Grosjean: ‘The team’s not happy and I’m not happy’

2012 Korean Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean said his team have urged him to avoid a repeat of his previous first-lap collisions in this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix.

Grosjean told journalists at the Korean Grand Prix press conference he’d apologised to Mark Webber who called him a “first-lap nutcase” following their crash at Suzuka:

“Mark came to see me and I completely understood he was unhappy. The only thing I could say was to apologise.

“I’m clearly conscious of the risk at the start. I am working to change quite a lot of things but work doesn’t come from one day to the other one. There is a process going on.

“I said I was very sorry. I’m not stupid, I was conscious of the risk and hopefully by now it will be a different story and not make the mistake of focussing on the wrong target.”

Grosjean said his objective this weekend was “not having any contact on the first lap”.

“As I say there is work in progress and it takes a bit of time. But it’s a cycle as well things have been going bad and the more it goes bad the more it is. But, again, I’m conscious of the risk at the start.

“I think Spa accident was quite impressive and I was the first one to be happy that Fernando had [no injury] so I am conscious of the risk. I paid as well the price of for mistakes.

“With the team we spoke quite a lot, they are not happy, I’m not happy with the way I’ve been going through the first laps. There’s 550 people working at Enstone to give us the best car and if you ruin everything in the first hundred metres it’s not good.

“I’m conscious of all of that and we will try to take as many precautions as possible to go through the first lap and then normally in the race we are OK.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    41 comments on “Grosjean: ‘The team’s not happy and I’m not happy’”

    1. At least he has expressed contrition, which is more than you can say for Maldonaldo.

      1. Too much contrition. Now this thing is definitely playing in his mind, if he crashes again that will destroy his confidence and its game over for him in F1. Hes overthinking this. All he needs to do is cut down the aggressiveness on the first lap, it’s hard because the urge to make up ground is huge, but the car is good enough for the race and he should be fine. Find a gap, stay there and don’t move around too much on the approach to the first corner.

        1. Yeh, the difference between him and Maldonado is that you feel a little bit of sympathy for Grosjean (at least I do). He’s a fine driver and was one of the best things about the first half of the season. A bigger deal has been made of his first lap incidents (of which I’d say 3 are his fault) than say Maldonado purposely bashing his car into people. Definitely the Japanese GP start was overthinking judging by his explanation. Really hope he fixes these problems, don’t want to see his face like it was in Japan again – he’s a man that requires to be cheesing all the time.

          1. I’m with you on the sympathy. Grosjean is actually a likeable driver and it feels good to cheer for him. Maldonado on the other hand just comes across as unrepentant.

        2. Now this thing is definitely playing in his mind, if he crashes again that will destroy his confidence and its game over for him in F1.

          It won’t be his confidence that spells the end of his career, but a trip to the stewards’ office. Another first-lap incident is likely to get him a race ban, and most of the teams would be hard-pressed to justify signing him next year. The big teams won’t take him because they need someone who can finish races; the small teams won’t take him because they won’t be able to afford the damage bill.

        3. I think he probably had to say all that, just to appease the media at large. It is a bit excessive to be honest.

          1. Was it?

            You have to remember for some time now people have been harping on about him crashing in the first corner, and seeing as how the media brought it up every chance they could during and after the race, yeah, it’s easy to keep having a go at him, but He’s not stupid, he knows what he is doing, he isn’t the first and won’t be the last driver to be caught out. And often he has just been unlucky.

            You have to realize all the crap he is dealing with before you have a go at him I think. I’m not a Grosjean fan, but you can see how hard he is trying, and for me, that is all he can do.

      2. Expressing contrition is one thing, but if he ploughs into someone else on the opening lap once again, contrition isn’t going to count for much. When he was banned from racing at Monza, he talked about how it made him face reality and confront his problems on-track. Two race later, his front wing was in Mark Webber’s sidepod.

        On the other hand, Maldonado might stubbornly refuse to admit fault, but he’s had three clean races in a row, and while he was robbed of a good result in Singapore, he did pick up points at Suzuka. That, at least, looks like progress.

