Romain Grosjean

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Full Name
Romain Grosjean
Place of Birth
CountrySwitzerland Switzerland

About Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean is one of the most promising young French motor sport talents to emerge in recent years but, after a disappointing half-season in the top flight, it remains to be seen if his career can recover to achieve the heights it once promised.

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Romain Grosjean is one of the most promising young French motor sport talents to emerge in recent years but, after a disappointing half-season in the top flight, it remains to be seen if his career can recover to achieve the heights it once promised.

He began his career in 2000 and like most it was in karts. He graduated from the ‘Junior’ category to Formula ICA karts for his second season in 2001, and competed in the French championship for the next three seasons, as well as completing Formula A races in 2002. He continued in Formula ICA in 2003, combining this with the start of his car racing career, which got off to a great start. Indeed he dominated the Swiss Formula Renault 1600 championship, taking ten wins from ten races and not surprisingly bagged the title with ease.

From there he moved up to Formula Renault 2.0 and competed in both the French and European championships doing partial seasons in Europe and the full French series in both 2004 and 2005. After finishing as second best rookie in the 2004 French championship, including one win and three podiums, the Frenchman won the title with ten wins the following year. He also took two podiums on his forays into the European series during this time.

From there he graduated to Formula 3, finishing 13th in the F3 Euro Series in his first season, which included two wins during the British F3 Championship rounds on home territory in Pau, France. For 2007, he secured a position with ASM, and took an impressive title in a closely fought series, notching up 106 points as well as securing a total of six wins, six podiums and four pole positions.

Stepping up to GP2 in 2008 with front-running outfit ART Grand Prix, a stunning run in the inaugural winter-time Asia Series yielded four victories from ten starts and a comfortable title triumph and high expectations of a repeat performance in the main championship. However, despite two more wins and four further rostrum finishes, the campaign was marred by a number of ‘rookie’ errors that consigned him to just fourth spot in the final drivers’ standings and meant a second year in the F1 feeder formula beckoned in 2009.

Moving camps from ART to defending series champions Barwa Addax (formerly Campos) saw the Swiss-born ace get off to a flying start, with a brace of victories and a runner-up spot from the opening three encounters. However, in the following nine races, and following a scary accident at Monaco, Grosjean would not finish any higher than fourth, despite showing prodigious raw pace and potential. Nonetheless, that promise had been noticed and nurtured by Renault, who had signed Romain up to its RDD driver development scheme several years earlier and appointed him as the F1 operation’s official test driver in early 2008.

However, when Flavio Briatore’s patience with Nelsinho Piquet finally ran out midway through 2009, Grosjean found himself a fully-fledged grand prix driver, making his debut alongside double world champion Fernando Alonso in the European Grand Prix in Valencia. As with others joining the fray midway through a campaign marked by a ban on in-season testing, however, the Frenchman was on a hiding to nothing, and struggled to match even Piquet Jr's 'achievements', taking a best finish of 13th. Grosjean lacked nothing in terms of pace, as would have been expected, but his racecraft needed honing and there were too many accidents - including one in Singapore GP practice at the very spot where his predecessor sparked the 'Crash-gate' furore.

Cast aside in favour of Russia's Vitaly Petrov - a former Barwa Addax team-mate - Grosjean's future looked uncertain and, indeed, he appeared destined for a spell in GT racing before linking up with DAMS to contest the final two-thirds of the burgeoning AutoGP series. Incredibly, despite missing two races, he still did enough to be crowned champion and, despite being linked to a possible return to Renault as its 'third driver', he opted to remain with DAMS for another crack at GP2.

That move, in part inspired by his management team at Gravity Sports, proved to be the right one, as Grosjean claimed both the truncated Asia Series and the full summer championship, the latter at a canter.

Wrapping up the title with a round to spare allowed Grosjean to take part in a handful of Friday morning F1 practice sessions before the end of the season, and his competent performances emphasised his candidature for a full-time return. As it was, Grosjean had to wait until Kimi Raikkonen had been signed to lead the renamed Lotus F1 team, but his place was confirmed just before Christmas, as the Enstone squad opted for an all-new line-up to replace its various 2011 pairings.

With Eric Boullier at the helm, Grosjean had a more sympathetic boss than he had during his previous spell in the top flight, but his return continued to provide the Frenchman with something of a rollercoaster ride. He started brightly by qualifying on row two in Australia, but the race was marred by the sort of early incident that would go on to punctuate his year. Although he posted two podium finishes in the first seven rounds, his year will be remembered more for the scrapes he found himself in, most notably the first corner accident he triggered at Spa, which ultimately led to him being benched by the FIA for the following weekend at Monza. When he returned, Grosjean appeared to have lost a degree of confidence and, trying not to get involved in any more controversy, wasn’t quite the racer he had been previously.

Eighth in the points was a decent return, but the jury remains out and he wasn't confirmed for 2013 until mid-December, one day after taking a surprise win in the annual Race of Champions event in Thailand.

Grosjean admitted it had been a tough winter of unknown for him, and that perhaps explained why he started the year slightly off the pace. However, he took his first podium of the year in Bahrain and started to consistently perform towards the middle of the year. Two great drives in Germany and Hungary where he was harshly penalised displayed the improvement in Grosjean, and that continued right up until the end of the year.

Having been in contention for victory in Japan, India was a brilliant drive as he finished third from 17th on the grid to show his maturity. Grosjean came through to take a very strong second behind Vettel in Austin as he held off the faster Mark Webber for much of the race. In 2014 he’s likely to have to take on the mantle of team leader too, but his growing maturity over the last year suggests he can handle it.
Despite the outstanding 2013 Grosjean was seriously hampered by the Lotus car for the following season. The team’s inability to produce a car with any genuine pace condemned the Frenchman to the back of the grid of much of the season.

The best it got for Grosjean was two eighth placed finishes in Spain and Monaco but the season was dominated by unreliability after the Frenchman retired from six races in the season.

Grosjean retained his spot at Lotus for the 2015 season, and the French squad were boosted by the introduction of a Mercedes power unit. Consistent points finishes were recorded throughout the campaign, while a season high came at Belgium when the Frenchman ran an impressive race to finish third and claim his first podium appearance in two years. He would go on to finish the season 11th in the standings with 51 points.

With Renault returning as a full-works outfit for 2016, Grosjean opted to switch to US newcomers Haas. He enjoyed a fairytale start to life at the team, claiming a remarkable sixth place on the team’s debut in Australia, before going one position better next time out in Bahrain. Points proved harder to come by as the season drew on and Haas were left behind in the development race, but nonetheless, it was a successful first campaign. 

Improvements were made in 2017, and while Grosjean was not able to match his points tally from the previous year, the addition of Danish driver Kevin Magnussen helped Haas record more points in its sophomore campaign, although that failed to prevent the US squad from slipping down to eighth in the constructors’ standings.

Haas was immediately one of the midfield front-runners through 2018, yet Grosjean struggled to match Magnussen's pace or consistency, going on a nine-race run without points to start the year. Things quickly picked up, with Grosjean leading Haas to its best total finish at the Austrian Grand Prix, and he was able to help the team en route to an excellent P5 in the constructors' championship.

Grosjean made another slow start to 2019 and took until the fifth round in Spain before he got off the mark with a 10th place finish. Only two more appearances in the top 10 followed amid a difficult season for Haas as it slipped down the pecking order. The Frenchman's season high came during a crazy race in Germany, where he made the most of difficult conditions to claim seventh, before rounding out the year 18th in the standings with just eight points to his name. 

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