Romain Grosjean goes into pre-season testing with the same kind of excitement that he has felt in each of his eight previous years, although the Frenchman cannot wait for the actual racing to get underway.
The Haas F1 Team racer endured one of the toughest campaigns of his career in 2019, scoring only eight points across the twenty-one races as the team struggled on race days, and his future with the team was thought to be under threat.
He will get to taste the new VF-20 for the first time on day two of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya next Thursday and will get three days in the car across the six days of testing.
“It’s always been the same level of excitement for the start of winter testing,” said Grosjean. “You get the chance to discover a new car and get back into the groove.
“2012 was my first winter test, so maybe it was a little more exciting, maybe you want to be at the top of the timesheet more than you do after. It’s always fun to get to work testing and learn a new car.
“[However], if you’re in Formula 1, you’re a racer. Testing is good but racing is much better.”
“It’s important to get a good first feel of the car”
Grosjean feels pre-season testing is different compared to a free practice session on a Grand Prix weekend as he will need time to adapt to the new VF-20.
He also knows that after the troubles the team faced in 2019, they will need to go through a lot of different scenarios to ensure they do not have the same kind of dramas in 2020.
“It’s a bit different in pre-season testing,” admits Grosjean. “You need a little bit more time. You know that the mileage is key, and you need to get as much in the car as you can to make sure you’ve discovered everything about it.
“Driving it is different and testing, as it says, is done to test a lot of things. In free practice, it is exactly that, practice to get ready for the race.
“It’s important to get a good first feel of the car. You want to feel comfortable in a new car. We’re normally quite effective at knowing quickly if the car is good or not. We’ve also learned a lot from 2019, when testing went well, but the rest of the season not so much.
“I think issues were masked by the fact that we had been fast in Barcelona at the start of the year. Then in some races we were fast but in others not. We’ll use testing to cover as many different scenarios as we can.”