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Romain Grosjean's mixed emotions at final F1 race with Lotus before switch to Haas

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Romain Grosjean's mixed emotions at final F1 race with Lotus before switch to Haas
Nov 27, 2015, 8:40 AM

An emotional Romain Grosjean aims to sign off his career at Lotus with a stand-out performance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

An emotional Romain Grosjean aims to sign off his career at Lotus with a stand-out performance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

After 83 races with the Enstone-based squad, the only outfit he has raced with throughout his four-and-a-half season Formula 1 career, Grosjean is leaving to join the newly formed Haas F1 team, that will make its debut in 2016. The Frenchman’s time as a race driver for the Enstone squad was split over two stints – one half season in 2009 and his current four year run, which started in 2012.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Grosjean explained that he has mixed emotions,

Romain Grosjean

He said: “It’s sad to leave. [Enstone is] more than a team, it becomes a family through the years. It’s going to be hard to leave the guys but I know they won’t be far in the paddock so that’s good news.

“The first time I went to Enstone was September 2005, as one of the development drivers and I learned everything from there. Switching off the car on Sunday, jumping out of the E23 and thinking that was the last race with the team is certainly going to be quite hard.

“On the other hand I really want to push hard all weekend long to score good points, do a good result [to] thank the guys for all the support, through tough times [and] better times as well. It’ll be good to have a good weekend and say goodbye in a proper way.”

Romain Grosjean

The 29-year-old will switch to Haas F1 over the winter and he explained that the decision to move teams was partly motivated by the positive approach he saw from new boss, Gene Haas. The American squad also has a technical partnership with Ferrari and Grosjean hopes that link could lead to a move to the Scuderia as a replacement for Kimi Raikkonen in 2017.

He said: “I have already been seduced by their approach and when I met Gene Haas, the spirit was ‘let’s go racing’ and I liked that. I really liked their philosophy, discovering more and more about America.

“I think there is this American spirit with the European base as the team is going to be in between Italy and Banbury in the UK and then all the management in the US. So it can be a great mix.”

Romain Grosjean

Lotus was again delayed in the preparation of its cars and garage on arrival in Abu Dhabi, due to freight being held up; a situation it has faced at several points throughout the year due to financial issues, but Grosjean explained that the team had learnt from its recent difficulties and would use it as extra motivation to do well in the race.

He said: [It’s] something we have experienced in the past. We have always managed to put it on track on time. As long as it’s ready for FP2 then I’m happy.

“We’ll try to forget that, as we’ve shown in, I think it was Suzuka and Brazil when we were a little bit late. We did manage to put the car on track and go for it.

“It’s just harder work for the guys who don’t deserve this, but they are going to do the maximum and then from there we try to score some good points.”

Romain Grosjean

Grosjean’s final race with Lotus will be the 83rd he has driven for the Enstone squad, and he described his podium at the Belgian Grand Prix as his highlight of 2015.

He said: “I think the favourite moment is pretty easy - Spa Francorchamps, the podium. To summarise the year, it was a pretty good year I think in terms of driving.

“We had a good baseline to start the year with the car. We couldn’t really update it as much as we wanted but still fighting for sixth in the constructors’ championship, so pretty pleased with that and yeah, last year with Lotus.”

Romain Grosjean

What is your standout Grosjean performance from his time with the team? Will he succeed at Haas F1 next year? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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