GPUpdate gets to know... Romain Grosjean
17 May 2017 – F1 drivers answer hundreds of questions at each Grand Prix, but how much do we know about their lives away from the track? GPUpdate.net is on a mission to find out more, starting with Romain Grosjean.
Describe your perfect day…
I would have a good lie in, with the kids sleeping, and me as well. I would have a good breakfast with them, cooking eggs or something like that. I could then have a bit of a training session, maybe a run or a cycle, then cooking with the kids, a big pizza – we love to do that together. I would have a small siesta. I'd then go on the lake on a boat, wakeboarding, just chilling out and having fun. It'd then be a bath for the kids, again having the evening with them, dancing and some music, then going to bed early. Formula 1 is always in me, but sometimes I manage to put it away.
In my life, making kids! It's changed my whole life. Before you do things for yourself, and then you get kids and you do things for them. When I leave to come here [the F1 paddock], it's hard on my kids, because daddy goes away, but they can watch me on TV and I want them to be proud of what I'm doing.
What's the biggest mistake you've ever made?
Hmm, my biggest mistake… It's to let my emotions speak instead of me. In relation to my engineer or a decision on track in Formula 1…
…do you think FOM pick on you with radio messages?
They do like emotions and I'm not a Nordic guy, so I speak with emotion in my voice, but yeah…
How long do you spend getting ready in the morning?
Four minutes! I'm very quick. I get up, have a quick shower, clean my teeth and I'm ready to go. I don't need much time.
Do you prefer a lie in or an afternoon nap?
An afternoon siesta!
Do you prefer a night in or a night out?
I like both! I like going out with friends to restaurants, but I don't like going out late to clubs or whatever, that's not my style. Let's say I've got rules; I need to go to sleep on the same day that I woke up!
Oh, two nightmares!
How do you kill time at an airport?
I WhatsApp friends, go on the internet and see if there is anything I'd like to buy!
What's the funniest thing you've ever done?
Jumping from a plane!
…how does the adrenaline compare to driving a Formula 1 car?
I thought I was dead for five seconds! At the top, they don't ask you if you want to go or not, because everyone is going to say no! It's amazing though.
What's the best prank you've played on someone?
I've got the hand behind the heads (peace sign) of people in the team – when the photographers are taking pictures!
What would your karaoke song be?
(Laughs) Don't ask me this! I'm not going anywhere with this. It's disastrous. We're not touching this!
French, Italian, English and a bit of German. German was the most difficult to learn. It's the structure and grammar – very difficult.
Which language would you most like to learn?
It was Italian and I did it!
Street circuit or permanent circuit?
Permanent circuit. Normally you get more speed, more feeling of the speed, like Suzuka, you're flowing. Street circuits are fun, but it's more like rallying, where you never find the perfect lap. On a permanent circuit you can get the perfect lap, braking at the right place and doing everything 100 per cent.
Paul Ricard or Magny-Cours?
Magny-Cours. I prefer the Magny-Cours layout. But I'm so grateful that we get a French Grand Prix again next year. I don't mind where it is!
If you could add a circuit to the calendar, which would be it?
I would like Turkey, I think it's nice!
Do you prefer sweet or savoury food?
I would go for a mojito as the drink. I would probably go for beef wellington as the food.
What's your favourite film?
I have some French ones, but you probably won't know them! Blood Diamond, maybe.
What's your favourite TV show?
Suits! I love Suits. But I'm stuck, because I've finished the last episode of the last season and there is nothing before September! (Sighs)
What's your favourite book?
I like autobiographies. One of the best I ever read was Andre Agassi – I really liked his. Also Roger Federer, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela – a few.
What's your favourite band?
I do quite like Bruno Mars. Not 24K Magic, the one before, with Mark Ronson, Uptown Funk!
Countryside. Fresh air, landscape, freedom.
Summer or winter?
Summer. I don't ski anymore, because I'm too scared of hurting myself, so I'd go for summer.
If you had to take one driver to a desert island with you, who would it be, and why?
I think Sebastian Vettel. He's got kids, we kind of have the same life, so we could have some fun.
And the one driver you wouldn't take to a desert island?
I think Lewis Hamilton. We've got nothing in common. I've got kids and I'm very homely, while he's much more into partying and lifestyle, which is great for the sport, but we're different.
Who's the funniest team-mate you've ever had?
Kevin Magnussen! (Smiles)
…all good apart from the coin toss then?
(Laughs) I've always lost with those things!
On Felipe Massa in Hungary in 2013, where I got the drive-through penalty for [crossing] the white line (at Turn 4). I love that one!
What's your best ever race?
There have been a few of them. Recently, I would say Bahrain 2016 (fifth place in his second race with Haas).
Would you rather win races, but not the title, or win the title, but no races?
I would want to win races but not the title. If you win races but not the title it's down to mechanical failures, problems or bad luck. If you don't win races but you win the title, you have been more consistent, but you have never been the best.
What's the weirdest question you've ever been asked?
…maybe one of these?
(Smiles) No, no! I've had 25 times worse. One of the very annoying things is when you do a good race, you're proud of yourself, but you finished like P9 and the journalist says, 'So it was a difficult day?' Ahh! I'm like, 'We haven't watched the same race, have we?'
Finally, Brembo or Carbon Industrie?
(Laughs) Well, right now Brembo, because we cannot run Carbon Industrie. To be fair, Brembo has made some good steps with us from China onwards. The other one, Carbon Industrie, is still better, but right now we haven't got the cooling to run them. We'll wait and see.
Interview by: Mike Seymour