F1 Winter Break
Calls for Grosjean to face fresh ban after latest start incident
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Oct 2012   |  10:02 am GMT  |  338 comments

Mark Webber has led calls for Romain Grosjean to face another driving ban after he was taken out by the Frenchman at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix, the seventh such incident Grosjean has been involved in this season.

Grosjean received a one-race ban after causing a pile-up in Spa, but today’s incident shows that either he has not learned or he has some in-built problem when it comes to the instinctive phase of the racing driver’s art – the chaotic race starts.

Because race starts are an instinctive moment, many ex-drivers in the paddock argue that this is not something that can be trained into him.

Webber called Grosjean a “first lap nutcase” and added, “The rest of us are trying to fight for decent results. Maybe he needs another holiday. He needs to have a look at himself, how many times can you make the same error. It’s embarrassing at this level.”

Grosjean said, “After the ban I am very careful at the start. I kept my line trying to avoid any contact with Perez, who was on my left. I was focussing on that and I didn’t see the delta speed with Mark.

“Trying to avoid any contact was my main objective, but it didn’t work, it’s a stupid crash.”

FIA stewards at Suzuka handed him a ten second stop-go penalty during the race, but the GPDA will clearly want to look at this and discuss it together with FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting.

What do you think should happen?

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

He should be kicked out of the sport. He's destroying other driver's races just for his lack of maturity.


Right. Let's ban Grosjean, Maldonado, Hamilton, Massa, Schumacher, Senna, Vergne, Petrov, Kobayashi, and di Resta.

Anyone else?


Schumacher... but he is retiring...


Kindly list 5 of the 7 sebastian


Pretty sure none of the other drivers besides Grosjean have been involved in seven avoidable start line incidents in 15 races.


It's this same prejudicial attitude that a number of senior figures in MotoGP had towards Simoncelli prior to his tragic demise.

Let’s remember Grosjean is not being accused of deliberately driving into anyone to stop them winning a race and his points will not be removed from the season’s records as has happened in the past when a certain individual was accused and found guilty of doing just that.

Compare today’s incident with Kimi and Alonso with the one between Lewis and Grosjean in Belgium. Kimi, realising he had no where to go moves wide onto the grass and slows slightly to move in behind Alonso.

Lewis did not do this in Spa and the resulting interlocking of the wheels of the McLaren and the Lotus caused the first corner carnage we all remember well.

I’ve watched it back several times, and Lewis didn’t even move far enough over to touch the white line near the edge of the track. Grosjean was slated by many and of course banned for 1 race. (video footage inc) http://wp.me/p2HWOP-8l

Webber slates Grosjean for what was today a closing speed misjudgement. If I remember rightly, in Valencia 2010 he was on a long straight - massive wide track - no other cars in sight - and he claimed he 'misjudged' the closing speed after ramming into the back of Kovaleinan - something Martin Brundle called "utter stupidity".

Short memory eh Mark?


And why, exactly, are people making the very same mistake with Simoncelli? Just because he died doesn't excuse him from everything he did. He had pace but he was ruining everything otherwise.


Drawing a long bow here - Webber's French friend is a serial offender.


It's always difficult to aportion blame for an accident, the stewards struggle sometimes even with massively more data than we have. I will give you a tip though, if one driver is travelling down the track in a straight line and another driver swerves across and drives straight into the side of him, then the blame lies with the swerver!


Sorry Quercus, I didn't make it clear, I was referring to the Grosjean, Hamilton incident at Spa. I also thought the Webber, Grosjean crash at Suzuka looked a bit strange at first, and that maybe Mark had squeezed Romain a bit. Like you I watched it again a few times and realised that Romain was so pre occupied with Perez that he clean forgot turn 2 was there! Oops!


At first I thought that but then, on watching it again, I realised that Webber was following the racing line. Taking into account the layout of the track, the gap Grosjean saw was absolutely going to close as Webber came across to follow the racing line. If Webber had not been there and the track had been empty, Grosjean's excessive speed into that corner would have carried him way off-line as he came out of it. In other words, he would have diagonally crossed the racing line.

Grosjean's error, in every case, seems to be that he's driving as if he's the only car on the track; not taking into account the lines of the other cars. If he's behind or alongside another car he's got to factor in what their line will be.


A completely different incident with Heikki in Valencia 2010. It was unclear on which side of the track Heikki was moving - left or right? Heikki unexpectedly braked very early - but this was in the middle of the race. NOT THE VERY FIRST CORNER.

And I don't recall Martin saying it was utter stupidity by Mark. Besides what Martin says isn't always correct - like the time he blamed Mark when Fisichella and Webber collided in 2005, despite Webber leaving Fisi plenty of room, and Fisi losing control of his car and smashing into Webber. That was similar to the Maldonado/Perez incident we saw at Silverstone this year, where Maldonado lost control.

It's a matter of opinion on many of these issues. Just like how all of Red Bull blamed Mark for the collision with Seb in Turkey 2010, yet most experts agreed the fault was clearly with Seb. Looking at the video of that incident it was clear Seb moved from his straight line.

In this instance, it's the first corner - and that requires care. And Grosjean knew he was required to be extra cautious, yet he managed to not just slightly hit someone, but to smash into them. Grosjean should be banned for at least one other race, and preferably three.


Webber was trying to be clever and slip stream a dumper truck in Valencia and messed it up. He also had a crashfest reputation when younger.

Misjudged a puddle in Brazil opener 2003 - hit wall caused a subsequent major crash, race red flagged.

Last lap lunge on Jenson at German GP 2003 for a point, crash.

United States GP same year - didn't manage tyres properly - spun out from the lead looking very silly.

At least its only in the heat of the starts that Grosjean has problems - unlike Webber who in his early career - just looked generally incompetant at times.


Whether Hamilton had moved far enough over and crossed the white line at the edge of the track is, with respect, utterly irrelevant. Hamilton was under no obligation to jump out of his way simply because Grosjean wanted that bit of tarmac, and Grosjean simply drove into Hamilton. By anyone's standards, that's pretty poor spatial awareness, particularly at the start of the race and particularly in light of Charlie Whiting's guidance on defensive driving. I agree that some of the incidents were not Grosjean's own doing, but his penalty for Spa was quite warranted as he himself admitted.

Incidentally, Alonso was also in the wrong in putting Raikkonen onto the grass for similar reasons, hence the subsequent puncture and retirement was partly his own doing. As such, I'm not sure holding up his driving as an example is wise.


@madmax: thejudge13 was basically saying Hamilton didn't move far enough across the circuit, implying it was his fault for being where he was on the track. That certainly sounds like they were blaming Hamilton for what followed.

@Paul: The rules state that you are liable to receive a penalty if you caused a collision. The cause of the collision between Alonso and Raikkonen was Alonso squeezing Raikkonen onto the grass. Watch the replay again - he makes at least two distinct moves (possibly three depending on how you view the first part), and but for the last move Raikkonen would not have ended up on the grass, lost control and caught Alonso's tyre. Simple causation. Raikkonen had the front third of his car up alongside Alonso, and in those circumstances you cannot simply close the door as Alonso tried to. It was a racing incident, but if blame is to be apportioned I'm afraid more lies with Alonso than Raikkonen in my opinion.


Look again at the footage of how Kimi clipped the rear tyre of Alonso. He was too close and his car did a couple of sidesteps just before hitting Alonso's tyre.

Kimi should have been given a drive through for causing the accident - that is the rules.

Now he has gained points on the driver he caused to retire, what irony.


Don't think Hamilton is being blamed - just unlike Kimi yesterday whose fast hands kept Hamilton and himself apart at the pit lane exit from Lewis' final stop - Lewis didn't steer the car away from Grosjean in SPA and that DNF has contributed to why is out of the WDC title race.

It was like he had some divine right to be there and nothing could possibly go wrong. Well it did.


thank you for commenting that Lewis was at least partly to blame. frankly, it looked to me like Lewis kept his foot on the gas after the crash and helped launch Grosjean. i would stop suspecting something if the telemetry was available. it looked funny how Lewis seemed to be still accelerating.


It seems you have never ever driven any car. First of all he lost control after he was hit. He had to apply some power if he has any hope of regaining control. Its impossible to regain contol if you get completely off the throttle. By the end of it he was just a passenger and his nose got stuck under Grosjean's wing. If he had done what you said more cars from behind would have got involved in the accident.


Given the record of LH - especially with stewards - do you really think the stewards didn't go over the telemetry with a magnifying glass before finding that all blame for Spa rested with Grosjean ?

When I watched the replays I though the suspension on his car was broken so he had very little control of its direction and braking would just have slewed it round making matters worse. Others heard him change down, rather than blindly keep going.

I have a little bit of sympathy for Grosjean re: Japan; he's admitted he was so pre-occupied with not going into Perez - because of his ban and all the trouble he's had - that he didn't pay enough attention to Webber. Plenty of accidents outside F1 happen that way. The flip side is an inabilty to follow what multiple cars are doing at race starts tends to discount you from a career in F1. If RG can't get past this, I can't see Lotus wanting him in the car. So I'm for not banning him and letting him sort things out or get fired.


Rubbish! You would have to really [mod] Lewis to believe that was true! Do you not think the stewards looked at Hamilton's telemetry? Not that they would need to, it's clear from the onboard that Lewis is off throttle.


[mod]. You can clearly hear that he's off the throttle as soon as he wobbles and then his front wheels were lifted onto the back of Grosjean's car.

Lewis bore no blame for that accident, just as Kimi bore none for today's incident.


Agree with Tim Clarke,LH did not try to stop after contact with RG in Spa. The telemetry would show it .Pls.make a campaign to make it available.


no, you could hear Lewis down-shifting...


Couldnt agree more!


One mistake is understandable. Two, well that's racing. Three, well maybe he'll learn. Grosjean has had something like seven first lap incidents. At what point would you consider this to be a real concern? As a team boss, at what point do you realise your driver is throwing away useful potential points (and a higher place in the Constructor's championship) over and over again?


Agree completely.

Just cause it is not your fault is not always a justification.

It is essential to back off sometimes and not put half a meter of car into the corner when you know the other one will go that line.

Kimi is the master of that. That is why he has points in all races but one when the team made him run on the rims.


"the seventh such incident Grosjean has been involved in this season..."

I would not call Mark's attitude a "prejudicial" one.


Grosjean has only been found guilty of causing two first corner accidents by the stewards - Spa and Japan - the rest were deemed racing incidents, or not his fault, so he was just involved in them. Alonso was 'involved' in the ones at both Spa and Japan - doesnt make him responsible in the slightest



Thanks mate, probably you have a strong point here, but sadly I can`t watch the video from Spain due to copyright regulations.



Check out this BBC compilation of Grosjean's first lap incidents.

As you'll see, they are all clearly 100% his fault - maybe if you're using a dog and a white stick to get about 😀


"the seventh such incident" as a generalisation in the article above just goes to show how urban legend is developed.

This appears unfair as a genreralisation considering the BBC compilation shows in at least 1 of those incidents - Australia - Grosjean alone suffered the consequences of contact.


