Having admitted that he put too much pressure on himself to break his F1 victory duck in 2012, Romain Grosjean says that his only aim for the coming season is to prove that he can be a regular contender.
The Frenchman was pilloried for a series of opening lap accidents on his return to the top flight, and was eventually suspended from the Italian Grand Prix after being found guilty of causing a first corner pile-up in Belgium that eliminated championship contenders Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, amongst others. Having subsequently been caught up in a melee at Suzuka, Grosjean – who returned to F1 as reigning GP2 Series champion – admitted that he had been too keen to try and grab his first grand prix win having landed a car, the Lotus E20, which was clearly capable of success.
Speaking at the launch of the E20's successor in Enstone on Monday evening, the Frenchman insisted that he was not about to put himself under the same sort of pressure, despite team-mate Kimi Raikkonen having showed that Lotus was capable of winning races by triumphing in Abu Dhabi.
“I can clearly say I want to score a lot of points for the team - everybody knows that - but I think it would be wrong for me to say I want to finish in a particular position in the championship,” he acknowledged, “I really want to jump out of the car as many times as possible thinking that I did a good job, knowing that everything I could do, I did, and feeling proud of my race or session. I hope to feel that way as many times as possible this year.
“I think everyone is waiting to see if I'm able to be consistent, which is where I was lacking a little bit last year. I know it and I'll do everything I can to prove to people that I'm able to achieve this goal.”
Despite having been made to wait until after his shock win in the 2012 Race of Champions before being confirmed alongside Raikkonen for the coming season, Grosjean has been able to monitor the progress of the E21 at Enstone, and admits that he is excited about the start of testing in a week's time.
“I like the development process and I really like seeing the new car 'growing up',” he commented, “You see the first design, you see it being tested in the wind tunnel and then, finally, after a long time, you see the finished car. It's very interesting and I really like to follow it and understand as much as I can, without being an engineer.
“All through last year, the feedback given about the E20 was interpreted by the development team for the E21. This means there's a lot of information from me and Kimi which went into this car. It's difficult to say after the season 'we would like this or that' for next year - I think it's more about the work done during the whole season, discussing this or that, or an idea about this or that. After 20 races, you know more-or-less what has been good with the car and what hasn't. Hopefully we've made the right calls for this year.”