Romain Grosjean is set to race in the Italian Grand Prix next weekend for the first time since 2009 following his suspension from the race last season.
The Frenchman was found guilty of causing the multi-car pile-up at the Belgian Grand Prix last year, warranting a one-race ban for his actions. Having not raced in F1 in 2010 and 2011, this year’s race will therefore be Grosjean’s first Italian Grand Prix since 2009, and he is looking forward to returning to Monza.
“It’s a race I wasn’t allowed to contest last season and as a racing driver all you want to do is race, so I can’t wait to take to the track for the first time in practice on Friday morning,” he explained.
“It’s a very historic venue; a beautiful circuit in a fantastic location and racing there is always great. It’s a special feeling when you are blasting through the park along the Monza straights, and there are so many really enthusiastic fans there.”
Grosjean also explained how he is hoping for a traditionally-hot race in Italy, with the only notable wet race at Monza being in 2008.
“It can be quite hot there sometimes and it can be hard on the tyres. Considering that this is where we seem to have an advantage with our car, let’s hope for both!”
Grosjean’s only appearance at the Italian Grand Prix was far from impressive, finishing fifteenth and a lap down.
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”