Romain Grosjean has acknowledged that lessons learned early in his F1 rebirth will probably serve him well as he seeks a car worthy of his ability.
The past two seasons have been frustrating for the Frenchman who, having apparently overcome the demons that plagued his return to the F1 fold – and prompted Mark Webber to christen him the 'first lap nutcase' – has found a Lotus team that has failed to live up to the performances it enjoyed when Grosjean was partnered by Kimi Raikkonen. Although he occupies a top ten championship position heading into the second half of 2015, Grosjean – like many others – yearns for the chance to prove himself in the way that he did in the junior formulae.
Ironically, Raikkonen held the key to perhaps his best chance of landing a race-winning car for 2016, but Ferrari ultimately opted to re-sign the Finn over a host of rumoured replacements, leaving Grosjean to contemplate alternative options, and accept another year in F1's waiting room.
“The paddock is quite small, and we are a group of young drivers that really want to get a winning car,” he confirmed, “[Daniel] Ricciardo won last year, but [Valtteri] Bottas, [Nico] Hulkenberg, [Felipe] Nasr, we really want to get somewhere where we can win races. That's why we love the sport, that's where we want to be and that's what we want to do.
“I think you can clearly understand the stability that Ferrari wanted after they made a lot of changes last winter. Kimi is still a really good driver, he was on course for a podium in Budapest and you can understand they want the stability [but], as a racing driver, racing in red must be something special.”
Grosjean compared well to Raikkonen when they were paired together at Enstone, joining the Finn on the podium on more than one occasion but failing to mirror the veteran's achievement of returning black-and-gold to the top step.
“I have learned that, to win a race, you need to be patient, and not play everything in the first corner,” he said, humour not betraying the frustration that must be burning inside, “Maybe to win a world title you need the same thing – patience.
“It's true that [F1]'s been quite conservative for a few years, but I think you need to wait your time and that is part of the game. The best you can do is to pull out good results from where you are, and hope that, some day, your chance comes.
“I know what I am doing. I know that, this year, I am probably driving better than I have ever been driving. So, as long as you are straight, or proud of what you are doing, then you assume that other people are seeing it.”