Lotus driver Romain Grosjean believes France will fall in love with F1 again this season.
Indeed not only is there strong speculation that the country could hold a grand prix in 2013, with Paul Ricard thought as the most likely venue [see separate story - click here
], but in 2012, there will be three full-time French drivers on the grid, with Grosjean joined by Jean-Eric Vergne at Toro Rosso and Charles Pic at Marussia F1.
“The French fans have been waiting for a while to have a driver to follow in F1 and now there are three of us,” Grosjean said. “Grand Prix is of course a French term, so the country certainly has a lot of history within the sport! Hopefully we can help develop support for F1 in France again.”
Grosjean meanwhile was at Lotus' Enstone base on Wednesday as he gears up for what will be his second chance at the pinnacle of the sport, after doing seven races with the squad at the end of 2009, albeit in its former guise as Renault.
“First of all, I had a chance to sit in a mock-up of the 2012 chassis,” added the 25-year-old, who earned the second seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen after winning the 2012 GP2 Series.
“It's always something special to sit in a new car for the first time, very exciting and very cool! We also discussed plans for next year with the new regulations, new tyres, and what to expect during Grand Prix weekends.
“It's always a great feeling coming to Enstone, I enjoy walking around the factory talking to the different departments and getting to know everyone. I've been a member of the team since last year and I know the engineers and mechanics well, but as a driver you never stop learning.”
Despite that though, he thinks his work with the team in 2011, will stand him in good stead: “It was great working with the team last year as it allowed me to form a good understanding with the guys,” he continued. “It's really important to spend time with the team in pre-season, especially as we will have 20 Grand Prix weekends together this year, so more than 100 days!
“It's best we get off to a good start. I'll probably see them more often than my fiancée this year, actually!”