2014 even worse than ’nutcase’ 2012 - Grosjean
"The most difficult year of my career"
Romain Grosjean says this year was even more difficult than the 2012 season, when he was branded F1’s ’first lap nutcase’ and had to serve a race ban.
The French driver, who will stay at Lotus next year for a fourth consecutive campaign, scored a mere handful of points in 2014 as the Enstone team struggled with a poor and underpowered car.
Grosjean told RMC Sport: "This was the most difficult year of my career psychologically."
That is despite the 28-year-old having to engage the help of a psychologist after 2012, when he almost lost his seat due to a season of erratic driving and mistakes.
"In 2012," he explained, "it was clearly about me and some stupid things I did. But this year I did a very good performance but it was not visible because of the car.
"This was also the first year that I was the team leader, so I was trying to understand and point everyone in the right direction and it took a lot of energy," said Grosjean.
Towards the end of the season, Grosjean declared that he could escape from his Lotus contract and switch to a top team, but he instead re-signed for Lotus.
"In sports," he explained, "it is always easier to support someone who is successful than someone who is in a difficult moment.
"But I think the numbers, compared to my teammate (Pastor Maldonado), speak for me.
"When you’re not on the podium, it is easy for people to ask questions, but we live in a sport that is hugely dependent on the car," Grosjean said.
He is therefore hoping Lotus can produce a better one for 2015.
"It’s always difficult to know before winter testing," he said. "This year, we thought we had a very good car because the aerodynamic numbers were excellent.
"By the third lap on the track, we knew it was not a good car.
"We already know that the Mercedes engine is more advanced, efficient and easier to use than the Renault, so that will help us to have a better car too.
"I hope very much to drink champagne on the podium again next year, but 2015 will be a good year anyway as my second child will arrive in mid-May," Grosjean revealed.