Grosjean sets sights on Lotus for 2015
Romain Grosjean says Lotus' switch to Mercedes engines for 2015 and recent moves in the driver market have made staying where he is a much more desirable option.
Grosjean is in his third year at the team but results have failed to materialise as Lotus has struggled with Renault's power unit and a fundamental flaw with this year's car. Grosjean has not yet signed a deal for 2015, but with Sebastian Vettel kicking the driver market into action by leaving Red Bull for Ferrari and Fernando Alonso looking destined for McLaren, Grosjean's options are narrowing.
"I was not expecting that one," Grosjean said of Vettel's announcement he will leave Red Bull. "It changed quite a lot of things. So far things are now moving very, very quick and I do still believe Alonso is a big part of the market. It depends on if he goes to McLaren or not or goes away for one year and comes back.
"I don't know, but there are big changes happening here [at Lotus] next year and it's not a bad place to be. It's not a place to be world champion in 2015, but I think we can score points and be on the podium a few times. If that's the case then we can work on 2016."
Lotus has signed a deal to switch from Renault to Mercedes power next year, which Grosjean believes will result in a big step forward.
"It certainly helps the whole team. We know Mercedes has the strongest power unit on the grid and we know they will probably keep a good advantage next year, so that helps Lotus a lot.
"It certainly makes things look more attractive around here. I've said for quite a while that it is not a bad place to be. It's not a team that is going to be world champions, but it certainly can do a good car and be a good surprise like Williams is this year. They were nowhere last year, but with a good engine and a good car they are capable of being at the front this year. That could be the case [for Lotus in 2015]."
One potential stumbling block for Grosjean staying at Lotus in 2015 is his personal sponsor French oil company Total. As part of the Mercedes deal Lotus will switch to Petronas fuel and lubricants next year, making a Total sponsorship deal rather awkward. But Grosjean does not think it will derail negotiations with the team.
"I think they understand and there are discussions of course, but I think the relationship is more than just a sticker, a driver and a sponsor. It's a long relationship and we want to keep it going. Even though it's not Total fuelling the car, it doesn't mean that I won't be a Total driver."