In an unsurprising move Lotus F1 Team boss Eric Boullier has said that he will sit down with driver Romain Grosjean once the team is back at their home offices in Enstone, UK and discuss the problems Grosjean had over the weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix.
From Boullier’s statements it is fairly clear that this is just a precautionary chat to try and mend the frayed nerves of the driver after the events of the most recent Formula 1 race weekend.
Grosjean looked to have the pace for a strong showing in Monte Carlo but ran into trouble almost from the beginning of free practice runs. He crashed hard in the Ste Devote turn in both FP2 and FP3 before going on to a disappointing qualifying session that saw him land in P13 for the start of the race.
On race day his woes continued as he ran into the back of Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo, an accident that would force both wheel men to retire and would earn Grosjean a ten spot grid penalty for the start of the Canadian Grand Prix.
Boullier was insistent that the talk wouldn’t be too serious saying that, “It’s not a worry, he did a great job over the winter and fixed all the problems he had last year.” He went on to empathize with Grosjean by stating, “it’s just some frustration sometimes when he knows he can be fast,” indicating the team head understood that the race day crash was likely due to his driver knowing he had the speed to place well and getting over anxious.
Grosjean has had support from Boullier all season and it appears that will continue, but it would be foolish of the Lotus shot caller to not gently remind Grosjean of how much his performance impacts the future of Lotus. If the Frenchman continues to struggle, and if Lotus remains devoted to him, it could lead to problems retaining Grosjean’s team mate, 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen.
Despite Boullier’s insistence that he felt Grosjean just had a bad weekend and would be able to recover and salvage his season, he did hint at the possibility of further poor showings causing a driver change. When asked if the possibility of substituting Lotus reserve driver Davide Valsecchi for a race had been considered, Boullier responded with a passive aggressive “Not yet.”
The next stop on the Formula One calendar is Canada where Grosjean qualified P7 in 2012 and finished on the podium in P2. A repeat of that success this year would go a long way in soothing both his and Lotus’ nerves.
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