Romain Grosjean’s hopes for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix have taking a major dent after his Lotus F1 Team was forced to change the Frenchman’s gearbox after the previous Spanish Grand Prix. He will serve a five-place grid penalty per the F1 Sporting Regulations.

Grosjean finished in eighth place at the race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, despite the loss of fourth gear in the final third of the race.

After the race, the team inspected the unit and deemed that it had to be replaced; it is expected that the FIA will confirm the grid drop later this week.

Grosjean has suffered with a lack of on-track mileage at a number of Grands Prix this season, having to relinquish his E23 Hybrid challenger to reserve driver Jolyon Palmer for a total of ten FP1 sessions over the course of the season.

“It does affect you quite a lot in terms of preparation for the weekend,” he said in Wednesday’s FIA Press Conference at Monte Carlo.

“FP1 is normally when you test new aero parts and you can do a back-to-back and you know that you do three runs of five or six timed laps and you assess what’s the best part for the weekend.

“Then you get a first idea of the car and then you can do a set-up change for FP2, prepare your diff map, your brake map and then go into FP2.

“When you only start in FP2 you’ve got five timed laps on prime [tyre], three timed laps on option and then you go into your long runs so it’s much harder to choose what is the right set-up.

“Then you can make some changes overnight but again, the Saturday morning is the not the same fuel load and under the same track conditions.

“It does affect you, I believe that’s why not everyone is doing it. The more time you spend in the car the better it is, especially when you have very little testing in a year.”

This will be Grosjean’s fourth Monaco Grand Prix; he has a best finish of eighth place at last year’s race (one of just two occasions where he scored points all season), although he did win the 2009 GP2 Series Feature Race which ultimately earmarked him as a driver of the future.

Image via Lotus F1 Team

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Geoff Burke

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