The Frenchman retired from the 2014 season opener in Australia on lap 43, admitting that the Enstone-based outfit used the race as a long test session. However, strong improvements were made over the weekend and Grosjean is confident that the team can make further steps forward at the Sepang International Circuit.
“The first challenge in Malaysia will be the heat, humidity and usual rain storms at 4pm,” he said. “For us as a team, the target is to move forwards and improve. The race in Melbourne was basically a good, long test. It wasn’t easy for the guys but I’m happy we did a lot of laps in the race.
“We gathered some useful data and we will now improve using that data. The aim now is to have a straightforward weekend at Sepang, working through our proper schedule in free practice, then carrying the benefits from that over to qualifying and the race. Sepang is one of my favourite circuits and I’m looking forward to it.”
When asked what he learned at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, he replied: “That we still have a lot of work to do. Other than the early finish, the Australian Grand Prix was positive. We learned more about the car in 44 racing laps than during the whole of winter testing.
“The team has done so much work and each of the changes have been in the right direction. It was looking good in the race and then we had the same problem as Pastor: the MGU-K shaft. But at least there is no mystery about what happened and we are working with Renault Sport F1 to solve the problem.”
He says there is no reason why the team can’t get on top of the problems soon and exploit the “huge potential” of the E22, which his team-mate Pastor Maldonado believes has the potential to challenge for podiums in the not too distant future.
The 27-year-old also commented on the new driving experience. “It is not quite as pleasant as before to be honest,” he said. “There is a lot of energy recovery to deal with and optimise. You cannot drive most of the Grand Prix at 90 per cent as before, sometimes now it is only 30 per cent. We just have to get used to it. When you win you love it and when you retire, you don’t. At the moment it feels a little frustrating as a driver but these are the rules, we will adapt and make the best of them.”
Image courtesy of Lotus F1 Team