It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster start to the season for you with ups and downs. Was it good to have that break in the summer, reset a bit and take stock of the season that had been so far?

Romain Grosjean: Yes and no. I think for everyone, it’s always good to have a break and recharge the batteries, especially knowing that we’re going to go into those long travel races soon. On the other hand, the two races before the break were quite good. It’s nice to get some family time. For racing, it’s not a huge difference.

In the first half of the season you had some down points, but the high points you had were really strong, with the team’s best ever result in Austria and your charge to sixth in Germany as well. Can you take a lot of heart and a lot of pride in those displays?

RG: Yeah, they were good moments. They were nice. I think Budapest was going very well until the wet qualy, and then if you don’t make it to Turn 1 as good as you could, things go the other way. I think generally, just the team being strong everywhere and being able to do some good results and keep the car in front of the midfield over the first part of the season has been really good.

Has it been good for you this year getting into the car at every race and knowing it’s going to be quick, it’s going to give you a good chance to fight for points?

RG: Yeah. We didn’t really know what to expect from Hockenheim and Budapest, and obviously we were fast. That was good. Here, Monza, Singapore, they’re all circuits that should be alright.

When was the last time you had a car where you felt you could be competitive week in, week out? 2013 maybe?

RG: To be fair 2015 was quite good as well. The Lotus wasn’t bad. But obviously 2013, it was on a different level because we were fighting for podiums most of the time. It’s one step more. But it’s good that we knew we were going to a track and it was always going to work.

Is there a lot of pride in being here from the very beginning as the first driver announced, and now to see the team be so strong and become one the leading midfield teams, you must be proud to have been part of that journey?

RG: Yeah. It’s been a great journey. It was a risk coming in, but I think it’s a really good experience, very strong as well, helping to build the team and helping to make the car better. Similar in 2014 and 2015 with Lotus, when we had that awful car and we got back to quite a decent car for the year after, and trying to give the best feedback to not do the same mistakes. Here, the same thing. The feedback to working with the car, what we need to go faster, and then all the guys have been working to translate that into performance. It’s really good. Even the way the race team works, I think being on the podium a few times as well helps to understand what it takes to get to that level.

That’s a challenge very few drivers go through in their career, being in from day one. You took the risk and people questioned that at the time, but you seem to have proven them wrong.

RG: Yeah exactly. It’s been a great choice, and I’m very happy that I’ve done it. It came at the right time for me in my career. I’m one of the few drivers in the paddock who’s got the best qualy, the best race result, the most points scored for a team!

Kevin Magnussen has spoken a lot about the stability at Haas compared to other teams. Do you think that’s been key to its success? What other factors have there been?

RG: I know Enstone, but I don’t know McLaren. I think a small team is always easier in a way there is more communication, but I’ve been through a really rough time at Lotus, when we scored a podium here with the bailiff in the garage and so on. But the guys and the working group was very stable and very good. I don’t exactly see what he meant. I think the team is getting stronger and is really good, and it’s a nice atmosphere and good people managing it, Gunther and Gene Haas as well. It’s probably what he meant.

That faith you have in Gunther, you said a couple of weeks ago that everything he had said to you about the future for this team has come true. It must be great to have that kind of faith and trust in him?

RG: It’s good, it’s really good. We had a couple of chats before I signed for the team, but I just felt like he knew what he was talking about and he knew where he wanted to go. He wasn’t selling bears! He was selling facts. I’m just super happy that I’ve had that experience.

Looking into next year as well, the driver market has been going into overdrive. Are you any closer to knowing what you’re doing for next season?

RG: Yes and no. It could be a day away, it could be a month. You never know in that sport. I’d be very happy to stay. There could be other opportunities that could be nice as well. I don’t know. One thing is that I want to stay in Formula 1. I’m lucky to be a driver with experience, 10 podiums in F1 as well. There aren’t that many out there that have had a lot of podiums and so much experience. That plays into my hands. Obviously the beginning of the year doesn’t, because it hasn’t been great. But I’m confident I’ve sorted out the issues and got to the bottom of them, and I’m ready move on.

Those issues - what were they? A case of getting used to the car?

RG: No, no, it’s different. Mistakes that I’ve done that I shouldn’t have done, getting to the bottom of them and getting to understand why. Initially this year, the handling of the car wasn’t as good as I wanted, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t fast. It was a bit more complex than that.

We saw a lot of changes through the summer, seeing Daniel Ricciardo announce his move to Renault and Fernando Alonso decide to quit F1. Does any of that impact you do you think?

RG: I think it has opened a bit the driver market. Every time there is a retirement it does. There is a seat open at McLaren potentially, Red Bull obviously they promoted [Pierre] Gasly, but they know they’re in a bit of a difficult situation with Toro Rosso, because they don’t have any young drivers with super license points. It’s actually quite good fun. Maybe the opportunities are opening for different people, so we’ll see.

In your push for a top seat in F1, your name was thrown about a lot in recent years. Do you think your chance has passed to move up to one of the top, top teams now?

RG: I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t tell you. It could be. It could well not be. You never know. Of course if I’m racing, it is to try and win races and try and be world champion. I think with the way Formula 1 is at the minute, it’s very closed and there are no changes in the top teams, which is a bit of a shame. Hopefully that gets better in the future. But on the other hand, Daniel going to Renault is a bit of a surprise for everyone. Red Bull promoting Pierre is great for him, but they could well have been looking for a driver with a bit more experience, so then your chance could come. You never know.

In terms of trying to make it better in F1 for the future, you’re very involved with the GPDA. Are you satisfied with where F1 is going for 2021? Do you feel you’re getting enough information about that?

RG: No, we don’t have much information about 2021. I read in the press that it was 18-inch tyres, and I truly hope that Bridgestone or Michelin come back. To me, one of the big problems with Formula 1 right now is tyres, for overtaking, or even being able to follow another car closely to make the excitement. It’s just not possible. A bit of a shame. I’ve read again on the internet this morning that the engine rules may not be changed. I don’t know. I would like to see more teams being able to fight for podiums and sometimes wins, like 2012 where we had seven winners in seven grands prix, that was amazing. It’s just great for the sport, great for the show, and great for people to watch it.

And to see more of the midfield teams such as Haas, for example, step up and be able to fight on a more level playing field.

RG: It would be nice, like Lotus were doing in 2012 and 2013. I can’t predict it, and I don’t want to be involved in the political game and so on. The only thing we can say as the GPDA and as drivers is what do we need to get better racing? Here’s what we need and here’s what we think. That’s the furthest we will go.

So would you like to see longer lasting tyres that you can push lap after lap?

RG: Just getting good tyres.

Would you like to see refuelling come back?

RG: Yes, yes. I haven’t spoken about it with GPDA or whatever, but personally, I would like to see it coming back. Then the strategy is a bit more open. At the moment it’s a bit dictated, you know how you’re going to react. When you run out of fuel, you run out of fuel.

Do you think drivers need more to a voice when it comes to talking to the sport’s bosses and being heard about their views?

RG: I think with the new owners, we’ve got much more of a relationship and much more of a possibility to talk to them.

Singapore #2 Winners & those who quite didnt make the cut