Romain Grosjean has said that, while he departs for pastures new after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he is intent of leaving Lotus with the best championship position it can achieve.
The Frenchman is destined for F1 newcomers Haas next season, but has two races remaining as a Lotus driver and is keen to ensure that his long-term employer can hang on to at least sixth spot in the 2015 constructors' championship - and maybe sneak a top ten finish in the individual standings - even as the team's future is still being debated.
“I spent ten years of my life at Enstone, got to F1, they fired me once, I came back, made my way through, crashed a few times, scored ten podiums,” Grosjean reflected, “At the end, they gave me a lot and I give them a lot.
“The team wants to keep that sixth place in the championship but Toro Rosso is closing in, seven points behind, which is very little. Force India is not too far away [in fifth] either but keeping sixth is important for next year and so on. We are going to do our best, as it's in everyone's interest. We want to push hard on the race track and take opportunities as we did in Belgium.”
Grosjean snatched an unlikely podium at Spa-Francorchamps, albeit aided in large part by Sebastien Vettel's late retirement, and feels that the latest iteration of the Lotus E23 has improved since then, even if development has now ceased while the team works out its future.
“It's actually quite crazy to think the car we had in Belgium was the same as we had in Melbourne,” he laughed, “There were a few tricks here and there, but it didn't get big updates and we were still capable, even in Russia, of being in the top ten in qualifying.
“We are doing great. The baseline was really good from the beginning - there was a lot of potential to be developed, but I did know the situation was what it was.”
With just Brazil and Abu Dhabi left to run in black-and-gold, Grosjean will take some find memories of Lotus with him to Haas, and admits that he will always have a soft spot for the Enstone operation.
“We are going to split being equal, but I wish success for the team,” he noted, “That's all I want, because everyone who leaves the team will tell you the atmosphere is great. I'm going to miss the guys of course, but I won't be too far down the paddock, so they can always come through for a coffee...”