Romain Grosjean has revealed that he and Lotus team-mate Kimi Raikkonen will get an equal crack at developing the Enstone team's new F1 contender once pre-season testing gets underway next month.
Inadvertently confirming that Lotus will likely unveil the car before the end of January, the Frenchman admitted that he was looking forward to getting a head start on what could be a crucial campaign after the criticism he attracted in 2012. Three four-day test sessions are slated for Jerez and Barcelona before the first race in Australia, beginning at the start of February.
“The next few weeks for me will be intense training, with the presentation of the new car at the end of the month,” the 26-year old told French sports programme Stade2
, “Then I will have six days of testing in February [before] the beginning of the season in March.”
Grosjean was again asked about the problems he endured in his first season back in the top flight, with a series of first lap incidents culminating in him being suspended for the Italian Grand Prix. The 2011 GP2 Series champion – who was slated by Mark Webber after a subsequent clash at Suzuka – has already admitted that he was trying to hard to claim his first F1 victory, but insists that he will be taking a more measured approach this time around.
“I do not think winning at all costs is the goal, because the dream is to become world champion one day,” he conceded, “Of course, it is true that you have to win races to be champion, but I must be careful not to mistake the goal.
“That's what cost me the nickname 'first lap nutcase' last year, but even that must be taken in context. Mark said it straight out of the car in Japan, with all the adrenaline of the race still inside him. I apologised which is the most I can do.
“I am not crazy, I am aware of the risks and I have worked hard to correct my mistakes. Over the last five races, I didn't have any other problems and there is no reason to believe that I will have anymore [in 2013].”
Grosjean partners Raikkonen for a second season this year, buoyed by the Finn's victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Lotus looks to rise to the challenge of taking on the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren.