Lotus team principal Eric Boullier believes that Romain Grosjean can become Formula One world champion in the future.
“I believe Romain can become world champion. That’s why we kept him. Because we believe he’s got the talent. He’s definitely got the speed.”
Grosjean’s one-lap pace was a particular highlight during the 2012 season, but a string of accidents caused many to question his place in the sport. However, Boullier revealed to The Guardian that he believes Grosjean has turned a corner with his driving style.
“The new Romain is a very different to the one three months ago. He’s much more focused. He’s not wasting any energy, any time on the useless things F1 can create.
“He is also one of the few drivers who has won every championship he has entered. Lewis Hamilton achieved it, and so did Nico Hulkenberg. But Vettel has not. Romain has proved he can win races and win championships. So why not the Formula One world championship?”
Grosjean will be looking to build upon his three podium finishes in 2012, and his pace in testing so far has been impressive. He finished quickest on day two in Barcelona, and the Frenchman will hope to contribute to Lotus’ championship charge in 2013. Boullier clearly has confidence in Grosjean, but his prospects for the coming season will not become apparent until the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.