27 February 2013
Lotus owner reassures Grosjean over long-term seat
Lotus owner Gerard Lopez has moved to reassure driver Romain Grosjean that he is very much a part of the F1 team's 'long-term' plans in the sport.
Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez has spoken out in support of the team's driver Romain Grosjean and said that the squad has committed to the Frenchman being a long-term part of their F1 plans.
That's despite a somewhat chequered first full season for Grosjean in F1, which saw him criticised for a series of race day mistakes culminating in a one-race ban following his part in sparking a turn one accident at Spa.
Even as Grosjean employed the services of a top sports psychologist to help him rebalance his mindset for the latter races of the season, the team seemed on the verge of dropping him and were slow to confirm that the 26-year-old would be returning to the line-up for a second campaign in 2013.
But Lopez, speaking to Press Association Sport, made it clear that Grosjean now enjoyed his full confidence heading into the new season and that the Frenchman need have no anxieties over the future anymore.
"We have essentially told him he's a long-term future with us, so now he can literally take it race by race, practice by practice - because he's got the speed to win races," said Lopez.
"Romain's a different guy," he continued. "He knows what he has to do. He doesn't have that pressure and stress," he added, referring to Grosjean seemingly pushing too hard, too soon in races during 2012 in an effort to secure his place within the team.
While Grosjean was still finding his feet last season, his more experienced team mate Kimi Raikkonen - a former world champion - threatened on many occasions to win races, but ultimately only succeeded once when he finally managed to hold off Fernando Alonso for victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November.
"Looking back, I think Kimi would have won more races last year," Lopez admitted. "So this season, winning more than one race is certainly an objective we should have."
And Lopez reckons that they have the drivers and resources to do just that.
"Overall, we think we've a very good pair of drivers and a good car, so we're quite positive," he said. "We've two drivers who are now really into it, who know the team, the car, the tracks."
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