After his United States Grand Prix was effectively over before it had even begun, Romain Grosjean looks to enjoy getting high in Mexico.
How are you looking forward to your trip to Mexico?
Romain Grosjean: It's a new venue and it's always nice to learn a new track. I can remember watching the Mexican Grand Prix when I was a kid, particularly with a memory of Senna going upside down at the last corner. It looks like the layout has more low speed corners now, but it still has a very long straight so there'll be an interesting competition to see who can be the fastest there!
Have you ever been to Mexico City before?
RG: It will be a first for me so I'm excited to be going there. I'm sure we will all get a great response and I'm looking forward to experiencing the culture and especially investigating the food which is what I always do when visiting a new city.
Any special preparations for the high altitude?
RG: The city is very high but for me that's a good thing as I was born in the mountains! I'm a big fan of skiing and cycling in the mountains too, so I think I'll be pretty well prepared. I don't think it's going to cause the drivers any issues, but I know there are a few areas to give some different calculations to the engineers. It's going to be different with the brake cooling and things like that, but every track has its characteristics so I'm sure we'll get on top of it pretty quickly.
How do you reflect on your United States Grand Prix?
RG: Short but not sweet. It was quite some event. I'm glad there was a decent race for all the fans to watch after so much rainfall, and I was pretty pissed off to get hit at the first corner like that as it ruined my race. Damage was done to the rear floor and crucially to the brake ducting. We changed tyres as my tyre was punctured but the brake temperature kept rising. We came in again to change to slicks and also see if there was any debris blocking the ducting, but it was more the case that there was no ducting! It wasn't safe to continue, which meant I had to retire. I was gutted for myself, the team and all the fans. I think we had potential for a good finish, especially with everything that was going on elsewhere. The best bit of the weekend for me was actually away from the track where I went out on Sunday with all the guys who work on my car. Despite all the rainfall we'd seen in Austin, they were still very thirsty!
The weather forecast for this weekend does show potential for rain; what are you feelings on driving in the rain?
RG: It's something very different to driving in the dry. In the dry you can be very precise and you have a far better idea of the level of grip. You're going faster in the dry and you're pushing the tyres to their limits. In the wet, it's a different way of driving. The level of grip can vary so much over the course of a lap, let alone over the course of a race. You're more tentative, feeling your way around and you have to react very quickly as the car can start sliding very easily. You have to be wary of puddles and the risk of aquaplaning. Understeer and oversteer are much more present and evident on every corner when it's really wet and visibility is a very big concern. A car out front or in clear track has an advantage over something in the pack. It can be a lot of fun but sometimes it can seem pretty crazy too.
You've got just three races left with Lotus F1 Team; any special plans?
RG: I'm certainly aiming to finish as strongly as possible with them as they're a great bunch of people. It would be great to have a strong result in Mexico.
With three consecutive points finishes, Pastor Maldonado looks to wrestle some more from the grasp of his rivals as Formula 1 returns to Mexico.
How are you looking forward to the Mexican Grand Prix?
Pastor Maldonado: I think it's going to be one of the most special races of the year. There's certainly a lot of expectation and lots of great fans in Mexico. It's a Latin American race so I think I'm going to enjoy it a lot. I think we're all going to get a fantastic welcome and a lot of support. It's a great country with great people. I love Mexico so I'm looking forward to it.
Do you expect to get a lot of local support?
PM: It's certainly very close to my home and
the Spanish language is used so I'm looking forward to meeting fans old and new. It's a big city so there's a lot of potential for many people tosupport the event and I'm sure they will.
What do you think of the circuit?
PM: I've never been there so it will be a new experience for me. It's always difficult to make a call on a track until you've driven it in the car. The layout looks good with some interesting corners with some low speed and also medium and quicker stuff, then a very long main straight which makes up a big percentage of the lap. We're certainly going to get some high speeds along there! It'll be interesting to explore our potential.
Did you have a particular approach because of the altitude?
PM: There's nothing particular other than your general conditioning and training. It's the highest race of the year so the air will be a bit different but you adapt pretty quickly.
How was your United States Grand Prix?
PM: It was an eventful one. The waiting for the sessions was something we see sometimes and you have to try to get some track time. To be honest the race itself wasn't the most enjoyable as the car was quite a handful in the conditions we had and you never knew what to expect. I was struggling with the brake balance which made it tough to push hard. We also seemed to grain the wet tyres more than expected so that had to be managed. It was good to get the points, but we didn't score them in the best way possible because you always want to be pushing hard all the way.
There's a forecast of rain when we get to Mexico...
PM: The weather will be the same for everyone and we showed we can have a good result when there's lot of action going on elsewhere. It's a different track and a new one for everyone so we'll have to see how our car likes in then deal with the weather as we find it.
What are your thoughts on Jolyon now he's been announced as your team-mate for 2016?
PM: He's a nice guy and he's good to work with so I feel positive about next season. We've been working closely together in FP1 sessions this year so that gives me a good idea about working with him. He's an intelligent guy so I'm sure he'll do a good job.
Are you a fan of Mexican food?
PM: I love tacos so I'll be having a few there, but not too many, at least not before the race or qualifying! I like Mexican food, especially when it's hot and spicy; although maybe not Mexican hot and spicy!
Trick or Treat?
PM: I'm hoping the race will be a treat for us.
Will you celebrate with a tequila if it's a good result?
PM: Yes, but it has to be a proper good result!