Q and A with Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean was one of two new faces at the recent European Grand Prix when he was called up top take over from the struggling Nelson Piquet at the Renault Formula One team. Now, just a few days later, the Frenchman will take part in the Belgian Grand Prix, his first time in a Formula One car around this legendary track.
Here he speaks to the press as the build up for round twelve continues....
How are your thoughts about coming here and the commitment around these fast corners in only your second Formula One race?
Well, it is going to be interesting to see the difference between the Formula One car and the GP2 car. For me the aim is still to learn. I think there are still many things to learn. Having Fernando (Alonso) is a great help for me. I try to improve and see what he is doing to improve myself.
What about your feelings after your first grand prix? Were there any surprises for you?
Very hot. No, it was a nice grand prix. The aim was to finish the race, trying to get as much experience as possible. In this particular case it was very good. I could notice some things on the car which I didn’t notice before the race, so we know a little bit more where we can work here. It was very interesting for me, the start and all the procedures, the pit stop procedure, the length of the race. All this was quite new and there is still a lot to do about it but it was good to finish the race and get some experience.
And since then working up to this race? How much more homework have you done for this race?
Well, not much difference. I think the team helped me a lot before Valencia trying to send me as much information as possible and here I think they are doing the same. We have to take the weekend in the same way that we did Valencia, trying to improve session by session and to see what we can achieve by the end of the weekend.
Just a little personal question. Is it true you still work in your father’s bank?
Well, it is not my father’s bank. But, yes, I am still working in Geneva in the bank and I went on Tuesday morning, the only day I had in Geneva, and it was very good to stay with my previous life and get back to the bank. Everybody was very happy to see me there and it was a great moment.
Heikki is just considering whether to move his account to your bank?
Heikki KOVALAINEN: I think what Romain did was to go on Tuesday to check his bank account to see if Flavio (Briatore) had already paid it for him.
What do you expect from the corners here? Are there some which you are looking out for, some where you will be cautious in a Formula One car?
As Sébastien said, we have to go gradually during the session. Basically there is much more testing than in GP2, so we will have the time to go step by step and see where the biggest differences are and what we can do.
Do you take Sébastien as an example right from his first race at the beginning of the season he has scored some points and did a pretty good job?
I think that for myself it’s difficult to compare to anybody else. Every situation is different; I had no testing, I had just one race last week and we are here in Spa which is a monument in racing, a fantastic circuit but very difficult, I think. I will see. I will do my best and try to still learn a lot and at the end we will see.
As a young driver in your first seasons, even racer in Formula One, how do you see Barrichello’s motivation to keep racing and also winning, and do you see yourself in 15 years also motivated to be in Formula One?
It’s impossible to say what you are going to do in 15 years. For sure, Formula One is the best thing in the world for every driver who is here. We don’t want to leave and I think the best thing Rubens could do is win the race last week and this shows that he’s still fast enough and there is no age problem.
Romain, it was your Grand Prix debut last weekend but you were involved in a bit of weird situation in the pits when Luca Badoer moved out of your way. You guys were fighting for position on track. Have you ever experienced anything like that before, how did it compute in your head when that happened?
It’s still competition in the pits. I gained a place which was quite good. It was a bit of a moment but nothing different to what I was used to in GP2. I think we were fighting and it was the way to gain a position and at the end, it helped my race quite a lot.
Can I ask a question to Romain to compare GP2 and F1 because sometimes we watch GP2 races and they seem to be pretty chaotic, whereas F1 seems to be relatively, can I say, sensible. What are your feelings about it?
Well, to be honest I was quite surprised how difficult it is to follow a car in Formula One. I don’t know from where it came but for sure I was behind Luca Badoer for quite a long time in the first stint and I couldn’t get closer than 0.8s because you lose most of the downforce and the car goes much faster and this makes your life quite hard when you follow another car. I think there’s a different spirit of building the car. In GP2 all the cars are the same and the ground effect is quite big compared to the aero and in Formula One we are using more aerodynamic downforce than ground effect, so in the end it makes the race much harder to fight and to get close to another car.