With yet another grand prix revving up this weekend, we forget about the Mercedes infighting and on track fighting between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton and get Romain Grosjean’s view on the Italian Grand Prix weekend.How do you like Monza, the Theatre of Speed? “I like Monza a lot because it is so distinctive. Monza is a great track that has a lot of great racing history. This makes it nice for us to compete at a place where all our heroes raced too. There is a lot of atmosphere around the track and to race in the setting of the royal park makes for a really special ambience. Of course the Ferrari fans are a big part of it and it is really nice competing at such a legendary venue”.
Any special memories from Monza?“One of my first ever races in cars was at Monza back in 2003 when I was driving in a category called Formula Lista where I won and then went on to win every race of my rookie season in that formula. I have had some other big results at Monza too throughout my career, so it holds lots of good memories”.
What aspirations do you have for Monza this weekend?“I think that it will be tough for us. On paper it is not one of the races that we should do that well at. But as always we will be fighting hard and trying to get the maximum from the weekend, so that it gives us good momentum for the Singapore weekend later in September when we should be stronger and the track should suit the E22 a little better. We will have a one-off rear wing for Monza and the key will be to make the car as quick as possible from an aero point of view, so that we can get back some of the performance from our straight-line speed disadvantage. Then we have to manage the tyre degradation. Also for us it will be tricky in the big corners like the Lesmos and the Ascari chicane because the less downforce you have then the more difficult it is to get good grip in the turns. It is a tough compromise but one I am sure that the team will get the best solution possible”.
Do you think that the ’14 spec cars with reduced downforce will be tough to drive at Monza?“Yes but this is the same for everyone. Especially without the blown diffuser it will be more challenging than last year for sure. But this is F1 and you have to meet the challenge which we will do. The reality is that we will probably have to run less all-round downforce to make up for the time we lose on the straight, but we will just have to stay positive and extract the most from the package we have in Italy”.
What do you make of the revisions to the run-off at Parabolica?“Parabolica is a very challenging and quick corner so from a safety point of view it is a good thing to have some more margin for the drivers. I remember sometimes in the past coming in to the corner and knowing that to brake even a little bit too late then you could be straight in the gravel and then straight to the wall at high speed. I think that now what you will see is the drivers finding the limits sooner, because we know there will not be the big gravel and crash penalty like previously”.
Pizza or Pasta?“I know a great Pizzeria close to the track, so it is pizza all the way for me. But I am always careful because it can catch up very easily on the weight side of things! Italy is a magic place and the cultural aspects are a big part of that. Like a lot of drivers I did a lot of racing there, even since karting days so I feel like I know the country very well. I don’t know anyone who does not enjoy being in Italy”.
(source: Lotus F1)