So everyone should move out of this guy's way? Really? No.


"Compare today’s incident with Kimi and Alonso with the one between Lewis and Grosjean in Belgium. Kimi, realising he had no where to go moves wide onto the grass and slows slightly to move in behind Alonso.

Lewis did not do this in Spa and the resulting interlocking of the wheels of the McLaren and the Lotus caused the first corner carnage we all remember well.

I’ve watched it back several times, and Lewis didn’t even move far enough over to touch the white line near the edge of the track. Grosjean was slated by many and of course banned for 1 race. (video footage inc) http://wp.me/p2HWOP-8l"

The two incidents aren't comparable at all, Grosjean turned far more violently into Lewis than Alonso did into Kimi. And if your defence of Grosjean is "Lewis should have dived onto the grass and risked getting speared either into the wall or across the track into the oncoming 15-or-so cars" then frankly you need you head read (along with the author of that blog).



You need to look at the 2 incidents again. When a driver puts 2 wheels on the grass just before a braking zone he is taking a massive risk. Touch the brakes like this and you are going for a spin. That's why Kimi had no choice but to move his car off the grass quickly before he needed to brake for the corner and it's why Hamilton decided not to put a wheel on the grass in the first place.

The person to blame is the one forcing them to either go for a spin or have a colision !


@Andrew M

Did'nt Kimi "dive onto the grass" after being forced to do so by Alonso and risk being spun around "across the track into the oncoming 15-or-so-cars"?

Maybe Lewis would still be in the title race if he'd done the same instead of keeping his foot in.


That's correct. In addition let's ban Mark Webber one race for complaining about his team giving preferential treatment to a faster driver.


If Kimi slowed, how did he manage to cut Alonso's tyre? And it's hardly prejudicial, since Grsjean has been found guilty of offences and already given a ban. And since you bring Simoncelli up, his death was a tragedy; but Alonso was inches from being killed as a result of Grosjean's actions at Spa. The sheepish look on the boy's face after today's race indicates someone who knows their time in the sport is up. It's a shame, because I think he was a better driver than he was able to show when he subbed for Piquet in 2009. But, as Martin Brundle said today, he has been involved in far too many incidents for it to be happening by coincidence. Motor racing is dangerous, and we don't need someone dying because there are guys out there who cannot pay attention.


With a wild driver like Grosjean among the front runners for the Drivers Championship on the starting grid, it could end up with him being the deciding factor, depending on who he will take out in the remaining races. I sincerely hope that the championship will not be decided in this manner.


Very sorry, but thejudge13 is right. Sunday's incident with Alonso/Raikkonen was virtually Identical to Grosjean/Hamilton in Spa. Alonso cut all the way across the track and did not leave a competitor enough room. Only difference really is that Alonso and Raikkonen were on the outside of the track so didn't take out 4 other people.

It is also true that Webber was very slow through turn 2. Not to absolve Grosjean, clearly he was at fault, but I'd say a 10 second stop/go (harshest possible in-race penalty) was plenty harsh enough. Classic first lap incident that would've been a drive through but for his history. End of story on that one.

For the sake of consistency with stewarding, Alonso should've received a 5 place grid drop for the next race. IMO it didn't happen because he's a championship contender/leader. At least a reprimand. Now Montezemolo is spouting off about other drivers costing Alonso, but this one was his fault.


I am with you on this one Grosjean did not learn from his one race ban he should be thrown out of formula one.

The FiA does not give out race bans very often and it takes a serious offense to get a race ban. The last one before Grosjean's race ban was Michael Schumacher back in 1994 he received a two race ban.

So Grosjean needs to go even if the owners of Lotus are his agents. If Lotus fight the FiA on this then the FiA should threaten to throw the whole team out of formula one.

I still think of of Lotus as Renault re-badged what is it about this team that controversial misjudgment by the management and the unproven second drivers they hire follows them through out this past decade.



I think he needs more time in a car simulator, otherwise expect to have more first corner crashes!


This weekends accident was 100% Grosjeans fault - he obviously misjudged the closing speeds on Webber. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Webber has also had issues with misjudging closing speeds before...

However, everyone who is saying that Grosjean is at fault for ALL of the contact incidents he has been involved in, are sadly mistaken!

In Aust. the contact was Maldonado's fault, not Grosjeans. He was on the extreme edge of the circuit and Maldonado left him no room.

In Monaco - 100% Alonso's fault. Something no one mentions, which is a shame. Forget the BBC footage they show on their little montage - check out Grosjeans onboard start at Monaco. Alonso barges him straight into Schumacher. 100% NOT Grosjeans fault!

Grosjean is accident prone, but is getting really unfairly treated!

Alonso's move on Kimi on the weekend was NO DIFFERENT to Grosjeans move on Hamilton. So why wasn't Alonso banned? He is also clearly no stranger to first lap contact himself!


I've watched that replay plenty of times. Alonso moves to his left to get around HAM, GRO moves to HIS right to counter ALO quick start. But when ALO doesnt decelerate and ALO is a half car length ahead, GRO moves left and into MSC to avoid contact with ALO. Critically however, GRO moved too far to his left and into MSC.

The question is: if the front tyres of the car next to you are next to your mirrors, do you have the right to move across into their path? If the answer is "no" then it was triggered by ALO who did not "leava da space"

Because thats what ALO did to GRO. GRO simply did the same to MSC but MSC had only barrier next to him and no room to move further left. Bang.


I think this is a bit rich coming from webber, if i remember right he had a lot of problem keep the car on the track in his early days.

As for Romain, he just needs to calm down at the starts, the only way that's going to happen is with training


I agree with former drivers.

Split vision and intuitive instincts to know what to do in situations like that is not something you can learn at this stage of a career.

Lack of car feel and positional awareness can be lethal for others. It is not by chance he

has made 8 first lap incidents in 14 races.

He might have misunderstood the one-stop strategy. Yes, he is onestopping but it should not be on the first lap with an opponent on your front wing.

They will lost multimillion dollars in the WDC Concorde money due to this. They should go for another good driver.

The only thing that can save him in F1 is a manager that is also running a F1 team and can persuade the owners that he has the most spectacular driver in the field.

Oh, wait, yeah, forgot.

You won't bring a random italian into a Ferrari car, it is something you earn. I hope Lotus has the decency to see beyond pure emotional reasons.


Even if you were right, which you're not, the discussion is not about keeping a car on the track, it's about running into other cars and/or causing wrecks. As far as training, you can't train instinctive reaction into someone. As in any life situation, automatic split second CORRECT decision making comes simultaneously from the mind and gut. You have it or you don't.


"driving right into Kovalainen on a straight line"

Umm, ok, but we're not talking about a few isolated incidents over the course of a long career here. We're talking about a guy who has crashed out in 50% of the races he has started in a single season.


I agree, I find for all everyone's talk of Webber "speaking his mind" he actually isn't very spectacular himself, i.e. driving right into Kovalainen on a straight line


Then you obviously have not remembered right.

mark had a lot of terrible luck with failures and such at the start of his career, but was never an erratic crasher.


Actually Aaron, you don't remember right. Webber was awesome and clean in a Minardi, just like Alonso was the season before.

If you are going to make silly comments like the one you have just made, please be sure to include specific incidents rather than just saying "if I remember right".



No. It would not help. He is not a stupid guy, he knows already that its not the way forward. He should just be extra cautious for the next races, calm down and come back next year more mature.


He should spend loads of time in the race simulator practicing chaotic start scenarios. Something similar to what the airline pilots do with different flight scenarios?


I disagree - in fact I say simulators are the cause of the problem!

In the sim. it doesn't matter how many times you crash at the first corner - you can just press 're-start' and try again.

There are no consequences in the simulator - and that seems to be RG's problem.

Lotus should send him back to Formular Ford for a few races to get his confidence back at driving close to other cars.


Sorry for doubling-up. My first comment didn't load so I tried again and them up to popped.


Here's a clip of Romain Grosjean doing some practice starts - seems pretty good to me:



This brings up a good point... I've only seen video and clips of simulators with no other cars on the track. Do the simulators also have the ability to include other cars for 'start scenario' practice too?


agreed, i thought surely the team can use the simulator for him to practise, maybe speak to an ex driver. I think he needs to be banned, but he has had a ban already and nothing changed, the fia should enforce the team to provide some sort of training package. Or do they do this already.

James do you know what the team are doing behind closed doors?


Utterly ridiculous, and more importantly, avoidable incident. It's called a super license for a reason...


That makes one wonder, how did he get it in the first place?! O___O........

Stuart Harrison

And maybe they should award offence points on the super-license and take it off them if they exceed a threshold in a season. Drivers in most countries are in a similar situation, why not F1?

His crash in Spa should have been a wake-up call; clearly it wasn't. Adios, Big John!


Grosjean is a fast driver. But let's face it, he increasingly looks out of depth in Formula One.


Sure, sometimes (fairly often I suppose) he is a little too aggressive or lacks a certain degree of situational awareness during race starts. However, having a driver like Grosjean in F1 is much better and makes more sense than having a driver like Karthekeyen; a 35 year old with 6 seasons of F1 experience, a tally of dismal results, has shown zero potential for getting any better and consistently drives slowly and poorly.

If NK was put in a Red Bull or a McLaren, he would probably finish 17th at best! It is a joke! NK is the epitome of the nobody journeyman driver. Only 24 drivers in the world get to race in F1 at any one time. Alguersuari, Buemi, Sutil, Liuzzi and many others were cast aside after less time and they all achieved far better results than Karthekeyen. It is not right or fair.

Maldonado and Grosjean make some silly mistakes, but at least they push hard, have achieved decent results and show great potential. Ayrton Senna was a lot like this in his early days. Sadly the same cannot be said about his nephew.


I do agree with you that Grosjean would be better placed at HRT instead of Lotus.


I think you need to watch the stat of narain karthikeyn.He is actually in his 2nd full year of f1.He has 2.5 years of f1 exp.

When Button was driving honda he usually qualify at 18th place in 2008 season but what he did next year when the car was very good everyone knows.

It is very hard to asses any driver ability when driving a difficult car.

I don't think nk is joke it's you.


Granted, I was incorrect regarding how long he has been in F1, however my essential point remains the same; NK is not ever going to amount to anything half decent in Formula 1.

If he was seriously considered talented with great potential (even as a number 2) by team managers, his fellow countryman Vijay Mallya would have him at Force India. Since this is not the case (even for PR reasons!), it is more than logical to assume that nobody rates him as being any good. HRT have him for financial reasons only.


Difference is Button had had some good results prior to 2008...2004, 2005 and a win in 2006. That allowed Honda to retain him. NK has rarely shown any promise.


He's fast and if his problem is on chaotic starts, maybe he should be a test driver instead.


I was thinking the same thing mate. How about test driver for Pirelli. There wouldn't be too many others to hit 😉

"I didn't see the delta speed with Mark" What the heck is that rubbish? You're a F1 driver for heavens sake. Take a little pride in your work and show some respect for your fellow competitors. I think the guy is just too immature for a top car like the Lotus.


Make him start every race from pit lane!


