Romain Grosjean insists that he enjoys a good working relationship with Lotus team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, even if he finds the Finn less than communicative.
It is Raikkonen's way to be economical with words, as the F1 media has found – in equal measure of amusement and frustration - over the years, but Grosjean says that they have established a rapport when it comes to driving the Enstone team forward.
“He doesn't speak much, but that doesn't mean that he's not a good team-mate,” the Frenchman told the official F1 website, ”We are working pretty well together. He has the experience and that is good. Our driving styles are different, but the feelings and the comments are pretty much the same, so the engineers know that, if something is working for one, the likelihood that it is also working for the other is very high. That makes things a lot easier. Everything is open in the team.”
Perhaps the biggest difference between the pair last season was that Raikkonen's finishing record was exemplary, with the Finn completing more laps than anyone else in the field. Grosjean, meanwhile, became infamous for his propensity for accidents, and much has been made of the brink upon which he teetered when it came to being brought back into the fold for 2013.
“I have to confess that the month of December was hard,” he conceded, “But I had very good talks with the bosses of the team. We had deep discussions to see what we can do - and I know now what I have to do and now I can move on.
“I had to promise that I would work hard and be consistent. In fact, I was the first one to be in pain when it was going wrong, so I promised to 'do things' rather than 'not do things' ever again.”
Despite the setbacks, which included being sat for the Italian Grand Prix for causing the first corner pile-up in Belgium, Grosjean showed flashes of the potential that took him to the 2011 GP2
Series title, and believes that he has earned another shot at proving himself in the top flight.
“I think it doesn't happen very often that a driver in his first full season delivers three podiums and fights twice for the win,” he pointed out, “I think that this is a pretty good recommendation for any driver - not only a rookie. It is true that there have been many talks about my incidents, but hardly any talks about what I have delivered. I have had some very good races, so I have shown that I can do it. Hopefully this season will show that the team and I were right.”
Despite some reliability worries during pre-season testing, Lotus showed itself to have similar pace to the established frontrunners, giving Grosjean reason to be optimistic for the year ahead.
“Under the circumstances we had at all three tests, we are pretty satisfied with how it went,” he confirmed, “We have been checking and double checking to make sure that, set-up wise, we are taking the right direction and, hopefully, by Friday evening [in Australia] we will have all the answers and work from there.
“We have some new bits and pieces on the aero side, which is the main thing that you want to have on the car. Melbourne is a very specific track - hugely different to most tracks we will race during the year - so hopefully we have brought the right answers to this very specific situation.”