May 21 (GMM) Romain Grosjean will continue to give up his cockpit in Friday practice sessions in 2015.
Recently, tension was clearly brewing between the Frenchman and his Lotus teammate Pastor Maldonado, as the heavily-sponsored Venezuelan is contracted to drive in every session at every race.
So it is Grosjean who has been sitting out practice sessions so that another sponsored driver, reserve and reigning GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer, can get track time.
Last week, Briton Palmer said he is expecting to appear in the black and gold E23 at about half of all the Fridays in 2015.
Grosjean admits that directly affects him.
“It does affect you quite a lot in terms of preparation for the weekend,” he said in Monaco. “I believe that’s why not everyone is doing it.”
Alongside Palmer, another controversial role at Lotus this year is being filled by ‘development driver’ Carmen Jorda, the female Spaniard and former GP3 driver.
She admits that, unlike Palmer, she will not be driving on a Friday this year, triggering new suggestions that Jorda’s role is more like a publicity stunt.
“On the one hand,” team owner Gerard Lopez said, “we have a woman who refreshes the image of formula one, and brands tell us it is good that she is there.
“And then you have people who tell you that it is only publicity,” he told El Confidencial newspaper. “But the whole car is only publicity!”