Lotus has finally confirmed that Romain Grosjean will retain his seat at the team for next season, with the Frenchman vowing to put the lessons learnt from his turbulent 2012 into practice.
Although the 26-year-old had been expected to be kept on alongside Kimi Raikkonen for a second straight season the delay in the reconfirmation suggested the Enstone team’s hierarchy was carefully taking its time to ensure Grosjean was ready to make improvements in 2013.
As while the Frenchman, after resurrecting his career in GP2 following his brief ill-fated initial F1 stint with the same team in 2009, showed his undoubted speed with three podium finishes and numerous strong qualifying results, his campaign was clouded by a string of first-lap misjudgements which culminated in him becoming the first driver to be suspended from race since 1994 in wake of causing the La Source pile-up at Spa.
But Grosjean, who underlined his talent by beating Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher en-route to winning the Race of Champions in Thailand over the weekend, has now been given the green light to continue into next year when he feels he will be ready to piece together a more consistent second full season.
“It’s fantastic for me to be continuing with Lotus F1 Team for 2013. It’s superb to have the support of everyone at Enstone. I’m really looking forward to rewarding their faith when we take to the track in Australia,” he said.
“I learnt a lot in my first full season in Formula 1 and my aim is to put these lessons into practice with stronger and more consistent performance on track next year. There are a lot of exciting developments occurring behind the scenes at Enstone and I am very excited with the prospect of the E21. I’ve already had my seat fitting and spoken with all the personnel involved with the build of the new car; I just can’t wait to get behind the wheel.”
Team boss Eric Boullier made reference to the former GP2 champion’s “great talent” and believes the combination of Grosjean and Raikkonen will allow the team to continue the progress made this year.
“Romain is a great talent and we are pleased that he is continuing with us for a second season,” he said.
“With the continuity of two exceptional drivers like Romain and Kimi we are well placed to build on our strong 2012 with even better results in the year ahead. Both drivers worked very well together in their first year as team-mates, and I think there is the potential of even better things from the season ahead. We were regular visitors to podiums in 2012 and we certainly intend to continue with this trend in 2013.”