8 October 2014
F1: Grosjean looking to hit ground running in Russia
Romain Grosjean is hoping that he can adapt quickly to the all-new Sochi F1 circuit and get Lotus an advantage on its midfield rivals.
Despite the Lotus team's parlous season, Romain Grosjean is hoping experience can play a part in boosting results at this weekend's inaugural Russian Grand Prix.
The Frenchman has scored all of the team's eight points this season, but has not featured in the top ten since Monaco. Now, with the F1 circus heading for another unique venue, he is hoping that talent on and off the track will pay dividends for Lotus as Sochi is added to the list of circuits visited in 2014.
“We all face the same challenge, but there is an element of how good the driver and team are at quickly getting a handle on the track,” Grosjean noted, “Hopefully, Sochi is a circuit which suits our car – but we won't know the answer to that until we get there!”
Like all of his rivals, Grosjean's only hint of what is to come this weekend will have been via the simulator at Enstone, but he admits that he will not get a proper idea of what the circuit entails until he arrives at the former Olympic Park.
“I've been driving the Sochi circuit on the simulator - it didn't look very sexy from the outside, but it actually seems to be really good fun,” the Frenchman said, “There's a great mix of corners and some good high speed areas too.
“Without a simulator, you get a basic idea of the track pretty quickly, but what the simulator does is let you speed up this process and make initial decisions about car set-up and so on. What the simulator can't do for a new circuit is give a precise idea of the grip levels you will find as it's a surface we've never raced on before. With any new surface, we'd expect the grip levels to change over the course of the weekend, so that will be part of the challenge.”
Revealing that he is particularly excited to be racing on the Olympic site 'because my grandfather competed in skiing events at the 1948 and 1952 events', Grosjean is hoping that he can hit the ground running and get an advantage over his midfield rivals, particularly after another frustrating weekend in Japan.
“It was certainly a race where you had to really concentrate and focus for every moment,” he said of Suzuka, “It was right that we should start behind the safety car, but it was right that the race was red-flagged once it became clear the conditions were too difficult.
“Once the rain stopped, the restart was good. We quickly moved from full wets to intermediate tyres and that gives a good gauge of how wet it was. As a team we didn't always make the correct decision with strategy, but it's hard to say if anyone does in changeable conditions like that...”
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