Another +1 for that.

I think Stewards should have that in addition to grid-drop penalties.

Excluded from next qualifying, required to forfeit x sets of tyres and start from the pit lane.


Just what I was thinking too and in all seriousness! I cannot recall another year where one driver has had so much of an influence on the outcome of a championship.


Put him out there in a wooden pedal cart. I can assure you he wouldn't go anywhere near anyone then!


Im scared for the Pit crews!


This is a great idea. Make him start from the pitlane for every remaining race of this season. If the team don't like it, they can replace him.

Shame though, as these crazy startling incidents aside he had talent and I like watching him.


I was thinking at least a two race ban but I like this idea better. He should start the remaining five races of the season from the pit lane.


That actually is a really good idea.


+1 🙂

Rob the Gardener



Exactly what I was thinking!!


Ha ha, I like this one!!


He had three first lap incidents in seven races in 2009 also. remember him taking Button out up at Les Combes at Spa? he needs sorting.


From Wikipedia:

Renault (2009)

Grosjean qualified 14th at the European Grand Prix. He finished 15th in the race after a first lap collision with Luca Badoer necessitated a stop for a new front wing.

For the next round in Belgium Grosjean qualified 19th. In the race he was eliminated on the first lap after a collision with Jenson Button.

At the Italian Grand Prix, Grosjean qualified a career best 12th, but made a poor start, damaged his car with contact at the first corner, spun on the second lap, and finished 15th. He described himself as "very disappointed" after the race.


Agreed he did indeed, the very same blind spot he still has.

He also took out Lewis in the same incident.,


Romain is an enthusiastic young driver and exciting to watch. He has made some mistakes, but it would be a loss to F1 to see this likeable driver thrown out.


I agree Sahir! The kid is just having a bad run of luck, along with some untimely misjudgements.

It's a disgrace that some fans writing to this sight are baying for the young guy's beheading. At the same time, I understand Webber's disgust and Romain will have to get on top of this problem, real soon!


Are you serious? Don't criticise other people's informed opinions. In my experience most people on this site are experts. There is no disgrace in wanting to see the front runners get through the first corner without getting harpooned by a test driver.


Sorry for the late response, DonSimon!

So what's so expert about this base comment of yours? Insinuating that drivers who have earned their spot on the F1 grid don't really belong. In this case a driver selected by true experts: Team Lotus! This time around, your comment is simply laughable!


Amen to that, my friend.


Test driver?

He's got a racing seat, so he's a race driver like the rest of em!


Which would you rather pick? MSC or GRO be thrown out?


I agree. He needs to sort it out, but I'd rather we had more genuinely fast young drivers like Grosjean on the grid. If Lotus drop him, like many people on here seem to want, then will the sport be any richer for having yet another mediocre driver with bags of cash on the grid?


Spot on!


Plus 1. It's in his head, he just needs to hold station till after the second corner. If he keeps one car width to the left and right and dosnt attempt to overtake he could lower his chances of crashing. It would be a loss if he left F1


From watching the onboard: Webber just seemed to be going very slowly in the middle of the track. Grosjean didn't appear to do anything massively stupid - on the onboard, you can see that Perez was approaching Webber as more-or-less the same rate as Grosjean, but Perez could go around the outside, while Grosjean was boxed in by the line which Webber took.

Maybe that's a lack of spatial awareness or anticipation on Grosjean's part... but you've also got to wonder why Webber was going so slowly.


Obviously Webber being ahead will reach the corner earlier and have to break first. So Perez and Grosjean will gain on him till they themselves break for the corner.

I think Grosjean was focussed on not letting get ahead, he forgot that a) Perez taking a wider line through the corner would be in a position to maintain a higher speed and still make the corner b) Webber was right again of him.

Grosjean seems very fast when he is out driving all by himself but totally incapable of racing in a group. Maybe he should consider a career in rally. He is totally unfit for F1.

Another serial offender is Bruno Senna escapes the same attention because he usally causes his mayhem lower down the order.


What has Bruno done? Ok, today maybe, but not in 7 races a year. It's common to make mistakes, it happens but you can't compare Senna to Grosjean. Are you watching the same F1 as us?


I even know on that corner you have to stay left.....and I only drive computer F1! What he was doing so far right and how he thought he was going to get around the corner....maybe he can't/won't learn....and that's the problem.


To be fair there were other cars on the left, and he would have just hit them instead...


Anyone who reaches this level of motorsport (of GP2 etc) would have excellent spatial awareness, and Romain would be no different. It is unfortunate to see him part of these incidents (especially as a Webber fan).

He has just made consistently bad racing decisions. My guess is he won't be in F1 next year. And these incidents certainly won't have helped his future career.


webber was going at the same speed as the guys ahead of him.


If RoGro goes, Brunu Lalli should go too.

At least Grosjean isn't slow and useless...


I didn't watch the race because I don't have or want Sky and of course you can't avoid results.

So I've only seen this once, on youtube and deliberately only from Romain's car.

And I'd be annoyed if some idiot did that to me in a sprint karting race, rather than a professional F1 driver who's already been banned for this.

Total bandit. If the Spa incident deserved a ban then I can't see how they can't bench him again for effectively the exact same thing, there's no ambiguity here at all, he just rammed a guy he wasn't even racing directly.


No need for knee-jerk reactions. Reprimand him for this one and keep him under a suspended ban for the rest of the season, in my view.


I came to say more or less the same thing.


And what about Senna? It also ended the career of Rosberg. Do not need too make an example?


Ended Rosberg's career? Have I missed something?


I guess someone got lost here with translation from Spanish: "carrera" means both "race" and "career". Guess Susie meant "carrera = race" but wrote "career" instead... 😉


He looked absolutely distraught when being interviewed, and he seems such a nice bloke that it would be a shame to batter the enthusiasm out of him, but there doesn't seem to be a realistic alternative, he's costing Lotus a fortune in parts and lost points, and more importantly he's adversely affecting the races of to many people, it matters not whether they're vying for the WDC, they dont expect people to be running into them within seconds of the start, and neither should they. I think what Grosjean lacks cannot be taught, or instilled, it needs to come from within, and if it isn't already there then sadly i think its never going to be. I fear Lotus may make the decision before the FIA may act.


Anyone who hasn't heard of The Peter Principle should look it up. RoGro is the epitome of a guy who has been promoted to one step above his level of competence. Once he gets going he is OK, but he just doesn't seem to be able to handle the chaos of a start.


I'm pretty sure he won't be driving for Lotus next year, directly because of these problems. (Kobayashi to take over?) It's a shame he has this problem as he's clearly a quick driver. But being a top driver is about maximising all aspects of driving...

So, no ban for him, he was punished in the race.


I could be wrong on this, but I think he has backing from Lotus sponsors and the Team Principle is his/was his Manager.

Am I correct on this James? If the answer is yes, it means more headaches for Lotus!


Eric Boullier manages Romain Grosjean. In all likelihood, Romain will be back next year.


also Total are his personal and the team's principal sponsor , and they are desperate to have a french driver [ well , his mother is french so he can claim to be ]


Grosjean is maanged by Gravity Sports Management which is owned by Gerard Lopez and Boullier is the CEO. So his relationship is not just with Boullier but also with the owners of Lotus.

Anybody else in his would be gone by now. These are the same guys who were so quick to fire Heidfeld last year


7/12 Starts!!! Terrible. He doesnt belong in F1. Send his sidekick Eric along also. May be then we might see some decent strategy for Kimi to be competing for the Championship.


Kimi drove into the back of Alonso. I don't understand why the RoGro incident is any different.


Totally untrue and no comparison between the two incidents. Kimi was being pushed off the track by Alonso - anyone with even partial sight could see that. Alonso only has himself to blame for that flat today, he was not fully ahead of Raikkonen so did not have the luxury of moving as far across as he did without risking just such an outcome.

Grosjean couldn't cut the mustard in 2009 and he cannot now, he has not improved in this critical opening phase of races at all, so even if he were the fastest driver in the world over one lap (not likely anyway but...) it would be meaningless when he is more often than not likely to pick up either damage, a DNF or a drive-through before he even does a racing lap.

Sad if he does stay in the race seat due to the situation with management/sponsors/nationality even, as there are drivers out there who would make better use of it and at the same time not pose an obvious safety risk through pure lack of ability relative to those around them in such close-run situations.


I just went back and watched my recording of the race and I did not see Alonso pushing Kimi off the track. Kimi poked his nose in and clipped Alonso.

My point was that dissecting all these incidents and placing blame is not good for F1. These starts in the mid-pack are precarious and contact is going to happen. I think we have to keep safety a priority but this is getting out of hand!


Not all of those were his fault, though.


Indeed, Kenny. He was actually never once reprimanded or penalized for any start incident until Spa... then he was given a ban. I don't think many people realize this. Looking back, I'd say several of those "7/12" starts weren't his fault, and were racing incidents at best. (remember when those existed back in the day? 🙂

Yes, I'd punish him for what he did, since it's no different than what Schumi did in Singapore... his happened at a restart, and Romain's happened at the start. But I wouldn't say that a ban is in order.


I feel sorry for him because he clearly has a lot of talent and these incidents are tarnishing his reputation.

But after just serving a one race ban for exactly this type of incident, to cause another one as blatant and unnecessary as that one just two races later is in-excusable at this level. Something severe should have been handed out immediately (ie a black flag) followed by a lengthy sit on the side-lines.


The irony of Webber leading this. Mr ham-fisted crash in close combat himself.

Grosjean does need to calm down on the first lap of races but this approach is not going to work.


Shame there's no way to downvote posts on this forum.


Example's please?... dates?...races?...where MW took out other guys with crazy moves at the start of a race...??

Anyone else hear crikets chirping??? 😉


It's happened so many times I've lost count, broken wings and minor collisions with other drivers.

He is leading this critism when he's guilty of 'misjudgements of delta' himself, namely Valenica 2010, that was ridiculous and MASSIVELY dangerous. He's got a pretty short memory. Wasn't he at the back of the pack because of a front wing change in that race? Trying to steam past a slow Kovalinen yet frantically trying to get every last bit of slipstream, weaving around and not watching for the braking zone.

Also, in response to Luke Clements, I didn't say he'd taken "other guys out with crazy moves at the start". Did you read what I'd said?


I have seen several videos of MW crashing into the back of cars in junior categories. But have no links, apolgies for that.


Webber has only crashed into others on a few occasions in a long career, all drivers do it occasionally. Once in awhile is a racing incident no more no less. It is the frequency of RG's start errors that are the worry.


Sorry, what? Since when had Webber ever had a propensity to run into people? Did you not see Spa last year?


@ Simple; "Since when did Webber have the propensity to run into people?"

He proved my point today in Abu Dhabi.


He shouldn't be banned, he should be sacked because quite clearly, he's not good enough to drive in F1.

It's a shame because without doubt he's fast and consistent enough but that doesn't mean squat if you can't get through the first lap without taking someone out.


What does it matter how much you ban him ?

He just doesnt have the natural talent of the rest.

Oh and great drive by Ricciardo.


