Romain Grosjean: “It’s a circuit everyone knows backwards”

Both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado will be looking for a strong result in the first European race of the Formula 1 season at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain as the Lotus F1 Team continue to develop their E23 Hybrid car. Grosjean has finished in the points in the past two races while Maldonado is still looking for his first finish inside the top ten.

Grosjean returns to the track he knows well from both Formula 1 and junior categories, and is hoping for a strong weekend. In 2014, Spain was the venue of the Frenchman’s best result, both in qualifying and in the race.

“It’s a circuit we’ve seen pretty often in your career so I know it well, and I have some good memories from the past,” said Grosjean. “It was our best circuit last year, and I also finished fourth back in 2012 as well as setting the fastest lap.

“It is a circuit everyone knows backwards, so as a team we go to Barcelona intent on getting much more performance from the car.

“I’ve driven many, many laps of the circuit in F1 and in different junior series I’ve competed in. I’ve drawn the track my eyes closed in the past… Trying to drive a lap eyes closed in the simulator at the end of a day’s work could be fun.”

Grosjean has been happy to qualify inside the top ten in all four races of 2015 so far, and is hoping to continue that record this weekend in Spain. The Frenchman believes the team have the potential to improve in the races as well, and will be looking to score points for a third race in a row after consecutive seventh places in China and Bahrain.

“In terms of performance we have achieved a one hundred percent record in reaching Q3 which is a very good result,” insisted Grosjean. “We could have done more in the first two races had we not had a few issues but I think that we got everything right from China onwards.

“It’s very good to be in the top ten in qualifying and then play with the strategy in the race. I’m happy with the points we have scored these last couple of races, let’s now get more at every race and continue to improve.”

Team-mate Maldonado has happy memories from the Circuit de Catalunya having taken his first and so far only Formula 1 victory at the track in 2012 whilst driving for Williams. He is also happy to see a number of Venezuelan supporters at the circuit.

“It’s very special – mostly because we see a lot of Venezuelan support there, also because it’s the first race back in Europe, and of course, because it’s nice to have won there,” said Maldonado of the Spanish circuit.

“Hopefully we’ll see a good result there for the team and some points for me! The aim is always to get 100% from the package, to know we’ve achieved the best possible. So a win might not be on the cards just yet but we are definitely able to fight for good points.”

Maldonado admitted he has been disappointed with the first four races of the season where he has failed to score any points so far, but feels the potential of the E23 Hybrid is there that that statistic will change sooner rather than later.

“It was a complicated start to the season; the first four races were tough,” insisted Maldonado. “It wasn’t easy to be hit by other drivers for both Australia and Malaysia!

“I think we learnt a lot from the first two races however as we made a good jump in performance by the Chinese Grand Prix because we had learnt so much about our car.

“We are closer to our rivals, the teams we’re targeting for the championship, and our race pace improved significantly. It’s getting better and better.

“It’s a good car. Immediately, the first day we tested the E23, the potential was clearly there. There are still areas to develop but it’s looking very good. If we go back just a few months ago to where we were with the E22, it’s a huge improvement in comparison.

“It’s not just the change of engine; the chassis is working much better. The entire package has good potential for this season.”