams such as Red Bull Racing, Ferrari and McLaren?
RG: “The attention to details, for example. Last car, the car was sometimes very good and not so good other times. The team also had two new drivers last year, with Kimi [Raikkonen] returning to F1 after having spent two years in rallying. It will not be the case this year.
“You must keep in mind that this team has changed dramatically during the past few years. It was purchased from Renault by Genii. Then we had these front-exit exhausts that were a great technical breakthrough, but that we never managed to fully develop. And 2012 was a good season with several podiums and a win. So we are improving all the time.”