LONDON (Reuters) - Lotus are backing Romain Grosjean to come good despite the Frenchman picking up a 10 place grid penalty for next week’s Canadian Grand Prix after crashing out of Sunday’s Monaco showcase race.
Formula One stewards ruled that Grosjean, who was suspended for last year’s Italian Grand Prix after an accident, had caused the collision with Toro Rosso’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo and punished him strongly.
“We will sit down with him and go through the weekend,” said team principal Eric Boullier. “It’s always the same story, especially in Monaco.
“He had the pace, we could see it. It’s even more frustrating because of that.”
Grosjean - whose team mate Kimi Raikkonen is second in the championship - crashed heavily in Thursday practice in Monaco and then did the same on Saturday morning, giving his mechanics a race against time to fix the car for qualifying.
In qualifying, he complained bitterly that Ricciardo obstructed him and prevented him reaching the crucial final phase.
“We just need to keep cooling him down and have a proper discussion back at the factory,” said Boullier.
“He did a great job over the winter and fixed all the problems he had last year. But there is some frustration some time when he knows he can be fast. He just needs to build himself saying he is fast, and he can deliver some big results.”
Grosjean saw a sports psychologist after a spate of accidents last season, including one in Belgium that put Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso out of the race, with the Spaniard potentially losing many more points than he would have needed to take the title at the end of the season.
He started the year well, staying out of trouble and getting on the podium with third place in Bahrain.
Italian Davide Valsecchi is Lotus’s reserve driver but Boullier played down speculation that he could get a chance instead of Grosjean, without entirely ruling it out.
“Not yet,” said Boullier, when asked whether he was considering such a move.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar