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Grosjean kept on by Lotus for 2013 and vows to learn from mistakes
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Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Dec 2012   |  8:33 pm GMT  |  136 comments

Lotus has finally confirmed that Romain Grosjean will retain his seat at the team for next season, with the Frenchman vowing to put the lessons learnt from his turbulent 2012 into practice.

Although the 26-year-old had been expected to be kept on alongside Kimi Raikkonen for a second straight season the delay in the reconfirmation suggested the Enstone team’s hierarchy was carefully taking its time to ensure Grosjean was ready to make improvements in 2013.

As while the Frenchman, after resurrecting his career in GP2 following his brief ill-fated initial F1 stint with the same team in 2009, showed his undoubted speed with three podium finishes and numerous strong qualifying results, his campaign was clouded by a string of first-lap misjudgements which culminated in him becoming the first driver to be suspended from race since 1994 in wake of causing the La Source pile-up at Spa.

But Grosjean, who underlined his talent by beating Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher en-route to winning the Race of Champions in Thailand over the weekend, has now been given the green light to continue into next year when he feels he will be ready to piece together a more consistent second full season.

“It’s fantastic for me to be continuing with Lotus F1 Team for 2013. It’s superb to have the support of everyone at Enstone. I’m really looking forward to rewarding their faith when we take to the track in Australia,” he said.

“I learnt a lot in my first full season in Formula 1 and my aim is to put these lessons into practice with stronger and more consistent performance on track next year. There are a lot of exciting developments occurring behind the scenes at Enstone and I am very excited with the prospect of the E21. I’ve already had my seat fitting and spoken with all the personnel involved with the build of the new car; I just can’t wait to get behind the wheel.”

Team boss Eric Boullier made reference to the former GP2 champion’s “great talent” and believes the combination of Grosjean and Raikkonen will allow the team to continue the progress made this year.

“Romain is a great talent and we are pleased that he is continuing with us for a second season,” he said.

“With the continuity of two exceptional drivers like Romain and Kimi we are well placed to build on our strong 2012 with even better results in the year ahead. Both drivers worked very well together in their first year as team-mates, and I think there is the potential of even better things from the season ahead. We were regular visitors to podiums in 2012 and we certainly intend to continue with this trend in 2013.”

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1

Good decision by Lotus,RG is super quick and has a few prima donna’s concerned, he won’t be pushed aside like Kimi was early in the season, RG will establish himself as a front runner 2013 and Kimi will be tested. I’m a big fan of Kimi’s but the 2007 speed is just not there, but his racecraft is as good as ever.

2

LGP chose his sponge-like quality over the bitter taste. He is willing to be completely molded free of ego. properly restrained and influenced by the iceman through challenge..he may laugh last

3

He’s proved he can be quick, so it will be interesting to see if he can improve his discipline. Too many memories of him being at the heart of incidents in 2012 wipes out the good bits. I don’t remember him being a “bad boy” back in 2009.

4

no doubt grosjean has the physical attributes , the thing you can’t learn

but you can learn the mental discipline you need …if he does he could go right to the top

long time since a top rated swiss driver

5

Question for James Allen: have you heard anything about the Honeywell sponsor-deal that was supposed to be announced this week? Thanks for your reply! Regards, J.

6

Yes. On Lotus car I believe

7

my word grosjean back on track guess the script is written for more first lap horrers, grosjean may have speed but no self control, lets not forget juan pablo montoya he too showed promise however his propensity to have accidents was all ways a hallmark feature that shrouded his talent as a potential champ. grosjean at his age still learning i think is a little to late especially in today’s F1 where you have lewis, jensen, alonso and vettle as WC’s

8

Not surprised with this decision. E.Boullier have always wanted to run a French team afterall so this all makes sense. 🙂

9

Good decision Lotus. He has talent and speed. 2013 needs a little more luck for Romain and more calmness and peripheral vision. Being criticised by the Aussie Grit did wonders for Seb !

10

No one is faster than Kimi- only Hamilton is a match in outright speed. In some days their all about equal but Raikkonnen is consistently fast. They were 10- 10 in quali and Kimi had almost 3 times the points – so I don’t know where people dream this up. Grosjean may yet be the quickest but he needs to keep his cat on track first and then out of other cars before anyone can say that. Kimi was never wreckless even as a junior. Stop comparing men with boys.

