#8 ROMAIN GROSJEAN
Handed a second chance in 2012, Romain Grosjean was hit and miss in his comeback season. Flash forward seven years and he lines up at Haas, F1’s newest team, as a multiple podium finisher.
|Full Name||Romain Grosjean|
|Date of Birth||17th April 1986|
|First Race||2009 European Grand Prix|
Born in Geneva, Switzerland to a Swiss father and French mother, Romain Grosjean’s karting career started relatively late, at the age of fourteen. By 2003, though, he had already progressed to single-seaters, and a season in the Formula Lista Junior Championship saw him triumph, taking victory at every race. A move to French Formula Renault followed in 2004, and after a learning year, Grosjean dominated the championship in 2005, taking ten victories. A challenging year in Formula 3 Euro Series followed, though a one off appearance at the British Formula Three Championship brought him two poles and two wins. He continued in the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2007, this time with the ASM team, and won the title after a rivalry with Sebastien Buemi. His junior career also boasts three top ten finishes at the Macau Grand Prix between 2005 and 2008.
The next logical step on the ladder was the GP2 series, where he won the inaugural GP2 Asia series, before finishing fourteen points off the title in the main series. Forced out of ART by the arrival of Nico Hulkenberg, Grosjean moved to the Campos team for the 2009 season, and would finish fourth in the title hunt, despite missing the end of the season due to other commitments.
These other commitments were with the Renault F1 team. Renault had nurtured Grosjean’s career since he won the French Formula Renault championship. When Nelson Piquet Jnr left the team mid-2009, Grosjean was the driver who would replace him. After a number of unfortunate incidents in his first Grands Prix and being off the pace of his double World Champion team-mate Fernando Alonso, Grosjean was not retained by the team for 2010.
Undeterred, in 2010 Grosjean returned to GP2, competed in the GT1 World Championship, made his début at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and won the Auto GP title. Another season in GP2 followed, in which he won both the Asian series and the main series, scoring six wins and finishing 35 points ahead of his nearest rival. Grosjean was also welcomed back to the re-branded Lotus Renault team in 2011 as a test driver and for 2012, they announced he would be re-joining their driver line-up alongside Kimi Raikkonen. Though he impressed with his raw speed and three podium finishes, his comeback year will mostly be remembered for the huge crash he caused at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix. Despite a spate of similar first lap errors, Grosjean was retained for 2013. He came back stronger. Gone were the silly errors, and instead he took six podium finishes and out-performed his team-mate for much of the latter half of the year. The team struggled with their new hybrid engine in 2014, and Grosjean scored just eight points. Despite financial issues in 2015, the switch to Mercedes power made the Lotus team more able to fight for points, and Grosjean even scored an unlikely podium at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Uncertainty over the Lotus team’s future, and a desire to be a team leader, led the Frenchman to signing up for the new Haas team for 2016. The team stunned the paddock by being highly competitive in their first races, as Grosjean scored a sixth place in Australia and a fifth in Bahrain. Teething issues and brake struggles hampered the team, and Grosjean, for the rest of the year, but he scored all of the team’s 29 points in their maiden season.
The driver of car number eight finished in the points on eight occasions in 2017, but Romain Grosjean never reached the heights of Haas’ impressive early 2016 race pace. A best ever qualifying of sixth at the Australian Grand Prix was the highlight. More often than not the Frenchman could be heard complaining on the team radio due to frustrations with his car, but nevertheless he maintained his team leader status, regularly finishing ahead of new team-mate Kevin Magnussen in both qualifying and the races.
In 2018, it was Magnussen who seemed to have the upper-hand over the Frenchman at the Haas team. The first half of Grosjean’s season was littered with errors: a spin which wiped out several drivers on the first lap in the Spanish Grand Prix, multiple crashes over the French Grand Prix weekend and a collision with Carlos Sainz in Silverstone which ended both their races. Perhaps his most infamous moment of 2018 was a crash under Safety Car conditions in Baku, in which his race engineer pointed blame at Marcus Ericsson, despite the Swede being nowhere near the Haas car. There was misfortune, too, when running high in the points in Australia, a pit-stop error ended both Haas drivers’ races. Despite all of this, Grosjean had moments where he shone in 2018, including recording the team’s best ever finish with fourth in Austria. The Frenchman will require more moments like that in 2019 to keep his place at what is fast becoming one of F1’s leading midfield teams.
ROMAIN GROSJEAN’S F1 RECORD
|Year||Team||Final Position||Points Scored||Wins||Poles||Podiums|