MOTORSPORT: Grosjean denies a rift at Lotus as trouble persists

Romain Grosjean at Sepang

Romain Grosjean at Sepang

First published in Sport

Romain Grosjean is adamant Lotus’s crisis is not causing any rifts within the team – although it is giving him the occasional headache.

Grosjean and the Enstone-based outfit suffered another day of woe in practice ahead of tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix (9am), and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

In the season-opening race in Australia – an event Lotus won last year – Grosjean and new teammate Pastor Maldonado started at the back of the grid such were the team’s problems.

The fact Grosjean and Maldonado completed 43 and 29 laps res-pectively in the race before enc-ountering failures with the energy recovery system was seen as something ofs a minor triumph.

But at the Sepang International Circuit the gremlins struck again as Grosjean suffered a gearbox problem, while Maldonado’s car required an engine change that led to him completing just two installation laps across the two sessions.

Given the fact Lotus lost key personnel last year and have also been previously plagued by numerous financial issues, Grosjean maintains the team remains harmonious.

“It’s good to see everyone is staying together and the team spirit is stronger than ever,” said Grosjean.

“We’re in the same boat and all trying to pull in the same direction.

“When it goes wrong that’s not always the case, but in heading to the factory you can see everybody is trying to work as hard as they can.

“I believe if we can put two and two together we are not that far off the Red Bull, but it’s about putting that two and two together.”

Technical director Nick Chester has suggested it will not be until the Spanish Grand Prix in early May that Lotus can hope to resolve their issues, and be back fighting towards the front.

Grosjean insists he has the patience to wait, although he concedes to almost losing the plot in Melbourne.

“Being angry and furious would be the worst thing I could do,” he said.

“I admit I was shaking my head a lot in Australia, so much so I had a migraine afterwards, I had to take pills things were so bad.

“Yes, we’ve had more problems, but right now everyone believes we can come back and fight for points.”

The Grove-based Williams cars fared much better with Felipe Massa sixth in second practice and Valtteri Bottas ninth as Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg beat Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to set the fastest time.

At the back of the field, Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi were faster in their Banbury-based Marussia cars than Marcus Ericsson’s Caterham, whose Leafield teammate, Kamui Kobaya-shi, failed to register a time.

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