The last race at Monza (before Singapore) was particularly difficult for Romain Grosjean as he had to sit out and painfully watch reserve driver Jerome D’Ambrosio replace him.
Benched at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago, the Lotus-Renault driver was serving his one-race ban and a EUR 50,000 fine for causing a multi-car collision at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix that prematurely ended the race for drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
Making an appearance at the French Residence – home of the French Ambassador in Singapore – where the Megane RS265 Red Bull Racing Edition was unveiled last Thursday, the 26-year-old Frenchman took a long pause before answering my question about the incident.
“The last race was not the easiest one as I was not driving but I have been learning a lot from that. Everything that is difficult makes you stronger if you manage to come back. We are improving ourselves from that point and we’re in Singapore now so there’s no need to speak about the past. I am looking forward to getting back in the car and driving here,” said Grosjean.
His characteristic grin returned when I asked him how he was feeling about his first full F1 season.
“I like Formula 1 and I’m very happy to be back in it. It’s been good for a first season so far, with three podiums.
Grosjean’s foray into F1 started as a test driver with Renault in 2008 and replaced Nelson Piquet Jr. in the middle of 2009 after the latter left due to controversial reasons.
He left F1 for the 2010 season and came back to Lotus-Renault in 2011 as a test driver again.
Hoping to drive in F1 for at least 10 years, Grosjean acknowledges that “a lot of things are difficult in racing”, but calls it a “beautiful life”.
“You travel to fantastic places, but you have a lot of things to do as well. You don’t get much time at home and it is not easy but you get used to it. Racing can get a little stressful but this is what we love and it’s all part of the process. We just try to stay as relaxed as possible and focus on the objective.
Driving a F1 car makes everything worth it.. makes it a beautiful life,” Grosjean said.
“You learn different things when you are competing in high-level sports and you have to be matured in the mind very early in your life. You miss some things as a teenager and stuff like that, but on the other hand you get to do something you really enjoy and that makes up for everything.”
At such high speeds in motorsports, it is inevitable that drivers feel fear at some point in their racing careers.
Every crash is “a bit scary”, said Grosjean, but “when you jump back into the car, you forget that”.
If Grosjean was not a driver, he would like to stay in the sport as an engineer, probably an aerodynamics engineer.
Already moved forward from the bad incident, Grosjean is eager to produce a good result this weekend and is planning to take Monday off to do some sightseeing of the city.
A fan of Asian food, he enjoys Singapore noodles, particularly ‘Mee Goreng’.
Grosjean came in 7th at the Singapore Grand Prix.