COTA looks like a “challenge” – Grosjean

2012 United States Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Yas Marina, 2012Romain Grosjean says he expects the Circuit of the Americas to prove a “challenge” when F1 races there for the first time next week.

Grosjean said he’d discussed the track with Lotus reserve driver Jerome D’Ambrosio who has already driven around the circuit:

“I?ve spoken to Jerome so I have a little idea of what to expect. On top of that I?ve worked with simulations of the track, and it?s easy for me to play Xbox when I am travelling so I can get an idea from that too.

“I don?t think it will be the easiest circuit to learn and there are a few fast corners which look like they will be
a challenge. The first corner certainly looks to be good fun.”

Grosjean is hoping for a more successful race than he had in Abu Dhabi, which ended in retirement: “For me it wasn?t one of the best days, but for the team it was a fantastic day with the win for Kimi [Raikkonen].

“It was the win we were waiting for and it?s unbelievable for the whole team. I was running pretty well and could have finished with good points too.

“Unfortunately Sergio [Perez] returned to the track in the middle of a battle he was having and he wanted to use the part of the track I was on. There was nothing I could do as you can?t make your car disappear. Sergio was penalised for the incident and it did mean we saw another safety car period.

“Mark [Webber] was caught up in it too, but he didn?t have any stern words for me this time.”

The team head into the race on a high following Raikkonen’s Abu Dhabi victory. They marked the victory by producing a batch of T-shirts every member of the team bearing the message “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing” – words Raikkonen used to his engineer at one point during the race.

2012 United States Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    38 comments on “COTA looks like a “challenge” – Grosjean”

    1. That is absolutely fantastic that the Lotus team is wearing those t-shirts. What a great sense of humor. From the outside it appears that Kimi is enjoying his time with the Enstone outfit. They seem to put him in a comfortable place – let him do the racing with as little PR work as possible.

      1. I agree. I’m so glad that, Kimi being very different from an ‘average’ driver in terms of personality, the team had the balls to adhere and treat him differently.

        It’s the sign of ultimate respect, placing a driver above PR – when supposedly it’s PR from where the money would principally come, promotions, securing connections, etc. But in the end, the driver delivers results and thus screen time and thus guaranteed value for the sponsors, so the Lotus way is the right way, I think. That’s the opposite way of getting financing – getting the sponsors to make the first step and show interest based on results, instead of getting to them first, begging and securing money and then deliver the results. Of course it only works from a certain foundation, but Lotus undoubtedly has this foundation.

        I’m very glad for them as well.

        1. agreed, and it doesn’t hurt that FOM distribute prizemoney based on points won.

        2. Sponsors are actually very happy with the way team handling Kimi, but I guess, while he keeps on pumping out the podiums and have such a huge fan base, they dont have anything to complain about :)

    2. … and it’s easy for me to play Xbox when I am travelling …

      That explains a lot ;)

      1. …and the webber in that xbox is the same webber as in F1 – all words and no action! Crash into him there or crash into him here, webber aint really gonna chase the living outta Grosjean – all words but no action.

      2. Thank you! :)

    3. Yes, it’ll be a challenge for Grosjean not to crash into someone at the blind first corner! All jokes aside though, it does look like it has potential to be one of the best new circuits on the calendar.

      1. “The first corner certainly looks to be good fun.” I like his quote better :) you can take it both ways since he loves first corners… this will be a new first for him :) i think…

        I put down my 1 cent he will crash in the first corner again!

      2. “. . . .it’s easy for me to play Xbox when I am travelling so I can get an idea from that too” – Grosjean

        when i first played F1- 2012 on my xbox, the only thing i managed to do was pull those Gro moves when starting in midfield :D

    4. I just checked the tyre allocations for the next two grand prix, and I was disappointed to see that we are going to finish the year with twice the hard/medium combination. Without wanting to portray the American fans as overly concerned about the entertainment value of racing, I think a first (since 2007, obviously) US grand prix with plenty of pit stops would be better than one in which 95% of the drivers go for a one-stopper.

      I realise Pirelli don’t want their tyres to fall apart, but that has never happened. I think medium/soft would have been fine, and probably soft/supersoft as well. If tyres are wearing out quickly in the high-speed turns, drivers can just pit for new tyres a little more often. A missed opportunity by Pirelli.

      1. @adrianmorse – I agree entirely, Pirelli have just encouraged boring races lately with their tyre allocations. Perhaps since early season the tyres influenced the races so much they have gone conservative to prevent tyres from deciding the championship but in all honesty I think all they have achieved in their tyre choices of late is boring races (Abu Dhabi is of course an exception but that was more due to the grid than anything else).

        1. And they influence the championship with their tyre allocations whatever they choose. Possibly the harder tyres next weekend will suit McLaren, who didn’t get the softs to work properly over the last few Grand Prix. Of course, McLaren isn’t in the championship battle anymore, but they can still influence the outcome.

          1. which team benefits the most from harder tyre compounds? The one that runs two german-red colored cars? where one is equipped with all high-performance updates whose driver is only second to vettel in complaining over the radio and the other either equipped with a 2011 spec parts or driven like one whose driver is jumpier than the jumpiest cat? the car that slips from podiums to doldrums when they run the softer compund?

            aahh yes! Ferrari. Heck yeah, so that’s why we have pirelli switching from aggressive to much safer tyre selections. Duh!

        2. @vettel1 The last thing the first F1 race in the US for a while needs is tyres that degrade quickly :P

          1. @keeleyobsessed – the softs would be okay, Pirelli build their tyres properly!

            @adrianmorse – good point but I was talking more of the sharp degradation causing drivers to lose lots of places if they hit the cliff. I wouldn’t expect that to be a factor now though since the tyres are fairly well understood by the majority of the teams at this stage in the season.