I'd love to see Ricciardo in that Lotus, instead of Grosjean! It's increasingly evident that young Daniel is capable of more that the present STR car allows.


If my memory serves me correctly, Grosjean has only been penalised for the incidents in Spa and Japan - so blame wasnt given to him for any previously - not even an official reprimand! Which surely means the incidents previous to Spa were just one of those things that happens at the start of races - so why should he recieve another ban for only two incidents? Just because he was part of a first corner incident, doesnt mean he caused them - but that doesnt seem to be taken into account in the witch hunt that is going on now! They are Grosjean's only two penalties/reprimands all year I beleive, which is considerably less than several of the other drivers!


I agree that there seems to be some inconsistancy in the way penalties/reprimands are given out. We have seen similar with Hamilton where once you become popular with the Stewards the penalties seem to be given more readily.

The problem here is though that Grosjean has just had a one race ban and it doesn't seem to have made any difference.

You have to ask the question what on earth are the Lotus management doing about it. Grosjean is their driver so they must shoulder some of the responsibility and do something about it.

Up to now it looks as though they are patting him on the back and telling him to carry on.


Surely his actions should have received a harsher penalty or equal of that of Schumacher's Singapore incident.As this also was Grosjean's second such similar incident, why did he only get a 10 second stop'n'go penalty compared to that of Schumacher's second similar incident that saw him receive a 10 PLACE GRID PENALTY. Seems that the stewards need to re-evaluate their rulings when handing out penalties with such incidents. Quite obvious that they favour certain drivers more so than others. Schumacher was never the favourite & it appears he still isn't.


a 10 grid place penalty just penalizes his new neighbors in a race start! 🙂


I'm one of those voting for another ban, but I'd say a 10 second stop-go near the start of a race is more costly than a 10 grid place penalty. I don't know where he came out afterwards, but I'd expect it to be near or at the back of the field.


Grosjean was still in the race, so he was given a race penalty. Schumacher was out, so they could only penalise him at the next race and the only way to do that is with a grid penalty.

Had Schumacher been able to continue, he probably would've been given a drive through, which is the normal penalty for causing an avoidable collision. Grosjean was given a harsher penalty because of his recent form.


Uuuh webber was able to continue, unlike schumacher's most recent victim in Singapore. Slightly different scenarios...


can you tell what a 10s penalty does to somebody who is already at the back of the pack? very logical penalty though. follows logic of Suzuka after their yesterday's decisions for Vettel not blocking Alonso enough to get penalty


that's for sure - Vettel helped Alonso?


Indeed, it would have been ridiculous to penalise Vettel, since he didn't block Alonso.


A decent sized ban will leave his seat open to being usurped by another driver and will constitute a severe penalty, to the extent that it could put him out of F1.

Imagine if they put Adrian Sutil in there and he got onto the podium in his first race - quite feasible - where would Grosjean be then?

If you were in Lotus' shoes wouldn't you want to do that, given the opportunity?


There's a higher chance of you driving for Lotus next season than Sutil.


Sutil will never race for Lotus for obvious reasons.


Of course you're right, pick another name, but Grosjean remains vulnerable if suspended, and he should be.


Agreed! Certainly they will be drinking champagne out of paper cups if he does.


The guys a liability, clearly has not Kearny anything from the ban( what 2 races in from his ban).


well kimi and alonso had contact as well - the stewards needs to keep a consistent attitude to all drivers.


Neither Kimi nor Alonso (who had Button on the other side) had anywhere to go. Just a racing incident.


Alonso had plenty of room to the right, but things happen fast so I am sure he just instinctively made sure he kept that margin when button started moving in on him.


kimi was pushed on the grass ... alonso was also being a bit aggregsive ...kimi this season has been quite fair ...hw gave up on Lewis after the pit stop once he realised that it will lead to collision if he does not back off ..... don;t know if lewis would have tried the same if it were grosjean/pastor instead of kimi...


Well, I am a supporter for Alonso, but in my view, what happened between Kimi and Alonso was purely a racing incident. Alonso did not leave that much space to Kimi, Kimi stepped one tire out of the track, lost control for a fraction of a second and punctured Alonso's right tire.

Not the same type of incident IMHO.

I would suspend Grosjean for the rest of the championship and retire his F1 super-license for one year.

This would solve two problems. 1) one year of no Grosjean and 2) a clear message to the rest of the drivers. And the second one is quite more important IMHO.


Watch the replays. Alonso swerved into Kimi, not the other way around.




Do you really want the stewards to investigate every contact in the race?


Kimi was absolutely faultless. The most clinically precise driver on the grid. You really have to recognise that I believe.


Agree totally. Can't stand Kimi as a guy but his racing has been faultless and completely respectful this year.


LOL! You seem very impartial. 😉


His main problem is a lack of awareness. Can that be fixed? Probably. Something to work on.


A screw is probably missing from Gro's head. Maybe put another screw in might do him good.


I am in two minds about this. Yes he did crash again and maybe serious consequences must follow.

Flip side, if there is one, it's not premeditated like the Maldonado crashes we've seen this year.

For me this boy Grosjean has by far the best potential to be a top driver of the future, better than Perez. What can be done about his starts?? I'm puzzling. Give me time...

Sorry but I have to say, Aussies go on about "whinging poms", but Webber has turned out to be the chief whining whinger of the decade. If there's anything to complain about in F1, why he'll be on it before anyone else. Blab blab blab.


Mr Mod, if you wish you may remove my last para


Hi James,

F1 is the jewel of motorsport.

Having the same reckless driver causing incident after incident is not acceptable in any type of sport, let alone elite F1.

This sort of behaviour does not add to the spectacle but detracts from it and the sport is poorer for it.

The fact that Grosjean continues to create havoc in the opening laps of races is not acceptable or sustainable.

What event or accident will it take for Grosjean to change?

It would appear the current penalties have not resulted in a change in opening lap driving behaviour from Grosjean.

As such I suggest a 2 match race ban AND Lotus are not allowed to fill his race seat with a replacement driver during this ban.

I am pretty sure Grosjean would never have a racing incident (due to his driver error) ever again if this penatly was imposed.

Whilst it may seem extreme, the current penalties are failing and putting at risk the safefty of the other drivers.

This cannot continue.




Should we do the same with Williams on account of countless Maldonado incidents?


Hi Sebastian,

Not at this point in time.




OK, but is that really fair on Lotus?

It would also prevent a young driver from being given a chance if they weren't allowed to run the car at all.


Hi Luke,

There is a complete lack of accountability and ownership of Grosjean's racing incidents from both the driver and his team.

Nothing is changing at the moment.

A penalty that includes both the driver and the team has to be the next step to get this resolved (if it can be).




He's having his second chance now and blowing it nicely. I doubt that Lotus/Renault will retain him for next year so he has sealed his own fate. Only some stunning performances will save him now.

Racing incidents have always happened and always will. bans and penalties have little effect. As the ex-drivers have been saying, race starts and opportune overtakes are instinctual. The meritocracy that is Formula 1 will see the talented drivers promoted and the less so demoted.


Meritocracy? HA!

A third of the drivers on the grid are there because of money, not merit.


A third? Can you provide us with a list of which third of the drivers you mean?

I can really only think of two that are only there because of money - Karthikeyan and Petrov.

I know there's money involved with Maldonado, but he is (despite everything) a GP2 champion and an F1 race winner. Perez too, but he wouldn't have been signed by McLaren if he wasn't good enough and his results speak for themselves.


Interesting point about tobacco sponsorship. Three points on it, if I may.

1) In the heyday of tobacco sponsorship in the 1990s it was also extremely common for there to be pay drivers. Simply allowing sponsorship from one particular industry would not make any difference at all.

2) Banning tobacco sponsorship allowed many other companies into F1 who previously had not wanted to be associated with tobacco advertising.

3) Far more importantly, the reasons for banning tobacco advertising go way beyond helping a few cars to drive around in circles. It's our responsibility as humans to ensure that smoking is eradicated. Smoking kills. I would find it disgraceful if F1 were to leave all the progress of the 21st Century behind to go back to advertising highly addictive drugs that do nothing except shorten peoples lives.


OK, not a third but a quarter of the grid.

Petrov (big money from defence contractor Russian Helicopters).

Karthikeyen (a lot of money from Tata Group, an Indian conglomerate).

Pic (super rich family, apparently).

Maldonado (great driver, but still I think it was Venezuelan oil money that got him to and is keeping him at Williams).

Senna (a lot of money from Brazilian telecommunications company Embratel, and his last name got him to F1).

Perez (also a great driver but if not for Telmex and Visit Mexico, he probably would not have gained the drive with Sauber).

I'm not saying that all 'pay-drivers' are no good (Schumacher was originally a pay-driver). I'm just saying that a lot of the time money over merit wins, resulting in injustices such as Canadian Robert Wickens not getting an F1 drive thus far. There are also some great Italian drivers who don't have and find it difficult to get truck loads of cash from commercial sponsors. These drivers are overlooked in favor of drivers who can bring with them big dollars.

On a somewhat unrelated note. If teams were allowed to get money from tobacco sponsors, they wouldn't have to search for a driver with the optimum balance between talent and financial backing. Teams could then just look soley for upcoming drivers with the most talent.


Yes, definately. The bottom third. They never last or move up to the top teams. At least the top third of the drivers are there on merit.

Lotus/Renault are trying top return to the top of the constructors championship and neither a pay driver or a crash artist will be part of their plan. Even a bag full of cash won't save Grosjean if he continues like this.


Will he be driving a lotus next year? He has the speed but lacks the brains I think. If that keeps happening sooner or later someone will get hurt.


Why did Alonso not carry on? If he made it back to the pits could have got some points like Webber


I think he stalled


With a busted wheel the car will be beached in the gravel. No way he could have got out of there.


Should have just pulled out his spare.


I wondered that. Perhaps there was more damage than we initially presumed, or maybe, as a he thought there was little chance in achieving points as he had to drive all the way back to the pits, he could retire, and then change his gearbox. Although that is unlikely, as had there been another safety car, he would have closed onto the back of the pack again and potentially got into the points.


I think Herbert said it right. It is time for Lotus to take the call and fire him. Very irresponsible if they dont.


Ahh, the latest bandwagon for everyone to jump on, a few races ago it was Pastor.

Why does everyone call for bans nowadays ? Schu vs DC at Spa, Lewis vs Kimi in Canada (and I'm sure plenty of other examples) didn't result in a ban.

Yes he has made mistakes, out of the 7 incidents only 3 have been his fault and he rightly admitted to them. The others were either not his fault or racing incidents.

Webber was horribly slow off the corner, that doesn't make it his fault, Romain admitted it and rightly so.

But look at Hamilton vs Perez - Lewis saw the move happening and let it go, result was he only lost a spot which he could grab back thanks to good tyre management.

Webber was going slowly and moved across quite quickly. I'm not saying he should of let Romain go, but a little bit of space wouldn't hurt - Romain would of run wide on exit as he had too much speed on early. That would of left Mark where he was, instead of the back of the field.. he could of helped himself.

You can ignore his whinging to the press - he's quite accomplished at that.


