Following Friday’s announcement, that Romain Grosjean will race alongside 2007 world champion Kimi Räikkönen next season, we caught up with our new race driver in Paris-Bercy at the Masters Karting yesterday…
You’ve got a big smile on your face! Is that just because you are racing at Bercy?
Right first time! (smiles) Not really, my smile owes a lot to the fact I’ve got the seat with Lotus Renault GP. It’s still an incredible feeling, and really it’s the start of a fantastic adventure for me. I want to underline the fact that I have benefitted from the trust of certain people in Genii, LRGP and Total who have invested in me, and I’m very happy to be here in Bercy in the thick of the crowd to celebrate all this with them.
Generally speaking, a lot of drivers spend the winter waiting for a reply from a team. For you it’ll be much more relaxed, won’t it?
Yes. I had to wait a little but I’m going to enjoy a much more relaxed winter from that point of view. I’m going to take advantage of it to do what has to be done and spend as much time as possible with the team in Enstone. Then we’ll start the first test sessions, and we’ll see to it that we arrive in Melbourne for the first grand prix having stacked all the odds in our favour to put on a good performance.
What do you do when you’ve got some free time and you’re not at the factory?
Well obviously I train as you have to be in tip-top physical condition and it is also a good opportunity to return to basics. Apart from that I like to get back in the kitchen again!
Is that your hobby?
It’s important. It is a way for me to relax, to shrug off the pressure and have time for myself. It’s really my second passion.
Do you feel pressure here in Bercy?
When you arrive on the grid there is always a little pressure. But everybody’s basic aim is to enjoy themselves and put on a thrilling show for the crowd. It is a great event that has been organised again after a ten-year break so we are here to have fun.
What are your kart memories in Bercy?
At the very beginning I hadn’t yet started my career in motor racing. But I remember those evenings with my father when we watched the Masters Kart on TV, especially the first one with Senna and Prost as well as the junior races, in which the drivers went at it hammer and tongs!
I just want to enjoy a lot of happiness in the future
What do you think of the new electric karts?
Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised. I was wondering what effect the lack of noise would have on my driving. But you hear other sounds like the tyres, the bearings and there is another perception of noise that helps you to adapt your driving style. As for the overall performance I think the organisation has done a great job in supplying us with a quick reliable kart. Bercy is a bit special as a track. I like coming into the arena surrounded by the crowd, going through the wings and shooting back out into the light.
What would you like to find at the foot of your Christmas tree?
I have already received a beautiful Lotus Renault GP! So really I just want to enjoy a lot of happiness in the future and continue to relish things as much every time I step into my F1 car.