Romain, you spent some time with the engineers here at Enstone today. What preparation were you going through with the team?
RG: First of all, I had a chance to sit in a mock-up of the 2012 chassis. It’s always something special to sit in a new car for the first time, very exciting and very cool! We also discussed plans for next year with the new regulations, new tyres, and what to expect during Grand Prix weekends. It’s always a great feeling coming to Enstone, I enjoy walking around the factory talking to the different departments and getting to know everyone. I’ve been a member of the team since last year and I know the engineers and mechanics well, but as a driver you never stop learning.
Having worked with the engineers last year, have you formed a good relationship with them already?
RG: It was great working with the team last year as it allowed me to form a good understanding with the guys. It’s really important to spend time with the team in pre-season, especially as we will have 20 Grand Prix weekends together this year, so more than 100 days! It’s best we get off to a good start. I’ll probably see them more often than my fiancée this year, actually…
You are working hard on your fitness over the winter break. Is there anything you particularly look forward to, or anything you may enjoy a bit less?
RG: Training is all part of the job; luckily for me I enjoy it! I suppose working the neck muscles is the only thing that’s not so much fun as it’s a strange area to train, but it’s essential to help drivers cope with the forces you experience in a Formula 1 car. I do get the chance to play squash and tennis which I really enjoy, and when the weather picks up I like going running and cycling. I always prefer to be outside in the fresh air!
Talking of running and cycling, you are a big fan of endurance training. What is your routine when it comes to these?
RG: When you are preparing to spend around 90 minutes in a Formula 1 car it helps to do these kinds of exercises for the same amount of time. If you want to stand on the podium it is essential not to let your performance drop off. I generally run between 10-20km or cycle between 60-100km to make sure I am at the top of my game!
Having three French drivers on the grid next year is great news for the fans. Have you noticed a difference in the level of support from your home followers recently?
RG: Definitely. The French fans have been waiting for a while to have a driver to follow in Formula 1 and now there are three of us. Grand Prix is of course a French term, so the country certainly has a lot of history within the sport! Hopefully we can help develop support for Formula 1 in France again.