How good is it to get the third driver role with Lotus F1 Team?
Well, I'm really happy of course that the team want me to be with the team and I'm excited about the future. I hope that this is a really good start to a career in Formula 1.
What are your targets for the season?
Every day I will do the very best job that I can to give Lotus F1 Team the same passion and commitment that I showed last year. My last year in GP2
in 2012 was something I really focussed on, and in the end I succeeded. Now in Formula 1
my target will be a little different, but my focus to do the very best is still the same.
What is your experience so far of the team?
I took part in the young drivers test in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year and that was unbelievable. I've spent some time in GP2
but the step to Formula 1
is very different. Before the test I had not really spent much time in a Formula 1
car and to get the opportunity to have a full day's testing was an incredible experience. I was thankful to Lotus F1 Team to give me the chance, and I knew that I was in a position to do well as I was about to drive a car that, just two or three days earlier, Kimi had won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in! The day itself went very well, and I managed to top the timing board which made me very happy.
Last year you won the GP2
Series with DAMS, do you see your new role as the next step in your Formula 1
I very much hope, step by step, to get into Formula 1
as a race driver and being here as third driver is as near as you can get. It's a great opportunity here; if I do the best job I can this year then it will open up my chances for the future and we'll see if I'm good enough
How good is it to be continuing to work with Lotus F1 Team?
It's really an honour to continue working with the team as it means that I've done a good job; last year in particular. 2012 was interesting as I started doing some proper testing with the R30, on demo tyres. Since then, I've been working with the team on the simulator and technical programmes plus I completed the Abu Dhabi test in 2012, which was great.
You did do a good job on the first day of the Young Driver Test last year; looking back now, how significant and important was that test?
The test was very important; obviously when people put trust in you and give you that opportunity you want to deliver and we had a very challenging programme. It was also my first time in Abu Dhabi and at the Yas Marina Circuit so I had a lot to pick up quite quickly! At a test like this, no-one except the team can understand how well you perform. None of the different teams run the same tyres, no one runs the same fuel and you don't know what types of test each team are running in the car. So if Lotus F1 Team was happy with my performance then that's the most important thing to me and so to earn my current position shows the significance of that test.
What's your perception of the team? How have you seen the team grow and what is the feeling that you get from Enstone?
I would describe Enstone as being a big family; when people talk about F1 it's always that it is full of sharks, but in this team everyone I meet is so nice. The people are friendly – they want to win, they want to work and there is a very good atmosphere here. Every time I come here, should it be for a seat fit, or to come to train at the sport centre it's always a pleasure and I think that's one of the biggest strengths of the team.
For me, just to be in Formula 1
is already quite an achievement, but it is fantastic to be involved with one of the best teams – and I think Lotus F1 Team is really one of the best, and the underdog who is scaring everyone!
Jérôme, congratulations on staying with Lotus F1 Team for 2013, talk us through your role and how you see the season ahead…