Romain Grosjean is the first Frenchman for over 20 years to drive for Renault. It’s a great honour for him and one he’s waited patiently for.
I went along to hear what he had to say this afternoon and he seemed very excited about his opportunity, but according to people who have observed him closely, he has some demons which he needs to overcome if he is to make the most of this chance and establish himself as a Renault driver for 2010.
Apparently the huge accident he suffered in GP2 at Monaco this year (see below) really rang his bell, really shook him up and his season has clearly been affected by it.
It’s not the ideal preparation for the biggest moment of your career, but the whole point of being a racing driver is to challenge fate, to make things happen for yourself.
I spoke to former racer Jacques Laffite about Grosjean today and he made the observation that the Swiss-born Frenchman is a real ‘warrior’, he has that rage in his driving which champions must have. But he has appeared to be too aggressive this season in GP2. Laffite wonders whether Grosjean might be one of those drivers who pushes too hard in the feeder series, but then arrives with a more measured performance when he takes the step up to F1, rather like Jean Alesi did in 1989. We will see.
Fernando Alonso said today that he felt Nelson Piquet’s problem was not a lack of talent, on that score Alonso rates him. Rather, he felt that Piquet wasn’t able to establish the relationships with the people in the team to get the most out of them, himself and the equipment. Grosjean has been part of the Renault set up for longer and he will be looking for the team to help him make the most of this chance.