Romain Grosjean’s race ban – the first in Formula One for almost two decades – has not damaged the Frenchman’s relationship with Lotus.
That is the claim of his boss and manager Eric Boullier, who fended off speculation Grosjean, 26, could be on the verge of blowing his second and final shot at a grand prix career. Boullier’s other Gravity-managed driver, Belgian Jerome d’Ambrosio, is sitting in for Grosjean this weekend, prompting the risk the usually-happy Frenchman could lose momentum and – as he did at the end of 2009 – once again slide off the grid.
Asked if Grosjean will definitely be on the Singapore grid, Boullier told RMC Sport: “Of course.” And 2013? “He has a one-year contract as well as a long-term renewable contract,” said the Lotus team boss.
“A priori, he will be with us next year and for a long time beyond,” revealed Boullier.
Boullier also revealed that Grosjean has sat down for a team meeting to discuss his race ban, which according to speculation was applied because the FIA ran out of patience following a sequence of incidents for the Swiss-born driver this year.
“It (the meeting) was neither severe nor relaxed,” said Boullier.
Asked if Lotus will add its own penalties to Grosjean’s official FIA sanction, he insisted: “Not at all.” Rather, Boullier said Lotus will try to help Grosjean.
“This is an important point that has been raised with Romain. In Formula One, there is a very high level of stress, especially in qualifying and the start. We have spoken with Romain about how to set up a structure so that he can manage his life as a driver and all of his functions.
“I would say that when you have your second chance in F1, there is more pressure. We put a structure in place last winter and now we might have to renew it.”
Part of that structure might be to relegate Grosjean to a ‘number 2’ role for the rest of 2012, also given the fact Kimi Raikkonen is the driver most likely to challenge for the title.
“No,” said Boullier. “But we will do everything to avoid penalising Kimi, who is likely to be fighting for the championship.”