Romain Grosjean on the Spanish GP - “We Will Have to See What We Can Pull out of the Hat!”

After clinching a podium in just his second Grand Prix finish of the season, Romain’s beaming smile could be seen for miles around. Now, the Frenchman looks ahead to the rest of the season confident that his campaign has well and truly begun

3rd place Romain Grosjean, Lotus Renault F1 Team
3rd place Romain Grosjean, Lotus Renault F1 Team

Photo by: xpb.cc

The Circuit de Catalunya is a track the team know well…

We know the track well from testing in the winter, it’s an even track on its handling requirements from the car, and as we head back to Europe it will be a good benchmark for the rest of the European campaign. Everyone knows Barcelona very well because of testing. The first sector is pretty fast with the first four corners, then a slow final sector 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 degradation will be key in Barcelona, as when you reach high degradation on your tyres you are nowhere on lap time. Tyre management will be the key for a good performance in the race. Let’s see what the temperatures are like. If it’s as hot as Bahrain, the E20 should work well…

How much more developed is the car from the pre season tests in Barcelona?

In the test we attended we were P1 after the four days so hopefully we will be there again! Every team is working very hard to develop their cars. We have a good understanding of the E20 after the Mugello test and we hope to bring some new parts to Spain too. It’s always a battle to keep ahead in the race to get faster. As we have seen this season, the competition is very close, and a small improvement can make a huge difference.

Any particular challenges you expect from the weekend?

In Barcelona it will be important to qualify well, and it will be much harder to overtake than Bahrain. Qualifying is an area where we can still improve a little bit ourselves, we have some ideas of how to improve, and hopefully we’ll get on to the front row.

How difficult to understand and how critical for performance are the tyres this season?

The difference between compounds is a little bit bigger than it was before. We have seen that it’s really difficult on the strategy side to get the best results. You have to strike a balance between taking sufficient risks to beat your opposition but not so much that you encounter difficulties; equally you lose out from being too conservative. You can gain a lot of time from an aggressive strategy, but you can lose a lot of time from an aggressive strategy. Barcelona is the hard and soft tyre allocation. Let’s see how it goes, but I think both compounds work very well on our car. It will be harder for qualifying as the lap time difference between the two compounds will be bigger so maybe we will have to use the soft tyre from Q1 onwards.

After a difficult first two races you said that your season starts in Shanghai. Points there and a podium in Bahrain were the result. What can happen next in Barcelona?

We will have to see what we can pull out of the hat! We still need to build step by step. The two last races have been really good, both for the team and for myself. I will give my best in Barcelona and the goal for the next races is to get as far up the driver standings as I can. I still have a lot of things to learn, I’ve only completed four Grand Prix as a full time driver for the season. It’s not too much experience but every Grand Prix I finish is a fantastic experience for me. For sure the podium in Bahrain gives me confidence for Barcelona.

Barcelona is the next stop on the Formula 1 calendar as the European phase of the season gets underway next weekend.