Romain Grosjean needs to rebuild his tattered confidence if he wants to get back on terms with Lotus team leader Kimi Raikkonen.

2013 Chinese Grand Prix - FridayThat is the advice of France’s quadruple world champion Alain Prost, who thinks 26-year-old Grosjean is suffering mentally after a difficult start to the 2013 season. While Finn Raikkonen won in Australia, finished second in Shanghai and is only 3 points off leading the drivers’ championship, Frenchman Grosjean has struggled in the sister E21, scoring just 11 points versus his teammate’s 49. “In the interviews you can see clearly that he is in an emotionally difficult situation,” Prost told Russia’s Championat. “His self-confidence is missing, particularly because of Raikkonen’s good performance. “Last year, Romain was fighting on an equal footing with him (Raikkonen), but this time he has been unable to,” added Prost.

Grosjean has puzzled as to the reasons for his struggle, but Prost commented: “Maybe he just needs a good weekend, so he can start again with a clean slate. “I tend to think this is more about the mental side than his speed,” he opined.

Lotus team boss Eric Boullier agrees that Raikkonen’s top form could explain the extent of Grosjean’s struggles. “Romain faces the very tough challenge of driving the same car as one of the most gifted drivers around,” said the Frenchman. “This will be frustrating for Romain at times as it’s very, very difficult to beat the Kimi who arrives at the track this season,” added Boullier. “But it’s also a tremendous opportunity as he’s learning from the very best. “If he can learn these lessons whilst bringing home points for the team, then he’s doing the job we want from him.”

Info: GMM, Image: Lotus F1 Team / LAT Photographic