Lotus team principal Eric Boullier feels it is up to Romain Grosjean to get his act together following the recent controversies…
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier feels it is up to Romain Grosjean to get his act together following the recent controversies.
Grosjean, who has already had to watch the Italian GP from the sidelines after being slapped with a one-race ban for causing an avoidable accident, is a man under pressure following yet another first-lap incident at Japan.
The Frenchman has copped flak from all corners after his latest misdemeanour with Mark Webber – the man who was on the receiving end at Suzuka – calling him a “first-lap nutcase” and Jenson Button saying he needs to “take a good look at himself and sort his s**t out”.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner, meanwhile, has called on Lotus to “get him more under control” but Boullier says there’s not much more they can do.
“I have spoken a lot with him,” he told Autosport. “We changed the routine, we tried to make it not more comfortable because I needed a tougher environment for him, and I needed to push him, but he is the only one who can fix this. Nobody else.
“He needs to find for himself what he needs to get, to be good, and relaxed, and on the right focus. He has to find the balance. He can do that, not anybody else.”
He added: “I think Romain has the privilege to be talented, and he has a car fast enough to qualify at the front of his grid.
“If you look at his career he was a bit of a hot-headed driver until he got some confidence, but F1 is not as patient as a junior category.
“As we saw in Spa it was a spectacular accident and it could have been dramatic – and you cannot accept this.
“Here in Japan, it is not about fixing the car set-up. It is about trying to make the kid self confident enough to cool down and control the race start, and this is what we are trying to do since the beginning of the year.
“We have accelerated that programme since Spa, and timing-wise it is unfortunate that an incident happened again.”
Boullier, though, also believes that some of the drivers on the grid are trying to take advantage of Grosjean’s situation.
“If you look at the start [in Japan] he doesn’t change [his line], and it is something we decided that if you start on the right side on the track you stay there,” he explained.
“In Singapore he experienced quite a hot start, not from him, but other drivers because they knew he was under pressure, so expected him to back off.
“So here I said, ‘don’t do the same, just keep your line and don’t go to try and contact or get too close’. And that is what he did.
“He saw [Sergio] Perez next to him and he tried to keep far from him, but maybe misjudged a little bit with Webber because there was a difference of speed, as both were faster than Webber.”