F1 star Romain Grosjean has endured an up and down season, with some moments of brilliance interspersed with others of madness.
The Frenchman failed to finish in three of the opening five races, but he scored a stunning fourth-place finish for his Haas team in July's Austrian Grand Prix.
But inconsistency has continued to plague his driving, racking up another DNF at the British Grand Prix before an impressive sixth place in Germany.
His season's nadir came in back-to-back grands prix in Italy and Singapore in September.
At Monza, he was disqualified because the floor of his Haas car didn't comply with the rules, before receiving two additional penalty points on his super license for erratic driving at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore.
"I know what I did wrong sometimes," Grosjean tells CNN's The Circuit. "(But) I think since the beginning of the summer, things are going really my way and I'm doing well so that's what I focus on.
"I'm proud to have been able to come back from that rough time where there was a bit of bad luck, a bit of mistakes and altogether made it that first eight or nine races were very difficult."
Grosjean has nine points on his racing license -- three more at either the Japanese, United States or Mexican grands prix and the 32-year-old will receive a second career race ban.
In 2012, he was ruled to have caused the spectacular opening-corner crash at the Belgian Grand Prix.
His seat with Haas, which he has held since the American team's 2016 F1 debut, looked under threat after errors in Azerbaijan and Spain earlier this season but it was announced this week he would be kept on for 2019.
"We had agreed and shook hands a little bit of time before the announcement," he says.
"It's been great, I joined the team since the first day and I put a lot of faith into them and through the tough times they reverted that faith to me, which was great to see.
"As I say, since Germany I was back to where I wanted to be. I knew at one point, I knew what I was doing was wrong and if I kept doing that, things would end."
The Japanese Grand Prix is an event he loves, and the race offers him and Haas the perfect opportunity to get their season back on track.
"I love the culture, I love the food, I love the country, I love the circuit and the fans," he says. "The circuit itself is just amazing but altogether it makes it a very special weekend.
"We love it, there is a great atmosphere where the drivers are still gladiators for the fans and they come on Thursday and it's packed and they're always there.
"It's always difficult to explain what you like about a circuit and what you don't like, but there is some elevation, there are not that many run-off areas which brings a bit of adrenaline, it's a very high-speed flowing circuit."
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