Never say never they say. Very few would epitomize the saying better than the way Romain Grosjean has done so far in his career. From being a Formula 1 reject three years ago, to being dubbed as a potential world champion by his Team Principal – that has been the incredible turnaround that the Frenchman has been able to pull off.
Lets rewind a few years back in time, Romain Grosjean got under Renault F1 team’s scrutiny ever since he got into Renault Driver Development in 2006. He got through the ranks and managed his first big break in Formula 1 in 2008, being named as Renault F1 team’s Test Driver. He also managed to strike a deal with GP2 series outfit ART Grand Prix, a team that had earlier promoted the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg before their F1 debut. Things couldn’t have gone better for the Frenchman, but it did as he blew away the field in the inaugural GP2 Asia series and took the championship emphatically with four race wins.
Having stamped his authority in the GP2 Asia series, things looked rosy before the the start of the European leg, but his season was marred by inconsistency and misfortune,eventually finishing the season in fourth position. However, the Renault management felt he had done enough to fill the void left by Nelson Piquet Jr. for the remaining seven races of the season. However, he struggled every time he got behind the wheels of the R29 through to the end of the season. Suddenly, we saw a Romain Grosjean who had lost all his aggression from his GP2 days and ended up giving way to cars in the lead lap in most of the races. As it turned out, it was just a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The R29 was never a front runner and Renault already had a protege with them in the form of Fernando Alonso. Grosjean could not match up to the expectations and was comprehensively beaten by his teammate resulting in him being dropped by Renault’s new owners for the 2010 season after being re-branded as Lotus Renault GP.
Having failed to bag a Formula 1 seat for 2010, Grosjean moved to closed wheel racing taking part in the FIA GT1 championship. He also had a stint in the Le Mans 24 hours race. He also took part in the Auto GP where he won the championship with DAMS, a team which had its roots with the GP2 series. There was another high for him as he was picked up by Gravity Driver Management headed by Gerard Lopez, chairman of Lotus Renault GP. He had brief stints in the GP2 series in the middle and fag end of the 2010 season. For 2011, it was back to square one for the Frenchman as he made a full time comeback in GP2 with DAMS. It was the same old story as he won the GP2 Asia series and also managed to bag the Test driver’s role for Lotus GP. But this time he made it one better by winning the GP2 Series by an incredible 35 points winning 5 races en route.
His incredible performance was enough to get him a seat at Lotus GP alongside Kimi Raikkonen for the 2012 season. But the big question was, which Romain Grosjean will we see in 2012? Will it be the Grosjean who drove the R29 in 2009 or the Grosjean from the 2011 GP2 series. Well from the looks of it, the latter seems to have turned up for the first half of the season. He has certainly shown his class with Raikkonen himself accepting to being a slower qualifier than him
Now whichever way it turns out, Romain Grosjean has achieved not many F1 rejects have,a second chance. And boy isn’t he making good use of it.