Jun.12 (GMM) Romain Grosjean admitted recently that sitting out Friday practice sessions this year affects his preparation for races.
After some early appearances in 2015, Lotus reserve Jolyon Palmer then sat out Friday practice in Monaco and Canada.
But the reigning GP2 champion’s management announced on Wednesday that the 24-year-old Briton will be back in action in Austria and beyond, for the forthcoming five-run run through the ‘European season’ of 2015.
“Hopefully we can keep up the good work and make more progress these upcoming races,” Palmer said.
But a controversy emerged recently when Lotus’ regular race driver Grosjean reportedly complained that teammate Pastor Maldonado should also share the load by sitting out some Friday practice sessions.
The strongly PDVSA-sponsored Maldonado, however, is holding firm, insisting his contract guarantees him every session on the 2015 calendar.
In April, Grosjean said he understood that Lotus also needs to bank the backing that is also being brought to the team by Palmer, the son of former F1 driver and British circuit magnate Jonathan Palmer.
“We have an economic reality today that means F1 is not easy,” said the Frenchman. “And the teams need to look at every possible solution to finance the budgets.”
But as it became clearer that Grosjean would be sitting out many more Fridays this season, he admitted it hurts his preparation for the races.
“It does affect you quite a lot,” the 29-year-old admitted recently.
“FP1 is normally when you test new aero parts,” said Grosjean, “and you get a first idea of the car and can do a setup change for FP2.”
He said that missing the first session means it is “much harder to choose the right setup and then make some changes overnight”.
“Yeah, it does affect you,” Grosjean added, “that’s why I believe not everyone is doing it. The more time you spend in the car the better, especially when you have very little testing in a year.”