Grosjean insists he's working hard to shed 'first-lap nutcase' tag after big crashes
12:39 GMT, 11 October 2012
Romain Grosjean has vowed to take a careful approach to the opening lap of Sunday's Korean Grand Prix, in order to avoid another costly accident.
The Frenchman has shown impressive speed on the occasions he has managed to keep himself out of trouble, but all too often his Lotus has been at the centre of first-lap carnage.
Grosjean, having only just returned from a one-race ban for his role in the startline pile-up at Spa, was involved in his eighth opening lap incident of the year in Japan last weekend.
Plenty to ponder: Lotus driver Romain Grosjean in the paddock at the Korean International Circuit in Yeongam
He misjudged his entry to turn two as he focused on the Sauber of Sergio Perez on his outside, and unceremoniously turfed Mark Webber onto the infield, ending the Red Bull driver's hopes of victory and denting his fading title hopes. That led Webber to dub Grosjean a 'first-lap nutcase'.
The former GP2 champion was quick to apologise to the Australian.
He said: 'Mark came to see me and I completely understand, all I could say was to apologise.
'I am working to change a lot of things, but that does not come from one day to the other.
Pushing hard: Lotus mechanics work on Grosjean's car on Thursday ahead of the Korean Grand Prix
'There is a process going on, I was
very sorry, I am not stupid and I am conscious of the risks and
hopefully this weekend it will be a different story and I won't make the
mistake of focusing on the wrong target.'
When asked how he planned to reverse his fortunes, the 26-year-old Grosjean said: 'Not having any contact on the first lap, that's clearly one of the objectives. I'd say there is work in progress and it takes a bit of time. It's a cycle as well: things have been going bad and then the more it goes bad…I'm conscious of the risk at the start.
'The Spa accident was quite impressive and I was the first to be happy that Fernando (Alonso) was not injured. I am conscious of the risk, I paid the price for my mistake. In the team we spoke quite a lot, they are not happy.
Big guns: Grosjean (top, centre) spoke at a press conference along with Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel
'I am not happy with the way we have been going through the first laps. There are 550 people working at Enstone to give us the best car and if you ruin everything in the first 110 metres it is not good.
'I am conscious of all that and will try to take as many precautions as possible to go through the first lap – and then normally in the race we are okay.'
Webber, for his part, added he had accepted Grosjean's apology for their clash at Suzuka.
He said: 'I went to see Romain, we had a discussion about it and that was that.'