I am agree with you. A few races everyone said that Maldonado was not running and that pilots should leave his side. Now the fashion is to end the career of Grosjean. Who will be next?


I agree completely! Being caught up in something at the first corner is completely different to causing it! This one was Grosjean's fault, but Webber WAS slow in the corner, caught him out! For everyone to quote seven incidents is really unfair!

Of those three that were his fault, the stewards have only punished two of them - so until Spa, it seems they didnt think he did anything wrong - not even an official reprimand! But then they managed to factor them in when judging his Spa and Japan crashes - interesting consistency there!

Plus I found it interesting that Webber was making his comments two seconds after admitting that he hadnt actually seen the incident himself....

Grosjean does need to calm it a little at the starts, if only to stop the witch hunt continuing, but there is no way on earth he deserves another ban, and certainly not a sacking! The ten second stop go was already more harsh than the penalty to Senna who did exactly the same thing, in the same circumstances!


..."The ten second stop go was already more harsh than the penalty to Senna who did exactly the same thing, in the same circumstances!"...

Sorry, the incidents were quite different. Try looking again at the video.


As an eye doctor, today's accident just makes me wonder if he needs a test to check he visual field. Might explain why he can only see to notice cars that are immediately infront.


I agree with you, totally, but I think it is time for this circuit to be banned until it is widen, it si certainly less wide than the rest of the circuits in the calendar.

widen it and it will be more passes, and less accidents, not an excuse to RG's accident, but lets be honest, it is too skinny than the rest.


Those first two corners (including the straight) have had 5 accidents (at the start) in the past three years, six if you include Vettel pushing Button off.


It's sounds suspiciously like the allegations last year that Lewis had a visual field defect which had a predilection to not seeing Felipe Massa's car!!


Certainly a ban. For 2 races at least.

BUT. I don't know how it will help Romain, as I also think it can't be trained into him, because that's the way he "starts".

He is not a bad driver, but some other racing series with starts under "Safety car" will suit him more.

michael grievson

I think we need to see if its an isolated incident before calling for ban's etc. If he's involved in another accident before the end of the year then look at things again


No point for people to keep harping on that he's a nice guy!

It's completely unacceptable that he keeps making the same mistake , and make no mistake!- him ploughing into Webber was his fault and no one else.

Given that he was penalised during the race- the only thing I would suggest is to start him from the pit lane in Korea as a safety for other drivers. Any other start faults by him & his super license should be revoked ! .quick as he may be- if you constantly loose control of your vehicle ( & this is the whole point) then you cannot have the skills required to be safe and successful in F1- Surely this is costing a Lotus Vital constructors points also and I'm sure Boullier will be under pressure from Gerard Lopez to replace him !


The FIA need to revoke his F1 super licence - permanently.

Grosjean doesn't seem to have the spatial awareness that is absolutely essential for the start of a race, so therefore I can't see him being able to avoid collisions in the future. Like Johnny Herbert said, I don't think there is anything he can do to rectify his lack of spatial awareness. And it's not like this is Grosjean's first year in F1. He caused incidents in 2009 too.

People always talk about what the drivers and teams need to do - but what about the FIA? It is their responsibility to ensure that all F1 drivers have the skills necessary to compete at this level. I think that they have been negligent. They need to be stricter in terms of issuing an F1 super licence and they need to revoke that licence if the driver concerned is causing accidents. This accident could have been extremely serious and it's only a matter of time before he does cause a serious accident if he's allowed to continue.


3 race ban and no further chances for Grosjean.

You can be the fastest guy in the world but it counts for nothing if you get involved in 7 first-lap incidents over 12 races.

It costs his own team points, destroys races for his rivals and generally destroys the sport for fans.

Seems like a lovely guy, but if you can't race sensibly, you don't deserve to be in F1.


Give his car to Michael. That'd be grand.



MSC deserevs an F1 seat more than GRO.

Now who says old-timers gotta make way for the fresh and young? Seems like the old guys can still do the job and still good at it.


And msc is proving to be a far better driver this season.very sad to see him leaving when he started peaking once again.


Clearly some people have forgotten the fact that Schuey rear-ended Vergne two weeks ago. He was a fantastically talented driver in his prime and set records that are unlikely to be broken in the near future, by his time in F1 is up.


It's bizarre - Grosjean has shown enough spatial awareness to conduct decent overtakes at nearly 200mph during races - it's just the first lap. It's almost like his senses shut down waiting for the lights and take a couple of laps to reignite.

But if he can't judge speed of other car approaches he has no business racing in F1. most of us couldn't handle that sensory overload - it just seems he has a lot of skills but this one doesn't exist within him.


Bare in mind the brakes are cold at the start of the race. To press the brakes too hard - you lock up and a crash would be certain


True but there's 23 other guys (plus thousands more in other formula) who manage the skill.


Ant Davidson on sky seemed to get it right. He said its almost as if he loses all feel for the car overnight, so, no matter how well he does in practice or qualifying, he doesn't seem to be able to hold any of that feeling or rhythm into the start of the race.

What he did today was simply inexcusable and, while he admitted it was a stupid mistake, his explanation was quite embarrassing... Something about focussing on Perez all the time. He had at least a car width between him and Perez, which is a lot of room at the start. Quite worrying if that kind of situation occupies all his attention.


Are the stewarts/FIA able to apply a race ban or any other penalty to Grosjean for this accident as he was already given a penalty during the race?


I would not ban him. He adds additional element of randomness to the races, something that FIA has been trying so hard to implement in F1. Grosjean can add that element single-handedly. Anyway, if you read what he says he was trying really hard to keep his nose clean, perhaps too hard. He focused so hard on Sergio because most of his problems at start were with guys left or right, so he did not pay attention to Mark in front of him.


So he's not capable of dealing with more than one car around him? That is the bread and butter of starts.

As for adding randomness, I want to see the fastest cars racing each other.


Grosjean's problem today seemed to be tunnel vision, as has been the case in some of his other incidents. To me, that says he's now too tense in the car, which is causing him to focus too much on particular cars that he can see.

The race start is a difficult thing to get right. I eventually cultivated a strange kind of diffused focus, where I could see everything whilst looking at nothing. I would concentrate on the physical actions I needed to perform to get the car off the line and then just gaze straight ahead and sort of feel my way through the first corner or two. In that way, I was never focussing on any one car in particular. You'd watch the cars in front and decide where you wanted to put your car, whilst tracking the other guy on your row in your peripheral vision and keeping an eye on your mirrors. The car off your right rear disappears, so you guess that he's probably cutting around behind to attack you on the outside, for instance.

There are many things in racing that you either have or you don't and having the right mentality to cope with a standing start is one of them (fundamental speed, which Grosjean has in spades, is another, so it would be a shame if he can't get past this), so I agree with those who are saying this is something that cannot be taught. Having said that, I don't think that's really Grosjean's issue as a standing start in F1 is not greatly different from one in GP2 - power, grip, visibility, the size of the cars are all very similar. Grosjean has had trouble at times, but he managed more good starts than bad in GP2 so I can't see this being an insurmountable obstacle for him. I think he just needs to stop worrying and relax and it will come back to him. I think a psychologist would be a good investment on his part, because Lotus's patience won't last forever.

As for a ban, I don't see how it will help at this point. I think a longer ban would also raise uncomfortable issues, as you're then in a situation where clumsiness is more heavily penalised than actual dangerous driving like brake testing and ignoring yellow flags. Personally I think suspended bans are very useful in this situation and I feel both Grosjean and Maldonado should have been driving under one for some time. Imagine you're Maldonado, knowing that one more clumsy start will put Valteri Bottas in your car for the next race. You would be a lot more circumspect then, I think!

Between the ire of the paddock, his unhappy team and the potential to lose his seat, Romain Grosjean has more than enough motivation to keep his nose clean as it is. A ban will just make it even harder for him to get his head in the right place.


" A ban will just make it even harder for him to get his head in the right place "

The only way he will ever learn is to get banned, he does NOT get it.


I agree with your comment. One thing in particular that I haven't seen in the comments by anyone is that these incidents by Maldonado and Grosjean are a clear sign that we need more testing for younger drivers. Both drivers are extremely talented (both were GP2 champions) and have shown the race pace they can do. They need more time to adapt to the cars and I could only imagine the amount of pressure both have on their shoulders with both teams expecting good results from you to keep your job. If they continue to ban testing, in a few years F1 will look very similar to GP2 races.


I do not think Grosjean needs to be banned. Yet! But he requires either driver coaching, or some form of psychological management to avoid these recurring situations. If I were him, I would be on the phone making an appointment with Jackie Stewart.


Open letter to the FIA

Please hand Romain Grosjean a 10 place grid penalty for the rest of the year. He's a lovely chap. Possibly a future champion. But 2012 is not his time.

2012 is one of the rare vintage F1 years in the 25 years I've followed the sport. We can't have another potential title contender "Romain Grosjean'd" on the first lap. F1 should not have the 2012 championship Romain Grosjean'd.

I'm sure every fellow driver would be happy to hand him 2 points each or $50,000 each - whatever Romain is driving for.

Please Romain - don't have every F1 fan on the planet Romain Grosjean'd - by Romain Grosjean'ing any of the remaining races.

Enjoy F1 in 201 like the rest of us - on TV. Come back when it's your time. 2012 is not your time.


How about a suspended super-licence? Kimi had a provisional one at the begging of his F1 career, so certainly a possibility. Let's say it get's reviewed every 3 races or 3 months and we see how far we get. The guy is undoubtedly very fast, but as others say he definitely lacks awareness of what's going on around him. Is it something that can be 'fixed' with simulator practice, or it is something that cannot be trained into him, it's probably on his team to look into - pronto.


Reading most of the comments here, it is a good thing that most of the commentator do not have a seat on the stewards panel, nor indeed the FIA.

What is missing here is a total lack of understanding regarding how Formula 1 works. These are not your average "kids" playing in the park. It is a quasi sport/entertainment circus that keeps companies ticking over, people in employment, teams in business, sponsors justifying their marketing budget and investors rubbing their hands gleefully.

In short, hundreds of thousands of people the world over depend on F1 as their source of livelyhood in one way or the other. Therefore banning racing drivers for incidents or revoking their license is always something that will be done extremely reluctantly as it impacts the sport negatively.

Moreover, these are drivers who are have been chosen because they are regarded as being the best choice for the team - either because of the amount of money they bring into the team via backers/sponsors, because of their skills, or because the team feels they give the best bang for the teams buck.

Irrespective, these drivers have worked long and hard to get to where they are today - a work ethic on such a level that most of the commentators here have absolutely no idea about.

At a time when of us were playing with toys and watching cartoons on TV, or playing computer games, these guys were getting up early, day in, day out, putting in the hours come rain or sunshine.

To be in F1 (irrespective of money) takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice and commitment, that i dare say, most posters here baying for Grosjean's super license to be revoked cannot even begin to fatrhom.

The FIA know this, the sponsors know this, and the team principals know this. This is why they have reprimands and penalties. This is also why race bans's are rare, and revoking a super license is even rarer.


