Why has Grosjean’s ‘dirty’ F1 reputation resurfaced in IndyCar?

After Graham Rahal hit out at Romain Grosjean after the latest IndyCar round, Crash.net takes a look back at some of the Frenchman’s most memorable F1 incidents.
Why has Grosjean’s ‘dirty’ F1 reputation resurfaced in IndyCar?

After his F1 career came to an end at the end of 2020 following his fireball crash in Bahrain, Romain Grosjean made the switch to IndyCar. 

Grosjean’s raw speed has never been in question with the Frenchman finishing on the podium 10 times in F1.

While his speed was there, Grosjean often found himself in crashes, even picking up a race ban in 2012 for causing a dramatic multi-crash at Spa-Francorchamps.

His IndyCar career has been less incident-filled but Grosjean has started to ruffle the feathers of some of his rivals.

After the most recent IndyCar round at Barber Motorsports Park, Graham Rahal criticised Grosjean for his wheel-to-wheel combat.

“I think the drivers need to get together - all of us - because I’m not the only one with a problem. It’s quite a significant number of drivers that have had run-ins with this guy,” Rahal said. 

“As I said on TV, when the roles are reversed, officiating had better be consistent…because it’s gonna be reversed at some stage. I’m not gonna play nice. This guy has overstayed his welcome.”

Rahal then made reference to his F1 career: “I’ll let you guys decide. But as another driver in the series told me, ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,’ and it’s kind of been his reputation over his whole career over in Europe and we’re learning his reputation quickly here,” he added. 

“So, to me, if race control doesn’t want to do anything then they’re not going to do anything, but when we go and punt him they better not do anything to me — which, in the past I’ve been penalized for a lot less than that.”

Is Grosjean’s perceived ‘dirty’ reputation fair? 

We take a look back at some of the most memorable incidents from his F1 career.

F1 race ban 

After making his debut in 2009 with Renault, Grosjean returned to F1 for 2012 following his GP2 Series title win. 

Grosjean and Lotus started the season strongly with third at Albert Park but his form soon tailed off.

Struggling for performances, things got worse for Grosjean when he was handed a one-race suspension after causing a multi-car collision at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix.

- Race, Start of the race, Crash, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team
- Race, Start of the race, Crash, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team

Grosjean misjudged the run down to Turn 1, colliding with Lewis Hamilton which resulted in carnage going into the first corner.

It was a costly day for title contender Fernando Alonso, who could argue that Grosjean’s driving on the opening lap cost him the title to Sebastian Vettel at the end of the season.

‘First-lap nutcase’

Things didn’t get better for Grosjean as he was involved in another first-lap collision, this time at Suzuka with Mark Webber.

Grosjean got it wrong into Turn 1 on the opening lap, spearing into Webber’s Red Bull.

The Australian was understandably displeased after the race, describing Grosjean as a "first-lap nutcase".

Grosjean enjoyed a better 2013 campaign but still had a tendency to crash, doing so on three occasions in Monaco.

‘I think Ericsson hit us’

One of Grosjean’s most embarrassing incidents came at the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Running inside the top eight in Baku, Grosjean lost control of his Haas spectacularly under the Safety Car.

Grosjean spun on his own accord but initially, his race engineer Ayao Komatsu thought that Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson had hit him.

“I think Ericsson hit us,” a radio message that was made into a meme on social media for years to come.

Barcelona spin

Grosjean’s spin on the opening lap of the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix added to his troubled start to the year.

He lost control of his Haas at Turn 3 on Lap 1, spinning back into the path of Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly - forcing all three cars to retire from the race.

Why has Grosjean’s ‘dirty’ F1 reputation resurfaced in IndyCar?

Hulkenberg was particularly unimpressed by the incident, saying Grosjean needed to take a look in the mirror over his error, while the stewards handed him a three-place grid penalty for the subsequent round.

Teammates tangle

Grosjean tangled with Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen several times and twice on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix in 2018 and 2019, as well as a separate incident at the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix.

In the 2018 incident at Silverstone, the pair were side-by-side at Turn 3 on the opening Lap before Grosjean slid into his teammate, severely damaging the floor of Magnussen’s Haas car.

The incidents didn’t stop there for Grosjean as he crashed with Renault’s Carlos Sainz into Copse, with the stewards ultimately ruling it as a racing incident.

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