Saturday, September 22, 2012

Räikkönen is an ideal teacher to Grosjean in theory

It's soon 9 o'clock in the evening... Romain Grosjean walks to the interview-corner smiling politely and calm as a lamb.

All over-aggressivity which has stamped the youngster's driving from time to time seems to have fallen off.

Grosjean flew to Singapore with his new trainer Benoit Camparque. Camparque is an ex Europe Champion in judo and an Olympic sportsman, who trained Teddy Riner in London when he became the gold medalist in boxing.

Grosjean met the judo-stars in London and that's where he got the idea of co-operation.

Then how did Grosjean end up with judo-teachings - his weakness is certainly not avoiding battles?

– I wanted to change certain things and now I have a new person with me. It's great when the trainer has know-how from the top level and he himself has been a representative sportsman. I don't think that a certain fighting streak is bad. If you are too aggressive in judo, then you also get out, Grosjean justifies.

Knowledge from Alonso and Räikkönen

On Sunday the 26-year old Frenchman will drive his career's 20th GP. He drove 7 of his races with Fernando Alonso and 12 so far with Kimi Räikkönen.

Which one has changed more ever since you began - you as a driver or as a teammate when comparing Alonso to Räikkönen?

– I would say that we have both changed a lot. I myself am now more mature as a driver and as a person than I was three years ago. Kimi on the other hand is very different from Fernando - just as a Finn is different from a Spaniard.

– They have different characters, but what is common for both of them is how hard they work during the whole GP-weekend. They only concentrate on the race, they always look for improvements in the car and in their own driving and they never give up at any point, Grosjean sums up.

Did you have time to learn something from Alonso during your short time together?

– I learned some stuff. I saw the way he worked, although it wasn't his best time. For me it was good to have such a great champion as a teammate.

An enviable ability to finish the race

Have you learned more from Räikkönen?

– I have learned different stuff. One has to remember that I am now three years older and also more experienced.

– The most important lesson that I have learned as Kimi's teammate is his spectacular ability to always finish with points. He knows how to avoid the hassle and he always brings the car to the finishing line. That's an example for everybody, Grosjean emphasizes.

Alonso critisized after Belgium how certain young F1-drivers still follow the GP2-culture.

It crashes every now and then in GP2-races. Is the GP2-mentality Grosjean's, Pastor Maldonado's, Sergio Perez's and Bruno Senna's mutual problem?

– We are all different. When it comes to me the errors look more blatant since I have been fighting in the top. There is a lot at stake in the top, an immense amount of pressure and hence each mistake grows bigger than it is.

– You have maybe a tenth of a second to do the right or wrong decision. Life becomes more difficult when you are up against F1-champions who have a lot of experience. The battles in the back aren't seen the same way, Grosjean justifies.

France is expecting a new winner

How tough was it to be only a spectator in Monza GP due to your ban?

– It really wasn't the most exciting race from my point of view. However it was good to be on the pitwall with the radio and listen to everything Kimi did during the whole weekend. My team learned a lot from that. I hope that what we have thought about in theory, will also help us in the future and that it also works in practice.

What kind of an impact did Grosjean's three podiums have on the F1-interest in France?

– Of course good results are good for France, but winning would mean really much. It has been a long time since a Frenchman won a GP-race. I believe that fans have again started to like F1. If I would get a victory for their pleasure, then I would be very proud of it.

Grosjean eagerly admits, that 4-time WDC Alain Prost is always brought up first when a Frenchman talks about F1.

Turun Sanomat, Singapore



Romain Grosjean

Born 17.4.1986 in Genova, Switzerland

Nationality: French

Wife: Marion Jolles

Teams: Renault 2009 and Lotus 2012

GP2-champion 2011

19 GPs, 3 podiums, 76 points. 

Courtesy: Nicole

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