The effort put in does not mean he has an inalienable right to participate. There are a lot of drivers coming up who deserve a shot too. If you screw up more starts in a season than you get right then clearly the effort has not paid off.

He's not good enough. Along with one or two others on the grid too!


i'm voting for 'no' and suprisingly until my vote get calculated, it got the highest voting. i'm so sorry for grosjean, he's so talented but he keep causing chaos during race. but i dont want him to be ban from the sport. just saw the interview with him, how gloom his face expression, it was so unusual, and i feel weird. cause every time i saw he being interview, he always smile. oh grosjean.. i love u..but please please please..hate when people talk bad about him.


He believes its computer game invulnerability on...


He has frequently looked impressive in quali and practice when he is setting lap times on his own and not racing. But, at the race start, he seems to panic big time and after each incident, he probably puts too much pressure on himself. He reminds me of Gervinho. Very very good till you get to the box but you know he is going to panic and mess it up.


I'm sorry but I don't agree with most of these comments. Yes Grosjean has made some silly mistakes this but he doesn't deserve a ban or to be booted out for this... If you look you can see that Webber is actually going slowly through the corner, as pointed out by Brundle in race commentary and as pointed out by someone earlier both Perez and Grosjean were coming in fast, Grosjean got boxed in and Webber was in the wrong place at the wrong time - so I think racing incident. What's not great is the comments after the race, cast your mind back to 2010 and Webbers accident at Valencia. You could argue that was embarrassing for an F1 driver, plus he could of killed himself. Countless drivers have stupid accidents, Vettel Spa 2010, Hamilton and Massa all last year. Hamilton on Kimi in the pit lane in Canadian GP in 08... We could go on. I don't recall drivers, pundits and fans demanding these all be banned


Well said.


I agree with your comment.


Absolutely, first time I have seen sense on this.

Webber left him with nowhere to go. His pace was slower in this corner than Grosjean expected and Perez merely exacerbated the problem.

Check out the start at Monaco and see how Alonso caused Grosjean to crash out with Schumscher.


What's with the stewards lately, this incident would have been called a racing incident a few years back, and now every single collision is investigated. What a joke. Grosjean is a decent driver that's made a few mistakes. You don't get an F1 racing seat without being a superb driver. Call it a racing incident and move on.

Although, Maldonado's cut across on Lewis Hamilton outside of La Source at Spa last year was insane and he should have received a year's ban from the sport.


So what you've just said is 'leave crashes, don't ban people... BAN MALDONADO!' You don't make sense...


I think b/c in that instance it was a deliberate cut across, using his car as a weapon. He did the same again this year on Perez and Lewis. Can't have that in F1.


Thanks for paraphrasing me Simon, what I have said is I don't believe its an incident that needs to be banned. The amount of criticism levelled at grosjean is unfair. It was an accident only, he didn't do it on purpose and although its the seventh incident he has been involved in, the rest weren't his fault.

Maldonado deliberately drove into Hamilton at spa 2 years ago, wanting to cause a collision as payback for Lewis allegedly ruining a previous practice lap.


I feel bad for the kid. I do think that he'll learn his lesson; being banned is not going to prevent him from ever being involved in first lap incidents again. They happen. This one just comes at a particularly inopportune moment.


I really wish Grosjean is banned. Aside from ruining races by taking out top drivers (if I had paid/bought tickets to attend Spa + Suzuka this year I dare say I would feel even more annoyed) it is just dangerous.

Also just read Boullier's post race quote: he thinks Grosjean '...made a small mistake misjudging...' and that back in Singapore '...the other drivers were putting some pressure on him at the start...'.

Firstly it was not a small mistake. Secondly, boohoo: your driver is in F1 + pressure is part of it. Sadly his driver is completely out of his league.

Boullier's attitude is not helping.


If I remember correctly, Jackie Stewart has offered to help Romain with his racecraft but he was turned down.

Perhaps its time for the Lotus management to apply some pressure.

I personally find Grosjean an exciting driver who has great potential but unless he can adapt so that his head is no longer above the parapet, he might find his options in F1 no longer exist.


Seriously, what is preventing the FIA from brining in a disciplinary points system for drivers.

Regardless of what happens and what punishments are metted out during a race, a driver should receive x points per punishable offence. For example,

1 point for blocking during qualifying

3 points for causing a collision that does not lead to a retirement (say within two laps)

3 points for ignoring a blue flag during a race

3 for dangerous pit-stop release

5 for ignoring a yellow flag during a race

5 points for causing a collision that leads to a direct retirement

5 for jump-start

10 for causing a multiple-car collision (a la grosjean at spa)

These points would come in addition to the punishment that is handed out during the race and so - regardless of changes in stewards and different levels of consistency and leniency in decisions - there is some long-term repercussion for consistent offenders,

Reach 10 points and you incur a five-place grid penalty at the next race.

Reach 15 and its a ten-place penalty

Reach 20 and you're banned for a race.

Reach 30 and you're banned for two races.

The problem I have with this latest Grosjean incident is that there is no recent precedent for such a ban other than his first ban. Who's to say if it should be a one-race ban or a three-race ban now?

At least if you have clarity over what comprises an infringement and a points system that recognizes the different levels of seriousness, then nobody can be surprised or feel aggrieved when these serious penalties get dished out.

Might also make for a useful tiebreaker in those cases where drivers or teams are tied on points (team with fewer points holds the tiebreaker)


I like this idea very much, it would bring some much needed structure to the stewarding system and the seemingly ad hoc nature to penalties and bans. I'd be tempted to add a higher penalty for ignoring yellow flags, they're there to protect the marshalls primarily and I think the drivers don't respect them enough.



Possibly the most sensible post in this thread?


A big shame. Webber drove really well to 9th, catching Maldonardo consistently over the last 15(?) laps.

Anyway, in Q3 he was .2 sec behind Sebastian including a big lockup and apex miss at the hairpin: given a straight fight today we might have actually seen the two Red Bulls going hammer and tong all afternoon.

Without being cliched, the sport was the loser today. If the stewards keep 'ruining' Grosjean's race with penalties, that will either take care of him, or prove he just can't learn.

In the meantime, I hope he doesn't spoil too many more races for the rest of us.


Also raises an interesting question about potential conflict of interest. Isn't Gerard Lopez responsible for the stable of drivers that Grosjean belongs to?

Interesting to know how he might see it. Are his drivers mistakes costing the team more than it'd cost his reputation as an evaluator of talent?


James, how about a points demerit system against a driver for an offence, if you get 100 points your licence is suspended by the FIA.

Grosjean is costing millions in car damages and lost points to the teams and also destroying the championship fight for the fans by taking out different contenders every week.

Something needs to be done.

He reminds me of Andrea de Cesaris!


No ban needed. He clearly needs more race start experience and that's not possible if he's banned.


The sport doesn't owe people the chance to do their learning on the job... that's what the junior series are for.

Your arguments suggests inexperience = accidents. Not sure that stands up considering he's only had a handful fewer races than the likes of Perez, Di Resta and Hulkenburg, and has had more than Vergne, and about the same as Riccardio.

I don't recall any of the aforementioned drivers getting into as much trouble as Grosjean.


That's true. Although those drivers you mentioned made mistakes this weekend, it's not like they're crashing other cars out of the race every weekend. But experience matters, to some extent.


Grosjean has had all the junior series experience he can get. What is missing in the junior series is the speed you travel at in an F1 car. Therefore reaction times are at the next level up. So a drivers instincts and spacial awareness needs to also step upto the next level. So what Grosjean needs is practice in F1 start scenarios.

Of all the drivers you mentioned it appears that you forgot to mention Maldonado. Who has a similar level of experience and has had plenty of incidents. Plus you can have the most experience on the grid and still be at fault for accidents, ref MSC in Singapore.

F1 drivers should also be continually learning on the job, or how else would they ever improve. The same can be said for any other job.


This wasn't a particularly quick one - he was clearly just looking somewhere else.


Different matters. In the case of Michael, accidents happen (also looking on board Kimi's car it seems as if they braked at the same time and Schumi had a problem). Kris is correct, he has more experience than others and is worse, and that is why we have junior categories.

In terms of Maldonado he's no better and that's why we also criticise him...


Removing him from the track won't help the issue. It makes him less experienced and also removes the chance for hi to become more used to starts. By making him go cold his driving becomes more ragged as he has even less time than the limited time he has anyway.

I'd care to point out that if you swap Perez and Grosjean in Japan Perez would have done the same thing. If you watch them both - they both decelerate at the same rate and I do believe that Perez would have made the same mistake as Grosjean did. Webber seemed to slow more dramatically than the other cars around him


The critical difference is that Perez didn't hit anyone. He had enough presence to take himself out rather than another driver.


2 race ban because a 1 race ban didn't teach him anything.


I think this is a difficult situation. On the one hand once he gets through the first corner Grosjean has shown himself to be a fast and highly competent driver, in fact I can't remember him doing much wrong this year once he's got past the first couple of laps, which shows he has the ability to compete at this level. On the other hand though it's clear he has a serious problem with judging starts and it's affecting both him and others around him.

If I was Lotus I'd take him out of the car for the rest of the season, maybe make him go into the simulator and practice starts, possibly even put him into some races in the junior formulae and karting to get him to practice more starts in real-time and then have him come back stronger next time. Grosjean is not fundamentally a bad driver, which is why I don't think he should be forced out of F1. He has the potential to be one of the best drivers on the grid in the future and I think the worst thing that could happen is for him to be vilified and forced out of the sport for the sake of a few first lap incidents.

If Romain can just sort this out he'll be a great asset to Lotus in the future. He is very fast and has the potential to be a contender. After all you can make a fast driver consistent, but you can't make a consistent driver fast.


I heard comments that Grosjean was smashing everyone back in junior races. Maldonado, Perez and Grosjean don't belong in the F1 circus.


What has Perez done that's so bad?


Make him start every race from the pitlane until he proves he's sorted himself out...


How exactly would he prove that he has 'sorted himself out' if he has had to start from pitlane at every race?


I know - I was just reacting. He really needs another race ban and ten minutes with Webber in a sound-proof room. 😉

As an aside - I don't know if pitlane starting is a penalty the stewards can hand out?


there is a guy (alonso) who is sweating out to win d word championship n here is a guy called Romain Grosjean who i guess has olready sealed off alonso's chances of winning championship this year going by d pace of d ferrari's.

it's human to commit mistakes,but at this level of motor racing you are expected to learn from them and not to repeat them again...

Another incident likewise Romain Grosjean doesn't deserve to be in Formula 1 imho.


On the positive side Grosjean's repeated incidents is giving Maldonado a bit of a break. Not so long ago he was the bad guy!


Well, he seems to have learned his lesson after his latest round of penalties in Spa, he qualified and drove well in Singapore and bringing the car home in the points today wont have hurt his cause. Time will tell whether the change is long term.