            I preferred earlier in the season though when a one-stop was an ambitious strategic gamble rather than the ideal strategy for every team and hence commonplace.

          2. @keeleyobsessed

            The last thing the first F1 race in the US for a while needs is tyres that degrade quickly :P

            whatever happened to the “Take the bull by the horns” spirit? it cannot be all deja vu…it’s austin, not the ralf-bankment of IMS!

      2. Who knows, maybe it was just a case of Pirelli having far too many of the harder and medium compounds in stock and they want to use them!

        But I agree that its a bit disappointing to see these conservative tyre choices (maybe Pirelli is afraid a more challenging choice could possibly put the advantage into the hands of one of the championship contenders? They did get more conservative towards the end in 2010 too, didn’t they)

        1. @bascb – Pirelli weren’t super conservative in 2011 (India was soft/hard and Brazil & Abu Dhabi were soft/medium), I think it was more due to the teams getting to grips with the tyres. I think they have definitely been more conservative at the end of this year than last.

          1. No, but in 2011 there was no championship at stake any more, was there @vettel1. They did get conservative the year before that though, as they did now.

            1. @bascb – Bidgestone were the tyre suppliers in 2010! But yes as both championships were already secured tyre allocations would make no difference to the winner, but they still had power to influence the lower positions.

      3. I don’t like to see drivers circulating to conserve their tyres so I am all for using the hard tyre, however the medium is the worst tyre in the range, not much faster than the hard, not much longer running than the soft. So yes Hard/Soft would get my vote.

    5. Agreed Atticus, it’s very refreshing to see an F1 team with a sense of humour and that their drivers are more important (relatively) than the image they portray to the press. Kimi Raikkonen has always been notoriously hard on the press and despite this is widely loved by F1 fans so I guess Lotus knew what they were getting in signing him!

    6. i love this team. period.
      hope the team releases this t-shirt so chaps like me can buy. i’d love to wear this :D

      1. I love the team but the name Lotus makes it hard to be a fan to me. The fight with Caterham over the Lotus name, the fact that it has nothing to do with Team Lotus of the past and the fact that the manufacturer Lotus already pulled out their involvement with the current F1 team (didn’t they?) means it’s about the worst name the team could have carried. Wish they’d be called Team Enstone, would make me an instant fan.

        1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          9th November 2012, 22:35

          The team already tends to label themselves “Team Enstone”. I have a feeling the reasons why they must keep the Lotus name are above the “normal” team members.

          1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
            10th November 2012, 8:53

            In his Top Gear interview, Kimi himself apparently didn’t know why the team was called Lotus. Hilarious stuff.

        2. that is true. the name just isn’t right. .i’ve been ignoring the name and just looking at what EB and the team do, hence the comment.
          i do hope they switch to Team Enstone.

    7. F1 sure likes to have things with similar sounding names.

      COTA…..FOTA… FISA…FOCA… its almost a spy novel. No?

    8. So we’ve lost Turkey and have gained Texas, two tracks that appear quite similar… I also like evening races, so looking forward to this weekend!

      1. I also like evening races

        well…if it were an afternoon race, you could at least take a nap!

    9. I liked Grosjean´s quote about Austin track

      “…The first corner certainly looks to be good fun…”


      1. haha…the torpedo’s sniffed blood!

    10. I have played the COTA in f1 2012 and it is hard to learn. You have to be very smooth and its even harder for me cause I’m 14 years old.

      1. It’s one of the harder technical tracks to get right. The best drivers will do well here imho, the rest will struggle.

        I’ve been trying to improve my time on it with the Sauber today, best I’ve managed so far is 1.39.8 – Not exactly blisteringly fast. But I was glad to break through the 1.40 barrier. I think I can go a second faster if I nail everything.. But it’s really hard to get right with a gamepad. I’m pretty confident I could go >2 seconds faster if I had a half decent steering wheel setup. Makes it *so much* easier for fine control.

    11. William Brierty
      10th November 2012, 12:02

      I’ve played, and mastered, COTA on F1 2012, and in the process of doing it, it has seemed to me that this will be another Webber track, like Silverstone and the Nurburgring. To be quick here you need mega-confidence to keep the throttle/DRS open, you need to have mega entry speeds and a style that facilitates a strong and decisive turn-in, something that epitomizes Webber’s style. You really earn laptime here if you fight the understeer in order to get the apex speeds, something that Webber does more than Vettel, who often opens the steering up earlier in order to get a better exit, and can also be seen varying the degrees of steering lock he has on whilst he is turning in, two habits that will be to his detriment at COTA. It also seems Hamilton will like this track, with his tremendous apex speed, so I expect Hamilton and Webber to out-qualify their teammates. For me personally, I was underwhelmed by COTA. OK, their are some interesting corners, but the general rules are if you can’t tell what corner is what on off-board shots, as is the case in Korea, Shanghai and to some extent Silverstone, then the track environment is incomplete. For me, COTA is just a twisty piece of tarmac in a field in Texas. I do hope the GP changes that.

      1. I think you could be right about Webber.

        Here’s the drivers with their respective cars that I think will suit the track:


        I think the McLarens might struggle with the nature of the circuit, which is the only reason I haven’t listed either driver. I expect Grosjean to struggle in qualifying as history suggests techincal tracks aren’t necessarily his best and he’s on a bit of a downward spiral, which may result in some midfield chaos.

        I’m not sure there will be tons of overtaking unless there is unexpected tire degradation.

    12. It does look like a technical circuit in places, not something we’re used to with Tilke. I love that Grosjean has been using his Xbox to help out!

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