Following an impressive double podium in Bahrain, Lotus head into the European season with a chance to topple Red Bull in both championships. However, Romain Grosjean has suggested that the team need to improve their performances in Qualifying if they are to mount a sustained challenge. For a team which notoriously struggle for one lap performance, this may be easier said than done.
Grosjean exploded onto the scene last season, managing to eclipse veteran teammate Kimi Raikkonen in terms of short run pace. However, the Frenchman has experienced a challenging start to 2013 after suffering handling issues, compounded by a lack of updates. Despite this, Romain recovered in style in Bahrain, taking third behind teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. From Melbourne on-wards, it was evident that Grosjean was receiving upgrades after teammate Raikkonen, which severely hampered his performances. Romain recently acknowledged his downturn in form, stating, “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.”
Following his impressive recovery in Bahrain, Romain will be looking to again challenge Raikkonen for supremacy within the team. It is unlikely that he will obtain higher status, yet impressing Eric Boullier will be high on his agenda. It has to be noted that prior to the season opener in Australia, Boullier emphasized the importance of obtaining consistent points, which is Romain’s aim. He will undoubtedly hope to repay the team for the confidence they showed in him during the resigning process.
Looking ahead to next weekend’s race in Barcelona, Romain enthused, “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. 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.”