MONTMELO – Romain Grosjean has revealed that he is expecting to lose ten practice sessions across the course of the 2015 Formula 1 season to make way for Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer.
Palmer joined the team in a reserve role at the beginning of the year following his GP2 title victory in 2014, and has replaced Grosjean for FP1 in China, Bahrain and Spain.
Many teams use reserve drivers during practice sessions to give them experience behind the wheel of their cars. However, most opt to share the losses evenly between its two race drivers.
At Lotus, Grosjean has been the only driver to make way for Palmer on every occasion, giving Pastor Maldonado over four hours of additional track time so far this season.
When asked by MotorSportsTalk if he would be making way for Palmer at all this season, Maldonado said: “It is not up to me. If they ask me, I will do it.”
However, Grosjean claimed that Maldonado has been asked by the team, and made no secret of his frustration over his loss of track time.
“Well yes,” Grosjean said when asked by MST if he felt frustrated by the decisions. “I don’t think it’s going to change.”
He was then informed that Maldonado had said he would happily sit out instead if asked. “That’s surprising,” Grosjean said, “because I’ve asked plenty of times already.
“It’s ten times. Ten times it’s going to hurt me as far as I’m aware. I think… he has been asked.”
Lotus is known to receive a large sum of money from Maldonado in the form of sponsorship from his backers, Venezuelan oil giant PDVSA. Grosjean, on the other hand, brings less backing, which may act as an explanation for how frequently he has been sidelined so far this year.