Romain Grosjean admits that he now 'sees life differently' as he prepares for his second attempt at cracking F1.
The GP2 champion first appeared on the grid in 2009 when he was called up by Renault to replace Nelson Piquet, although a difficult spell behind the wheel ended with him failing to secure a full-time drive for 2010.
Having gone back to GP2 – via sportscars – Grosjean wrapped up the title last year to earn the chance to partner Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus this season and he admitted it was good to be back.
“It's just starting to sink in,” he said as the E20 he will drive this year was revealed. “It's a dream come true to get this drive. A fantastic emotion and a fantastic challenge as well. I think the team has a really good line-up for this year, with Kimi and myself. Hopefully we can do something special. I think I'll only truly realise it when we get to Melbourne and I see my name on the official entry list. For now I'm really happy to be at the factory as much as I can, to get involved with the team and get ready for testing.”
Grosjean admitted it was difficult to set too many aims for the year ahead, although he insisted he was approaching his F1 return with more maturity that when he made his debut.
“It's difficult to say how I should view this season,” he said. “For sure I did seven Grands Prix alongside Fernando and the experience I gained from that was helpful - and is still helpful today. On the other hand there are still some circuits that I don't know. But I don't think we can say I'm a rookie, just because of the experience I have. Let's say that I am a young driver who still has plenty of things to learn in Formula One, but we are all expecting a good season.
“Compared with 2009 I am two years older! [There is] no big difference, just an improvement in terms of many small things, including maturity. The 2009 experience was very helpful for me to understand things and grow up from that point. So it was difficult, but very good as well. The 2012 Romain Grosjean sees life a little bit different. My aim is to enjoy my number one passion, Formula One.”
The youngster added that his biggest challenge for the year ahead would be to ensure he gets the maximum out of the car every time he goes on track and to make sure he develops as the season goes on.
“Formula One is a big, big challenge, but I think the biggest challenge personally will be to get 100 per cent out of myself and the car, every time,” he said. “No mistakes. That is the life of a Formula One driver. You need to get 100 per cent out of the car, focus, concentrate and improve lap after lap. So I hope we can have a good car from the beginning of the season, some good ambitions going into the first race and just develop all season long.”