Thinking out of the box here ... may be the FIA/Lotus to sign him up for GP2 (at his own expense), slot him in at 8th place on the grid. Tell him that he can only start the Q1/F1 race if the GP2 start is deemed acceptable (then retire the car). With all the less polished / more agressive GP2 drivers around him this will help him learn. It is not uncommon in NASCAR that some drivers run on multiple tiers (e.g Cup and Nationwide in a weekend)


Why risk the cars in another formula to do him a favour. It would be unfair. He needs to have learned it by now.


Problem was, when he was in GP2 or other junior formulae he was usually far superior than his fellow competitors and normally start from the front. This naturally happen to almost all the F1 drivers otherwise they wouldn't have graduated to F1. Why only he couldn't adjust to the high stake's game was definitely mental. After all Webber did played mind games with him before the last race.


Very easy how to avoid this......

Lotus should tell Grojean to maintain position in start rather than gain places.

Not to be racy until second lap starts. I dont know why Lotus haven't told him that it is a 50 lap race not a race to the first corner.


Grosjean has had a previous stint in F1 which was littered with the carbon fibre of his own car and rivals,much like this outing in F1, he really hasnt advanced this part of his racecraft at all and the teams need to think if he is worth the costs of running him.


Could we have another option in the poll please, for another 1-race ban if he does it again this season?

I think the penalty today was enough, but if it happens again he should get another ban.


I think it does point to an in-built problem with Grosjean in terms of his judgement and awareness during starts, as I'm sure he didn't take getting banned lightly. This wasn't as serious an incident as Spa in my opinion as he didn't change lines in a reckless manner, it more of a lack of concentration on what was happening in front of him and the fact that the speeds are generally slower on the opening lap with all the cars bunched up. I think it is up to Lotus to deal with this internally, at the end of the day he has cost them a huge amount of points, and probably money to from all the repair costs. Do they carry on with him next season or replace him?


Maybe it is time to fit brake lights to the rear of F1 cars? This would also help MSC.

From the on-board footage it does look like Webber slows down a lot, but this is because Grosjean is still travelling quite quickly.

Banning Grosjean for a race isn't going to do anything, he needs practice at starts. I personally think he is one of few star up-coming drivers with a lot of potential. His post race interview clearly showed him to be upset with himself. He knows he needs to change, but for people to keep pilling on the pressure will result in more mistakes. Probbaly due to over thinking the starts. He needs an arm round him some confidence to get back to driving on instinct, which seems to have eluded him.

He is a bit like a striker in football who is going through a lean spell. If you over think you will keep on missing the target.


I'm inclined to say that a 3-race ban would be in order. He clearly hasn't learned his lesson the last time around. (It would also put d'Ambrosio in the seat again for 3 races but I guess that shows my bias a bit. 😉 )

Whatever anyones thoughts are on wether he should be punished again or not, I think there's one think anyone should be able to agree on; As Webber says: "It's embarrassing".

Indeed, it is.


I have to be honest, I have been criticizing Grosjean for some time already. I was calling him an idiot after the first 5 races of the season because of his race starts. But I do not think banning him from a single race will help. I think he's currently so aware and so cautious that he's actually become more dangerous. I believe him when he says he was so busy watching Perez that he missed Mark. Making him even more aware of this won't help him with his judgement, it'll just throw the spotlight on him even more. James....why can't the FIA come up with a simple punishment, like making him start from the pit lane for the next 2 races?


Grosjean is naive and reckless and deserved his race ban, but if he has had a race ban surely Maldonado has deserved multiple race bans given he has used his car as a weapon on 2 occasions in the last 18 months?


Banning Grosjean will make absolutely no difference. Romain is just lacking the spatial awareness to compete at that level. It is not something that can be taught, its not something he can change. Neither can the teams or drivers really get rid of him unless he does something dangerous again.

This was just a stupid accident. For me, its up to the Lotus team to recognise that he hasnt got the ability the keep his nose clean, its not going to improve, so just get rid of him.

Plenty of good quality drivers that could replace him... Heikki, Kamui, Glock, Hulkenberg.... I'd take any one of them over Romain. I mean if they had a decent second driver to go with Raikkonen this season, they would have beaten Ferrari hands down in the constructors and McLaren would be worrying about second. As it is, Raikkonen has double the amount of points without really being that much faster.

Its the difference between an average driver (Grosjean) and a brilliant driver in Raikkonen.

But a ban will solve nothing


disagree about kimi nt being much faster!! In fact, kimi has always been marginally faster than romain on races and a few times during qualifying...however, his mistakes often hampered him in qualifying.....i believe it required time for him to recover.....given the team didnt provide him the correct power steering...and also kimi nvr a fan of simulator.......


It's called Karting from age of 6 🙂 Thats how you get it 🙂


yep. agreed. and a certain amount of brain power as well 🙂


I say the punishment is just, as is. Lotus knows the exact cost of his errors and what he actually delivers in offset - compared to the potential. The future should sort itself out


Grosjean drove like a idiot in his first spell in F1 which led to him being dropped, he drove like a idiot before his one race ban and is still driving like a idiot.

Time he was kicked out of the sport for good, he clearly doesn't have awareness or respect that dangerous driving could lead to a fatallity.


Grosjean is a fast talented driver of that there is no doubt. You can't a teach speed but you can teach track craft (to paraphrase Ken Tyrrell I think). Grosjean clearly has problems of judgement in the close-pack following a start, but banning him will not allow him to learn. Maybe not a ban but a place penalty for a few races so he doesn't damage the fortunes of the front-runners? By the way that one-time young-gun, that has punted-off a few, won today with a flawless drive - is there a lesson in that?

Of course we could have rolling starts - the Americans learnt that was one way to get races away safely - why do we have to put up with shunts at almost every start? - F1 isn't meant to be a crash-derby.

I feel for Mark Webber - finally getting back to the sharp end of the field only to have a young gun punt him off - but he will calm down and move on. Maybe his anger has given something for Grosjean to think about?.............let's hope so..............


Rolling starts make no difference for turn 1 incidents, unfortunately. They're only good for giving everyone a little more traction when the green flag drops and to avoid the case where a stalled car near the front of the grid is met by the drivers at the back back at 100+ mph.

Besides, the standing start in F1 is a big differentiator in top-level motorsport. Without it, we might as well just have another Indycar series. There are a couple of lessons that F1 could learn from Indy, but rolling starts are one of a bunch they could do without.

One reason there are so many shunts these days is because many drivers simply don't respect each other. The cars (and tracks) are the safest they've ever been, and shunts that would have caused major injury in past eras are now not much more than a bit of a bump and a walk back to the paddock for the driver.

Add in a couple of complete halfwits (a.k.a. Grosjean and Maldonado) and the potential for damage at the start of the race is immense.


can't remember any other driver involved in so many starting incidents. teams will probably start to manage their strategies based on his grid position. something like 'romain is p6, lets not try to be faster than him'

Filip Levačić

I think this is enough. Ok, to be fair, he is talented driver, but on starts he reminds me on Ide. I think he doesn't have coordination on starts, he just lose himself. I really dont know where he looked, because he just went straight in webber, not even braking. I think if this kind of thing happens again, he should be kick out of F1 competition. If Maldonado could get his act on, then Grosjean can also. No excuses.


Filip from Croatia- Modric, Ivanisevic, Suker- you know them :))


Thanks for your comment!


Today's shunt was yet another display of total lack of spatial awareness on Grojean's part. Having watched the onboard footage a fair few times, it does actually look as though he's looking ahead (at Mark) rather than over to the left at the Sauber as he claims he was doing. Regardless of which it was, something clearly isn't right. This is arguably the highest level of motorsport in the world, is he really one of the top 24 drivers at the moment? Lotus as a team need to seriously look at their options. I'm not sure if they legally can drop a driver 'mid' season, whatever the costs would be, one could argue that it would be better to spend and save on the damage to the brand..... as well as all the constant re-builds!


Ok, here's the solution:

Let the FIA force him to start on pole every race - so there's NObody in front of him to hit - and then do a stop and go on lap 2.


No further bans. He said himself he was so focused on not colliding with Perez that he misjudged the gap to Webber. An unforgivable, not to mention somewhat foolish, mistake but it looks like he is trying to learn but in trying too hard to not collide with someone alongside him, he collided with a guy in front of him.

Maybe he will always have a weakness in starts but I can't see how he can't control it to some degree at least. Not all 7 instances were his fault and sometimes this kind of thing happens to a driver (Massa is an example). Let him learn from his mistake today, and keep working on his weaknesses, rather than handing out arace ban such that he overthinks the issue again.

He has outqualified Kimi more often than not in 2012 and, when he has survived the first corner(s), his drives (and racecraft) have mostly been very impressive. Therefore to suggest he is undeserving of his place in F1 is, in my view, inaccurate and hence unhelpful.


his qualifying has much to do with his setup imo!! Kimi knew the car hv race pace to compete with the best, however, compromising race pace for quali pace knowing that the car wouldn't get pole is frutile!!


I'm not sure its a set-up thing. If you qualify mid-pack you run the risk of getting caught up in first corner incidents. Its better to try and set up the car with both quali and race in mind and, with that, try and get as high up as you can.

I definitely agree that Raikkonen knows the Lotus has very good race pace and has exploited this by usually being more consistent than Grosjean on Sundays (even when Grosjean has made it past the first corner). Its just I think this is more a 'driving styles' thing or a 'drivers' strengths and weaknesses' thing than a 'set up' thing. Grosjean is often happier (than Kimi) to leave everything on the line for a faster lap in qualifying but when it comes to managing the changing variables in the race Raikkonen is often able to lap consistently faster (than Grosjean) because his driving strength is in that area.


It's sad, but with his qualifying ability and trend of good finishes for top qualifiers, these incidents cost Lotus 2nd place in Constructors.

All the best! Johny Herbert was furious..


Indeed Herbert was furious. I think it's because Johnny has been on the receiving end of these incidents a couple of times in his own career (for example with Eddie Irvine at Monza in 1994 and Melbourne in 1997) so he knows how frustrating it is and I definitely also have sympathy for the driver on the receiving end when it has been Grosjean's fault.


It was a minor incident, slight contact which unfortunately tapped Webber off. A ban will achieve nothing and next week the blame game will be on another driver. It was Maldonado a few weeks ago, then Grosjean, Schumacher and this week it's Grosjean again.

Of course, nobody mentions Alonso causing contact this week, did that deserve a penalty? Of course it didn't but Alonso was fortunate Kimi kept it on the road.


'Nobody mentions Alonso causing contact this week'.....

Where have you been?


I mean in terms of a penalty or warning.


unfortunately also effectively retired the one guy with the pace to go with the race winner. A minor incident in that it was one hit, no explosion of carbon fibre and no pile up; major in that it dramatically affected the course of the race for the second fastest guy on the grid.


Penalties shouldn't be dished out differently depending on the victim though.

Plus if Webber hadn't gone out at the first corner it would have just moved everybody from Massa down back one position. Webber was not going to challenge Vettel for the win as it would have damaged the teams driver championship chances.


I feel for the guy. He wouldn't speak to Brundle on the grid as he was obviously trying to stay focussed. The immense pressure he was under clearly led to him being really careful watching the Sauber and not being aware that Webber was going so slowly.

