Haas F1, the newest entrant to the Formula One fray, have announced their team lineup today, and a very experienced name is part of that list. Romain Grosjean, who has been driving with Lotus since 2012, most recently partnering Pastor Maldonado, will join the team in the 2016 season.
Earlier this year, the FIA revealed only one new team had been approved for Formula 1. The team is founded by Eugene Haas, who also co-owns a team in the american NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Haas is the only American team in Formula One currently, with all other teams based in Europe – including Force India, which, although co-owned by Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya, is based out of Silverstone.
“We wanted an experienced driver capable of developing our car and our race team into one that can score points and better itself each race and each season. We found him in Romain Grosjean,” said Gene Haas, founder and chairman, Haas F1 Team.
“I’ve been involved in motorsports for a long time and learned early on the most crucial component is the driver. Romain has strong credentials and he will be an important asset to Haas F1 Team,” the American founder of Haas Automation, which manufactures machine tools, said in an official statement on the team’s website.
Grosjean has had a middling performance this season with 6 points finishes and 4 retirements, but scored a podium spot at the Belgian Grand Prix at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps after Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel suffered a tyre blowout.
The Frenchman is excited about the move, saying in an official statement that he was “committed to giving my absolute best to my current team in these last five races, I am very excited for what the future holds at Haas F1 Team.”
The team will see Grosjean join them ahead of next year’s Australian Grand Prix, the season opener, as he participates in pre-season testing in early April 2016 at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.Although Haas have announced Grosjean will be their primary driver, there is no information yet on who will occupy the second seat at the team.
Several big names are associated with the team already, with Germany’s Gunther Steiner, former technical director at Jaguar and Red Bull Racing, to join as team principal.
Current team Lotus also congratulated the driver in a video posted to their Facebook page.
It's been a wild ride Romain Grosjean & we have a bit to go still! :-)Ce n’est qu’un au revoir: http://bit.ly/1KIw7eI