Romain Grosjean is ready to help Lotus team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the Formula 1 World Championship if the situation arises.
The Finn is third in the standings with six races to go, although he is already 45 points behind Fernando Alonso, having been the only driver in the top seven who is yet to win a race.
Grosjean is over 100 points off the championship lead and says it is only logical to do all he can to help Raikkonen.
“Until Spa we had fair racing, but from now on it’s logical,” said Grosjean.
“Kimi is fighting in front of the championship and I don’t have many hopes in terms of position. I could be seventh if I score good points, but Kimi is still at the front.
“So yes, I would let him by every time we need and we know that it will be fair play from race one next year again. It’s not being number one or two, it’s about being intelligent and think about the team.”
The House of the Rising Sun
Well, we’ve been struggling a bit to get things going in our way in the last few races. This is one of the tightest championships I’ve ever been with and while you don’t get everything nicely together during the race weekend, you cannot expect the best results, either.
In Monza and in Singapore we’ve lost some ground to the leaders in the drivers’ championship. Obviously, my main goal is get closer to the top and bring good points to team, as well, but one thing is for sure we won’t give it up and we will fight until the very end.
Usually coming to Japan has meant the the finish of the season being very close, but not anymore. We have still six more races to go.
For me Suzuka is one of the circuits I really enjoy, as being that type of racing circuit from the good old times. It’s a track, where you have to have a well balanced and solid car to go through all those different kind of corners. The 130R is always a challenge and there are many more alike.
Winning in Suzuka 2005 was one of my best ever races, but it didn’t matter that much, as the championship was lost a race earlier in Brazil. Hopefully we get it right again this time, while it really counts!
We should get some new parts there, hopefully the weather stays also good, while setting up the car the way I like it depends much on the weather and on the circumstances. We know the speed is there in our car. We just have to find the right set-up to maximise it every time.
We will give it our best shot to be on the podium, but the races are going to get more and more difficult with other teams constantly pushing with new development parts. Obviously, we have to make a step forward from Singapore, where we were nowhere to fight for top places.
As usual it’s impossible right now to predict how our car goes in the next race. We have to wait until Friday practise. Then we know more.
Although the Finn is still gunning for the world championship, Raikkonen is cautious about what he can achieve in Japan this weekend judging by the recent form of his team.
“We have not been even close in the last races, so hopefully we can stronger but I’m not really hoping that we are suddenly going to be fastest,” explained Raikkonen.
“We saw what happened in the last races, but maybe I am wrong. I hope so…”
As AUTOSPORT revealed last week, Lotus is planning to introduce a raft of aerodynamic developments to its E20 for next week’s event in Korea.
Raikkonen hopes that those new parts lift the pace of the car at a time when he needs to start closing the 45-point gap deficit to Fernando Alonso.
“I think we are falling off a little bit from the others, who have improved a bit,” explained Raikkonen. “So we have some small parts, new parts here, and hopefully it will get us back more where we have been before.
“But we have to do the best we can here, and hopefully in Korea we should get some bigger improvements. If they work that should improve things even more.”
Raikkonen will test the Lotus double-DRS in Friday practice at Suzuka, with his team hoping it can get it to work effectively enough to be raced for the first time.
And although Raikkonen’s season-long consistency means he remains in with a shout of winning the title without actually winning a race, he says he does not care about anything other than the championship.
“If we could win it [the title], I don’t care how it comes,” he said. “If we win it, we win it and that is it.
“But at the moment it doesn’t look very good. We have been in a worse situation, but we keep trying. As long as we have a small chance we keep trying and hopefully we can improve our position.”