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Grosjean set to lead Haas F1 in 2016

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean poised to join the Haas F1 Team for F1 2016
Romain Grosjean is set to be confirmed as the first signing for the incoming Haas F1 Team in a move that would bring his four-year tenure with Lotus to an end.

The Frenchman teased an imminent announcement regarding his plans for 2016 during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, declaring that his future is assured and will be confirmed soon.

His words coincided with growing speculation that he was set to make a switch to Haas, the burgeoning American outfit making a swoop for the podium winner having failed in its bid to sign Force India's Nico Hulkenberg.

Indeed, with Lotus on the verge of being confirmed as sold to Renault for 2016, the French manufacturer had indicated its desire to secure the services of a French driver, but speaking to Canal +, Renault Sport boss Cyril Abiteboul suggested it hadn't succeeded in retaining Grosjean.

"It's a shame we couldn't talk about it, but we maybe were not ready in time. It's all about timing. Romain is a great driver, he deserves a great team.”

With Grosjean out of the frame, attention turns to who could potentially replace him, especially now Lotus (Renault) has confirmed Pastor Maldonado would be staying for 2016.

Sergio Perez has been identified as a potential candidate, but the Mexican maintains he is close to completing a deal to stay at Force India. Kevin Magnussen has also been linked after McLaren declared it would release him from his contract if he wanted to be, though with Jenson Button seemingly poised to announce his retirement from F1, the Dane may be presented with an incentive to stay.

With Abiteboul hinting that it would prefer a French driver, former Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne is an obvious candidate, though the fact he is signed to race for Renault's rival Citroen DS in Formula E could potentially scupper those plans.

“There's no national bias, we wouldn't stay in Formula 1 for a particular country or region,” Abiteboul continued. “Renault is an international brand, especially in countries like China and in south-east Asia. But we're on a project which necessarily needs a little French touch. There are young Frenchmen pushing, so I'm not worried."

Vergne has also been linked to Haas F1, though Esteban Gutierrez is expected to fill one of the seats as part of his Ferrari reserve driver role.
by Ollie Barstow

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
19.09.2015 - Qualifying, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E23
20.09.2015 - Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E23 and Max Verstappen (NED) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10
20.09.2015 - Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E23
20.09.2015 - Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E23
05.09.2015 - Free Practice 3, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E23

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September 22, 2015 10:28 AM

Quite a brave move from Romain. The challenge is huge but I believe in him. He learned to control his raw speed and shown a great leadership the last two years at Lotus, where he was no match for Pastor. I hope it will work out with Haas.

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