        At the end of the day, I’d rather have a driver like Maldonado – who might not publicly admit fault, but who proves he can address the problem with his racecraft; you’ll note that he didn’t start boasting about it once he picked up points last week – in my team than Grosjean, who is always talking about how sorry he is for the trail of destruction he leaves in his wake, but hasn’t actually done anything about it.

        1. Hit the nail on the head there PM.

          Maldinardo is like Schumcher as he will do anything not to lose/ or to gain a place. He is very aggressive also like Montoya but he has shown an improvement recently & the fact he is too proud to admit his mistakes well that’s just his personality and has no effect on his race craft if he knows deep down that sometimes you have to back off.

          I would rather see a driver push for positions than just sit behind & take the safe points but having said that.
          As promising as RG was at the start of the year & he really was looking good. I can’t help but feel that he is too reckless and can’t handle the car in close combat. Maybe not every case of 1st lap incident was entirely his fault but for a car that has had the potential to win races this year he should be playing the consistency game like Kimmi is.
          The constructors points he has thrown away this season will hit the team hard next year if they really want to mix it up at the front with the big teams.

          I completely wrote RG off in his 1st go at F1 for the same reasons but he has really impressed me the start of this season & seems like a completly different driver but if he can’t learn to drive the car under pressure then as it’s been said above he will find himself without a drive next year and he will only have himself to blame.

          Not may drivers in F1 get a 2nd chance and he would be a fool to waist this one over silly mistakes. he has the speed he has proven that again a world champion team mate so if he can keep it together the glory he is so hungry for will come naturally.

          There are too many drivers out there that I believe would have done a better job this season but lets give him the chance to prove himself in the final races of the season then see how Lotus feel about him then but apart from Sympathetic fans he is not making any friends in F1 right now.

          1. The biggest, least apologetic bully of them all, MS, did just fine by many people’s standards, so I think PM has a long career ahead of him, as does RG who at least wants to change and should be given more time to do so at this stage in his career. I think those in his camp will defend him by saying he at least tries, and races hard, and they would rather that than to see timidity. And there’s every chance he will learn from his mistakes, even if he didn’t after taking out LH and FA. PM may have had 3 clean races since his last issue, but if he is like MS there will be many many ‘unclean’ unapologized for races to come in his career. I prefer a guy like RG who seemingly would rather not be like this and is going to try to rectify it. Time will tell if he can learn that a race isn’t won in the first corner, and if he can get past that and run clean hard-fought races, I’m all for that even if it is a lot more boring and uncontroversial than what some seem to prefer in an MS or a PM.

    2. I’m not happy either.

      1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
        11th October 2012, 14:18

        Why? Has that pesky Koopa kidnapped Peach again?

    3. I like how the URL of this article says ‘Grosjean the teams happy happy’.

      1. @driftin Yeah I saw that and thought of this.

      2. Looks like an algorithm stripping stop words from the URL, but then, why leave the “the”?

    4. grosgean is a great driver but in my eyes grosgean will be looking to 2nd qualifying in korea if they have the speed.

    5. He’ll go on and win a WDC – Great driver on the whole. Boulier was suggesting Schumacher had many “contact” problems early in his career.

      1. Not to the point where he failed to finish 50% of the time

      2. @thejudge13
        But there is a difference. A great driver has to learn quickly.
        Look at Vettel as an example. Plenty of errors earlier in his career. Even in his championship year he had pretty embarrassing collisions and misjudgements from time to time. But how many times has he made the same mistake twice?
        Very few times. The only ones I can think off is when he got a little wide on turn-in and lost the rear, in Canada 2011 and Germany 2011. There are probably more, but my point is, repetitive errors are very rare from him.
        A great driver learns quickly. Grosjean doesn’t. He might be fast now, but he has wasted 2/3rds of a season with one lap collisions. Some caused by him, some not so much. But in any case its still far too many to be involved in.
        Even when he was handed a race ban he didn’t learn it. He probably thought about it and wanted to learn it, but he just didn’t.
        If he want to be a world champion, then he has to change. And not just stop making lap 1 mistakes, but simply, learning in general. If he doesn’t start learning quickly (assuming that its an attitude problem), then he will find himself without a seat sooner rather then later. That could be at the end of this year even.

