Romain Grosjean heads to the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix hoping to put the heartbreak of Australia behind him as the Haas F1 Team look to consolidate their impressive pace into a haul of championship points.
Grosjean and his team-mate Kevin Magnussen were running in the top five for 2018’s opening race. But both were forced to retire due to loose wheels following botched pit-stops.
“I’d rather retire fighting for fourth or fifth position than finishing every race in 15th position,” says an optimistic Grosjean.
The Haas VF-18 has shown great promise so far in 2018, performing well in pre-season testing as well as in Australia. Now though, Grosjean is hopeful the performance of this year’s Haas can be carried over to other circuits, starting in Bahrain.
“It [the car] was great, it was amazing, and it gives us a lot of hope for the future.
“Obviously, we need to see how it goes on different circuits, but I think it’s a very positive start. We’re all very much looking forward to going to the next race.”
“A good result will help us to forget Australia. Let’s get to Bahrain, let’s do our work, like we did in Australia, focus on our jobs and see where we are at the end.
“Hopefully, we can have another good surprise.”
Grosjean has a good track record in Bahrain. In 2012 and 2013 the Frenchman scored back-to-back third places and across all six of his career starts in Bahrain, Grosjean has gained twenty-four positions from where he qualified to where he finished the race.
“I love driving in Bahrain. I’ve always had a good feeling there, and I think it’s a really exciting track for racing and overtaking,” says Grosjean.
“We’ll see how it goes again. As I said, it’s always given me a good feeling, and I’m hopeful I can keep it going.”
“It’s one of those tracks where there are many opportunities to overtake, which is amazing. Obviously there’s turn one, but turn three, turn 11, turn 15 – they all make it probably one of the best circuits for racing.”
Although Grosjean enjoys racing in Bahrain, one of the major challenges of the race is that it starts late in the afternoon and runs into the night. The changes to air and track temperature offer a challenge only shared by the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“That’s the big challenge of Bahrain, as it is with Abu Dhabi. It’s something you really need to work on in FP2. You have to make sure the car works well in warmer conditions and then in the cooler conditions later in the day.”
Of course, an additional challenge is offered by Formula 1’s current generation of car. The faster and more aggressive machines mean certain sections of the Bahrain International Circuit are trickier than they used to be, as Grosjean explains:
“I think the biggest difference with the new generation of car is at turns five, six and seven. Later it’s (turns) 11, 12 and 13 – a series of mid- to high-speed corners where we carry much more speed than we used to.
“Those are the places where you have the biggest differences and you can gain quite a lot of lap time. When you carry more speed, it means there’s less margin for error.
“You just have to go faster and get more feeling.”