He’s an old hand at answering your questions, but you had more matters for Romain to settle – from his move to Haas to his future plans
A cool waft of air greets F1 Racing as the doors of the Haas motorhome part, offering sanctuary from the oppressive heat without. Like everything about the Haas F1 team, this space is slick, clean and impressive without being superuously ash; it has much in common with the thoroughly Zen Honda unit that’s often its near neighbour in the F1 paddock.
Esteban Gutiérrez, about to undergo a grilling of his own from a group of attendant Spanish-speaking journalists, smiles and nods from a nearby table. But where is Romain? No need to fret: here he comes, steered by team media man Stuart Morrison. RoGro bids us a chirpy hello and deposits himself in the chair opposite, stretching out as he regards the pile of question cards on the table.
It’s at this point that drivers will, on occasion, exclaim “How many?” as they perform a swift mental audit of the interview’s potential duration. But not Romain: he’s been a You Ask The Questions subject twice before and has thoroughly enjoyed it each time.
With an impish grin he picks up the rst card, ips it over, scrutinises it, and then holds forth… What teething troubles have you had with your new team so far this year? Mark Peace, UK We’ve had a few front-wing failures, but the biggest challenge in F1, for everyone, is to get the tyres to work – it’s even more complicated than it was in the past. That is our number one priority. The rest has been pretty straightforward.
Which team-mate have you enjoyed working with the most? Agne Lazauskaite, UK Denitely Fernando [Alonso, they were Renault team-mates in 2009]. He was a friend before I joined Renault. We had a good relationship and it was interesting for me to learn from him. We did only seven races together, but the little I saw was enough to show how good he was. F1 Racing: I take it he didn’t exactly coach you, but did he give you any advice? RG: No, you don’t do that, but everything was open in the team so I could see all his data. It’s very difcult for one team-mate to help the other one. He is always your competitor, so you always want to beat him.