    6. It’s perfectly reasonable for Lotus to not be content with Grosjean’s performance so far. And unfortunately I can’t help but think this is going to have deeper consequences when it comes to the team’s line-up for next year.

      My guess is that Lotus’ statement comes with an ultimatum for Grosjean. He either straightens up for the remainder of the season, either he’s out in 2013… Boullier won’t take much more of this.

    7. Kimi Räikkönen
      11th October 2012, 11:03

      Poor love. His interviews after Japan were so hard to watch. You could tell he was trying not to cry. I hope he does well this weekend. A good result would really put his mind in the right place and a strong finish to the year could then be on the cards.

    8. Grosjean’s problem is that he has target lock. He sits down and plots out what he is going to do at the start of the race, and then he does it – regardless of what everyone else around him is doing. He is completely inflexible in his starts, apparently unable to adapt his plan to take into account the positions of cars around him. I get that you’ve got to fight for every inch at the start lest the guy who starts next to you takes a mile, but Grosjean rigidly interprets this idea to an extreme. Six first-lap incidents and two incidents within the first three laps from fourteen starts is not a good average to have.

      If he keeps his nose clean for the first three laps, Grosjean tends to keep out of trouble for the rest of the race – Hungary was the perfect example of this. It’s just getting to lap four that seems to be his biggest challenge.

    9. Starts and fist laps are for Grosjean what qualifying is for B. Senna. Both have huge potential and are very quick in races, but they need to sort out their problems as soon as possible.

      Maldonado seems to be solving his problems – 3 races in a row without trouble.

      1. Correction: 4 races in a row without trouble.

        1. Ops, 3 (Monza, Singapura and Suzuka)

        2. Only if he doesn’t have trouble this weekend. He jumped the start and clashed with a Marussia at Spa.

          1. Ironically, I believe replays showed that Maldonado made a perfect start in Belgium, literally getting away as the lights went out – but it was so closely timed that he had to have reacted before the lights changed in order to make such a perfect start.

    10. This is the first time Grosjean is “thinking” about this issue.   Last time around it was all empty talk about ” I am a stronger driver..” bla bla.

      He needs to acknowledge the issue and simply stop trying to win the race in the first lap / corner.

      1. I think it’s been on his mind for a while, it’s getting to him. I hope he has people around him to support him.

    11. I think Grosjean did not improve as much as I thought since 2009, but at least he admits his mistakes. Until 2009 he tended to think others were always guilty after any crash he had. He has a lot of potential, but he needs to stop crashing at others in the first lap of races.

    12. I think Kubica would do a better job with 1 hand than Roman has so far this season. Bring him back for the last few races & test him out early

      1. I think RK is done in F1…or at a minimum he is going to need a lot of time in a car, if he can even still drive one, to get up to speed, such is the amount of time that has gone by since he last sat in an F1 car.

    13. Normally a driver adapts by mid-season and has got most of the rookie errors out of the way. Grosjean has 2 rookie chances so far, one in a poor Renault one in a good Lotus and while he’s shown better performance on the races he’s completed this time, he still hasn’t “grown up”.

      It wouldn’t be so bad if the mistakes were just costing him, but he keeps ruining other peoples races.

      1. Seasoned veterans who already own WDC(s) have been known to make rookie mistakes too, and the fact that RG seems to fully recognize his situation and what he needs to do about it, bodes well for him. I don’t get the impression he is intentionally taking other people and himself out of their races with behaviour like he thinks he has his own rulebook out there. He just needs to get past the concept that a race isn’t won in the first corner of the first lap.

    14. Read about The All Time F1 Crashmeister.

      This guy broke Nigel Mansell’s neck. RG is but an apprentice….

    15. This seems a bit over-the-top to be honest. I’m still not convinced that Grosjean was entirely to blame in Suzuka.

      1. who wud u blame?

        1. No one? It was Grosjeans mistake, but I think other drivers would have done the same in his situation.

    16. I think this is all over the top. Other drivers have made more mistakes, or bigger mistakes and got off with less criticism.

    17. Just imagine the advantage he will have if he qualifies on pole!!! No one will dare come close to him!!!


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