“I was clever enough to think I needed help. It’s not a proof of weakness, it is more a strong point because you can always improve yourself.” – Romain Grosjean
After multiple first lap incidents and errors during the 2012 Formula 1 season, Romain Grosjean earned himself the nickname ‘first-lap nutcase’ from fellow drivers. The Lotus driver made a poor impression on the front runners by bringing in his reckless GP2 mentality causing many collisions on different occasions in his desperate pursuit to secure his first Grand Prix victory.
However, the 2013 season saw a different Grosjean. The driver had eased off his ‘first-lap’ aggression and began securing valuable points and good race results. In the second half of the year, Grosjean took four podiums in the final six races, arguably performing stronger than his teammate Kimi Raikkonen and becoming Red Bull Racing’s nearest threat during the final few Grand Prix which secured his seat at Lotus next year. Grosjean had shown he has what it takes to run with the front-runners, which begs the question: “What changed from 2012 to 2013 for the French driver?”
In a bid to improve himself for the 2013 season, Grosjean sought help over the winter break from a sports psychologist in his home country. Grosjean believes these weekly sessions helped him to achieve the right frame of mind to lead his team and fight for titles in the future.
“I think I started because I was clever enough to think I needed help,” he said. “It’s not a proof of weakness, it is more a strong point because you can always improve yourself and that is why I still work with her now.”
“Sometimes I’ve wanted to dance quicker than the music, like in Monaco this year and I messed up the weekend because I wanted to go too fast for where we were. It’s about being in the right time, doing the right things, managing the pressure and the stress, when it comes up, and knowing why and how. Seeing how people are reacting around you helps you understand the pace yourself. It’s also about being ready to be a No. 1 and a world champion, which is not that easy at the end of the day.”
Grosjean said the sessions are varied but have helped him with self-confidence.
“There is a lot that goes on with her. She is used to working with very high-level athletes – French Olympic champions have been working with her. What we talk about depends on which mood you are in and what you need to work on. Once a week I meet her and we speak – a little bit about self-confidence and also not caring too much about what other people think. It’s very specific but it’s hard to say exactly what we have been working on.”
Grosjean added he would continue working with the psychologist in the future.
“I think I will continue for a while, because I do think you can always improve yourself and I do think it makes me a better man at home and a better driver on the track. So it makes my life much easier!”
Source: ESPN F1