Romain Grosjean feels "100 percent" more ready to grab his latest opportunity with Renault in Formula 1 than he did when he stepped up to a race seat with the team back in 2009.
The Frenchman will drive for Lotus Renault GP in Friday practice sessions in Abu Dhabi and Brazil, as the team evaluates its options for 2012 just in case Robert Kubica cannot return. With his last F1 chance in 2009 ending after just seven races for the team, Grosjean says he is returning a much better driver, and vastly more prepared for what he needs to do to secure himself a race seat.
"My last time [in 2009] was a strange chance, not a real one," he said. "It was an opportunity that I could not say no to, but it was not the best way to jump to F1. Now, we have rebuilt everything, been back to GP2 and won it. So doing two Friday sessions will be good mileage for the future.
"If you get through a tough time you learn a lot, and I think I am more prepared. It is always difficult to be 100 percent ready for F1, it is really a bit step compared to everything else, but compared to before, I am 10% more ready than I was."
Grosjean believes that his enforced return to GP2 helped him work on areas of his driving where he felt lacking before, which should help him for his return to F1.
"The 2009 experience, first of all, it was fantastic. To do seven GPs with Fernando [Alonso] was so much experience, but the times were tough as well. When in March you do not have a drive and do not know what you are going to do, it was a tough time.
"But it helped me become stronger and different, and it helped me become what I am today. The GP2 season has been very good and shows I improved myself in some areas where I was maybe not as strong as I wanted. For sure, when I get back in an F1 car we will see things in a bit of a different way."
As well as feeling better in himself, Grosjean believes the atmosphere at the team will be more positive under the new management in charge compared to 2009.
"It is different, for sure," he said. "I prefer this atmosphere; I prefer the way it is running at the moment. I feel better as well. You are spending 20 weekends with these guys, so it is better to have a good relationship. I think I will get in the car with a big smile now, try to enjoy as much as I can the track time and give my best feedback and the best lap time I can get."
Grosjean is well aware that the two Friday outings are being used as an audition for his talents, as Renault weighs up driver options for 2012, but says he welcomes the pressure on him to perform.
"Every time you get in a car it is an audition – even when you are established. You have to do the best you can, and they [the team] will look deeply at what I am doing. But I like it; I like the pressure, so that is OK."
When asked about his feelings about the future, he said: "It is a bit early to say anything, but Robert is the key at the moment. We are all hoping he has a good recovery, but so far it is too early to say anything for next year.
"We have had a discussion with a few teams, and they are going on. Nothing is done yet, so everybody will have to be patient."