With Kimi Raikkonen
exiting Lotus F1 for Ferrari
at the end of the season, the team is looking to Romain Grosjean
to lead the team in 2014 - and the Frenchman says that he's ready for the challenge.
"If I'm here to race, the dream will be to become world champion and if I become world champion then I need to be number one. That's what I'd like to achieve," he said. "It's quite natural.
"I've been in the team for two years," he pointed out. "Now that Kimi's going, I'll do what I did in the last few races, keep doing a good job, and from there things will naturally turn."
But Grosjean wasn't playing down how much of a blow losing Raikkonen will be for the Enstone-based team next season. "I always said he'd be a loss for the team," he admitted. "He's a really good driver, no doubt about that. We push each other hard in the sessions to go as quick as we can and he has been very consistent.
"I think it was good experience to be alongside him. But it's next season and hopefully it will not change too much," he continued. "I'll keep doing a good job, keep doing what I enjoy, be happy with my races and, as I said, from there things should naturally turn towards the positive side."
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier confirmed that Grosjean would certainly remain with the team in 2014, and gave his compatriot a strong vote of confidence for his performance so far this season, compared to his rocky return to F1 last season.
"Obviously in the last year it was a bit difficult for him but this year he is doing a great job and in the last four races we have nothing to complain about," said Boullier "He was 100 per cent up to speed with his famous team mate so we will just see now and if everything goes as planned, he will have a great future with us."
Grosjean added the loss of Lotus personnel to Ferrari
- former technical director James Allison and former head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer will join Raikkonen at Maranello - would not hold back Lotus in 2014/
"To me the team is getting stronger. It's been three years in a row that we've done a very good car; there's still a few areas where we can improve clearly to be part of the top two, maybe. But it's the getting there," he said. "I don't see any reason why it should go back and the money situation should get better and better.
"I like the atmosphere and I like the team," he added. "I live very close to Enstone so I can get there often and I really feel at home."