My view is if he was relaxed he would have been more aware of what was around him but because he was so tense and concentrating on one possible crash he forgot to look around.

People may say that he is an F1 driver but I think he just needs to get relaxed and for it to be natural then he will be fine.

I would not ban him for this.


Perhaps the answer is contained within the article itself. The start is a purely instinctive event, something very difficult to predict and to plan. You could argue that forcing him to have a one race ban affected his instinctive nature. By concentrating so much on not causing a collision with Perez, he didnt instinctively watch the road ahead, misjudging the speed at which he was closing in on Webber. Just let the boy race and gain more experience, or we could ban all those that have messed up their starts a few times. Oh wait, we wouldnt have enough drivers on the grid.....


The other drivers could move out of his way?


What's worrying about this latest incident is that Grosjean wasn't being overly aggressive. It seemed like sensory overload and he was just in over his head. Romain is fast but he seems to have a problem keeping track of multiple cars around him at least at F1 speeds since he does not seem to have had this problem in lower formulae. Is experience simply going to take care of this problem?


The ironic thing is that Grosjean only has to look as far as the other side of his team's garage to see an example of just how to perform an F1 start/opening lap. For a man who has been 'absent' for the past two years, Kimi Raikkonen has shown a masterclass in exactly how to get safely around the opening corners of an F1 race this season AND remain competetively placed at the same time.

Whether it's over-aggression, panic, lack of peripheral vision, brain not being able to compute quickly enough given that the cars/speed differentials will be that tiny bit quicker than anything before, who knows. But surely something is missing and worrying it shows no signs of showing up.

This is not just a case of seeing someone who looks out of his depth, but given what happened at Spa and how close to tragedy that was, it is genuine worry for those occupying the same space at the same time who through no fault of their own could end up with serious injury, or even worse.

I hope the FIA have a real hard look at this. Even from a team perspective for Lotus you've got Kimi up there still in with a shot at the title and where is his team-mate? Recent history has shown that most champions need a team mate that is, at least, up and around the placings and within the necessary race scenarios to lend a hand if needed. Kimi may as well just be out there on his own at present with Lotus fielding just the one car.


What a shame all round. He's very obviously doing his best but it just keeps happening anyway. Maybe he's trying too hard, who knows. Regardless of his efforts made to correct things - and his apparent deeply likeable nature - this cannot be allowed to continue.

It's never nice to see one driver under a bit of a pile-on from the others and I think in general the other drivers marginalise their colleagues too readily. But in this case, I think they have a point. He should not be driving in F1 next year. It's not fair on his peers.


Give the lad a break, he knows he's done wrong and will get it right, Maldonado's has done a lot worse over these last couple of years and never even received a ban, these things happen in F1 and next year it will probably be happening to somebody else

Tornillo Amarillo

FIA should give a licence to Grosjean only as a Crash-Test Driver 🙂

In the other hand, Maldonado was learning from mistakes and today did a decent job.


In the name of safety, why don't F1 cars have brake lights?


They did actually run some test's with brake lights fitted but it didn't go any further.

It was felt that with F1 brakes as effective as they are & things happening as quickly as they do they would be ineffective at preventing the sort of incidents they were supposed to prevent.


I think this will all be sorted out next year.


Much as I can understand Webber being properly annoyed about this latest incident of Grosjean's, I can't say I feel it warrants a ban on its own merits. That would be slightly overkill, and given the poor guy looked close to tears when being interviewed there's also a chance he wouldn't turn up again at all. What it does illustrate, however, is the need (in my view) for the FIA to introduce a points system akin to those the rest of us have on our driving licences and add penalty points in the same way for incidents such as these. That may encourage drivers to be a bit more circumspect, more so than a penalty which only applies to one race (and in this case one he didn't finish anyway).


I'm disappointed in you James, I thought your site was better than this, but with your story on Perez the other day and now this you seem to be going down the sensationalism tabloid route.

Grosjean has been involved in 7 or 8 incidents from the start. Watch the video from the BBC and look through them, 2 with Schumacher (The last man to be similarly banned, causes more crashes with others this year tried to kill Barichello a year ago(hows that for sensationalism), 1 with Maldanado not on the first lap, (perhaps a worse reputation than Grosjean this year), 1 with Webber who used to do things like this all the time years ago but got away with it because it was down the pack, 1 with Hamilton who spent last year constantly crashing into Massa.

It's racing sh*t happens.


Well, let's have a look at that.

There was another incident following a one race ban, that's a major talking point in the paddock and whatever the decision it will set an important precedent.

We have almost 250 comments and a grown up poll about it, This site is about debating things that happen in F1 and fans getting their voices heard.

So what's tabloid about that?

As for Perez, I flagged something up, we had a great debate, many people disagreed with me and I learned a lot. What's tabloid about that?


Presumably because the stewards have dealt with the matter under race conditions, any additional penalty like a ban will be precident setting


Thanks for replying, I think the fact that the main thrust of the comments to the Perez story were along the lines of what else was he supposed to do show that the majority of the readers didn't agree with you [mod]. That's where the tabloid angle comes from, getting stories down to the lowest common denominator.

WRT to this story you haven't presented any mitigation about Grosjeans driving, many people felt the first penalty was harsh in the extreme. Do you personally feel he was at fault for all those incidents in he BBC video? A lot of them were 50-50 at worse the Hockenheim one he just drives off the road on his own!

Writing an article citing unnamed ex-drivers saying he can't change, Webbers heat of the moment quotes and positing that the GDPA will want to look at it with out collaborating quotes is the sort of thing you find in the red tops, all that's missing is starting the story with the line I can exclusively reveal...

I was surprised by the results of the poll, it would be interesting to see the demographic of the readers responding, having watched F1 for 25 years there's been much worse driving unpunished over that time.


Also James, in addition to the 7 incidents this year, didn't he cause similar accidents in 2009. If he didn't learn in the 2 years he was away and even after his ban, will he ever learn.


I'm not sure what mitigation there is in this case. GRO himself admits it that he misjudged the closing speed and it was a stupid accident. Not many people in F1 disagreed with the ban for Spa and he's gone and done it again.

We've not seen a serial issue like this for quite some time in F1.


Ironically, if he were -driving- Webber's car, this discussion wouldn't be happening - a better qualy and he's just got Seb to worry about.

Feel a bit for the lower end top 10 guys - there must be huge pressure to get a good start, knowing it can make 5+ places difference by the end of a race, especially round a circuit where cars spread out a bit during the race.

I think 10sec stop/go penalties are the right way - it effectively cruels his race. Ban him when it's dangerous (Spa), but you have to let him figure it out in-situ, and hope he doesn't kill someone.


I think Grosjean, is always driving at max pace, and when he needs to overtake he will just try to go around the car. But that is problem when driving in a pack, because you have to effectievly reduce your speed to the car in front of you


It's not a 'knee-jerk' reaction and it's wrong to 'give him a break'. His personality is also irrelevant.

This is sport and he is currently incapable of racing within the rules or limits.

Safety is priority number one and he is not adhering to that - he must therefore be banned.


So he needs practice. Banning him for another race is not addressing the issue. Just like when a soccer player misses a penalty in the World Cup final- you don't tell him he will never ever score another penalty kick. Instead, you make him practice more than the others...

And I can't help but think what MSC would do in a car like the lotus, given the fact he and Kimi drive in the same way...


same way??? both like oversteer, but unlike schumacher, kimi can handle much more oversteer due to his smooth driving style and unique steering system setup! totally different style..and kimi has more skills than schumacher in wheel to wheel racing!!


Lack of Karting experience. As Schumacher said, karting is most important lesson/base in drivers career and is one thing that should not be rushed. That is where you get all the racecraft from.

If you ever participated in semi/pro or pro kart race, you know how tough those starts are. Talking about space awearness.


instead of a ban for next race, he has to start in pit lane?


Lets be honest, Webber had another crappy start, something that's plagued him for years now. He's been struggling to keep the pace the last few races and I think those are the primary reasons for the lashing out. Amidst all of this, Vettel is on another role and the rest of the team are in toe.

Grosjean does appear to be more of a nuisance to the sport than anything else, but I just can't see him getting another ban. No one's life was in jeopardy and it looked like an honest mistake. He's immature and his driving tactics certainly aren't making him any friends in the sport, but we've seen this type of contact from so many of the other drivers on the grid before.

Webber's always been one of the more sensible drivers in the sport. I don't understand the media hoopla honestly.


He missed pole by .2 of a second! Hardly struggling.


Romain 'Mr Magoo' Grosjean 🙂 Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!


I find it hard to come down on one side of the fence or the other with Grosjean with regards to a ban. There is clearly something up with him in terms of the start of the race, but he does seem to be a talented driver. What will giving him a ban really teach him. I doubt that he is deliberately driving dangerously! And it isn't like he is the first driver to bave gotten this reputation - Jody Scheckter did in his early career and he went on to be a world champ. However, how do you get the message to sink in that he HAS to deal with these starts. If I were Lotus, I would be seriously looking at car management training, simulated starts and even people like sports psychologists. Lets face it, if he could to sort out the starts and first lap, he would be a serious talent!


Grosjean should simply be banned for ever from F1: there is no room for incompetent drivers damaging professional drivers results and ultimately their carreer. Get him out and give a seat to one of the many deserving young drivers waitnig in the wings.


It's interesting that we are all talking about Massa and Kamui being under pressure to keep their seats, but noone is saying that Grosjean is under threat. F1 is a tough business and you either perform or your out. We have seen other drivers with a similar experience level to RG manage to smooth out the rough edges, he has to do the same or that will be it for him. Romain is quick but an F1 driver needs to have the full package if he is to succeed. It seems he has a problem keeping the car under control with full tanks and also lacks the ability to judge where other cars are around him. I don't know if these things can be learned or not, but if they can he needs to get on with it.

I thought that Grosjean seemed a bit cocky after the ban, as if he still didn't believe it was his fault, but in the post race interview yesterday he looked like a frightened schoolboy about to burst into tears! I hope he really does learn his lesson this time.


Grosjean doesn't appear to have the mental capacity to process more than one thing at a time. His comments about watching the car on his outside and then plowing into Webber, pretty much straight in front of him, suggests he's not cut out for multiple scenario planning.

I've seen this in kart racing where some drivers would struggle to process a incident in front of them, and then batter into to someone who they could easily have avoided.


Something else to consider is that its not just this year that Grosjean has been making these sort of mistakes.

I recall watching him in the Euro F3 series where he was making the same kind of errors & there was a couple while he was in GP2 as well.

Also when he was in F1 with Renault in 2009 he had a couple silly 1st lap incidents including the one at Spa where he caused a multi-car pile-up.

If he hasn't learnt by now, He's never going to.

Grosjean Romasi

I don't think that ban would change much. Cars and tracks should be more frightening to drive, that would probably calm things down.

The most disappointing is to see that nobody is even considering penalizing Alonso.

What is so different about Grosjean forcing Hamilton at Spa or Alonso/Raikkonen situtation? Only the consequence. Yes, his move hurt him more than Raikkonen, but it should not matter. Swerving is swerving.