Romain Grosjean is confident he returns to Formula 1 a far stronger and more rounded driver than he was in 2009, in part as a result of the criticism he attracted while contesting the final seven races of that year.
Speaking at Jerez, the Frenchman admitted that he had made mistakes after replacing Nelson Piquet at Renault in late 2009, after which he was dropped by the team in favour of an all-new line up the following year.
Rather than leaving him with a point to prove in 2012, however, Grosjean says the experience – and the resulting detractors – helped strengthen his determination and therefore aided his return to the F1 fold.
"All I want to say to the people who didn't believe in me is 'thank you'," he said after taking the covers off Lotus's E20. "Thank you for making me stronger, which has helped me get back to Formula 1.
"Every experience can be turned into a good one if you come back stronger. My first season in F1 was not so easy, but now I'm much more ready. 2009 I made some mistakes – I was up against Alonso, who was quicker, and I didn't do everything right. To be honest that was quite helpful though, and I'm better now than I was.
"I'm living my dream; there's nowhere else I want to be and I'm very proud to have this chance again."
Grosjean said that having Kimi Raikkonen as a teammate would also be a benefit, both as a personal benchmark and to the team's future development.
"We want to bring Lotus forward as quickly as possible from Melbourne, and I think having Kimi in the team will help us," he explained. "It will be good for me to have him as a benchmark. We have the same spirit and we want the same thing, and those are the best qualities to develop the squad.
"Maybe I can give him information at the start, but he is a World Champion – he won't need that much time to adapt. We can share our thoughts, though, and that will be the best way to develop the team."