Former Lotus driver Romain Grosjean is now ready to start the 2016 season as a member of the American Haas F1 Team. He sits down for a quick chat with the Paddock magazine about his transition.
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So, from Enstone to Banbury – what were the first impressions?
Obviously, it’s a big change for me. I feel a bit like a kid at Christmas, discovering my new toys! That said, each Formula 1 team shares a pretty much similar DNA with engineers, mechanics and all the people behind every project. It’s good to be involved in something that’s fresh and brand new though.
In terms of Formula 1, is the American style of working very different from the European one?
When I first met with Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner, I knew straight away that I liked their respective philosophies and their approach to this team and the work. We’re all very motived and excited by this project, and I would say that we really have a fusion of styles within the team from both America and Europe. But the passion to go and race is absolutely universal.
I feel a bit like a kid at Christmas, discovering my new toys!
New team, new teammate, new car, etc. – what excites you most about the upcoming season?
It’s a brand new challenge for the team and for myself, and it’s always exciting to drive a new car for the first time in winter testing, but when it’s with a completely new team, it makes it even more special. It has been thirty years since there was an American-owned team on the grid in Formula 1, so going to Melbourne for the first time with Haas F1 is definitely going to be an extraordinary occasion to enjoy.
Haas F1 Team has been very open about their goals for 2016. Do you have specific personal aims?
Well, my personal aim is simply to keep doing my best. It’s important to jump out of the car after a race and be proud of what you have just achieved, knowing that you gave it your maximum.
Some Formula 1 drivers have been recently criticised for lacking charisma or keeping a plain face all the time. As you are often praised for being one of the most interesting racers, do you believe that there is now a lack of personalities in the sport?
I really don’t think so. Formula 1 is a highly complicated world with a lot of demanding characteristics. Of course, I must admit that times have changed in every sport and with that there’s also an increase in the levels of professionalism. However, we still have the best drivers in the world in Formula 1 and ultimately we’re all trying to push it as far as we can for our teams and their partners.
In your opinion, what will it take to make Formula 1 big in the United States?
I’m hoping that the success of Haas F1 Team will certainly help!
How does the 2016 calendar look to you? Is there somewhere else you’d like Formula 1 to go?
It’s going to be a very busy year for all the teams. Twenty-one races is a lot, but there are some fantastic venues on the schedule. Naturally, I’d love to see a French Grand Prix back on the calendar.