11

Yes. What many people dont notice is that Kimi was never a accident-prone racer even in his 1st season. Or even Alonso for that matter.

Those that say Grosjean makes mistakes due to lack of experience are simply mistaken. Grosjean’s racing IQ and spatial awareness is just plain horrible. And the scary thing is that he actually thinks he’s not that bad.

12

Not sure, this year showed Kimi is perhaps not quite as superfast as he was in mid 2000s, but he’s still very quick and very consistent

13

I don’t think anyone ever expects to be as quick as they were 7 years ago. Do you ?? But I also don’t think he is that far off either. He surprised everyone not least you James and what’s been truly outstanding is that there has been very little between his peaks and troughs at the very front of the field even when others cars got better. Don’t forget he’s not driving a Ferrari or a Mclaren and has worked well to get that lotus competitive throughout .& While others say they drove 100% all year he tells it like it is. He will always be the underdog cause he’s understated & honest – that’s why many like him more than anyone else.

14

Well congrats to him. So no Kamui at force India or Caterham?

15

At the end of the day, we need fast drivers in F1. They will always be far more exciting than drivers who just consistently bring cars in the points. Grosjean is one of those fast drivers as is Maldonado. These guys just need to improve their consistency. Hamilton was the same early on – but look at him now.

16

Didn’t Hamilton get on the podium in his first seven races?

17

Obviously there’s an element of risk but Grosjean’s prodigious raw pace and therefore potential is so much greater than any of the other candidates that a calculated risk is absolutely worthwhile for Lotus. If it doesn’t work out, there are plenty of reliable performers waiting to jump in at a moment’s notice!

In the past, young drivers had virtually unlimited testing but today they have to develop their F1 skills almost entirely on race weekends. The teams wanted the testing ban and so have to take collective responsibility for this sutuation, including the inevitably longer times some drivers will take to lose their rough edges. Would Ferrari or McLaren drop a potential regular winner (or better) because he took out a Lotus or two? Of course not!

Others have already alluded to Scheckter but Brabham, Hunt, Gilles Villeneuve, Hakkinen and many other successful drivers were also pretty wild at first. Very few continue, de Cesaris-like, to be accident prone for too long.

18

“I learnt a lot in my first full season in Formula 1 and my aim is to put these lessons into practice with stronger and more consistent performance on track next year’; What have you learned? How to drive like kamikaze and how to mess up a championship for two of the best drivers on the grid?! I suppose the only reason you’ve stayed because of the Renault-RBR relationship cause without you in the picture there would be FA third time DCW!

19

Somebody said that it was easier to calm down a fast driver, than to make a calm driver fast. With that in mind I can understand why Grosjean was retained. If Grosjean can learn to keep his nose clean, I think he has the potential for much better results than what we have seen so far.

20

So Kamui is banking on 2014?

If he’s only interested in a competitive seat than which seat?

Lotus again?

21

Intrestingly, everyone on here makes good and valid point about Grosjean, he really is winter and the summer in one person. Its almost as if there’s two of him, and they take it in turns to have a drive!! He’ll have to be more careful, he really did risk other drivers health once or twice, and that is not acceptable in F1. However his speed is to be admired, as well as 10m of Total money!!

I wonder if Kimi had any say/influence on the decision?

22

Kimi doesn’t care about the others.

23

Romain is fast but needs to fine tune his racing skills which takes some time I guess. Having speed is vital though.

24

Good thing for F1, because RG is very fast and sometimes he was even faster than Kimi, but of course in consistency he needs to grow up. perhaps Alonsio would choose some other driver, not him 🙂

25

Ha-ha, good one, Lotus, good one.

I’ll see what you have to say after first 5 crashes in first 5 races of 2013.

Hope you have a great get-out clause in contract though.

26

{ducks}

27

James,

Can we have a one- race ban for all the commenters who think this decision was about money, on grounds of lack of race judgement?

😉

28

And a ban for all those commenting on his spatial awareness problems, unless they can produce a physiology or other medical qualification to back up their comments. Ridiculous…

29

Well you better ban me too because I said it also and I have no problem saying it again. He has difficulty judging distances and speed when more than one car is around. You can see it in his eyes that he gets flustered and his poor reaction in the steering in each incident highlights it.I’m sure he is fine in most other situations but the starts are difficult for anyone not just him, and he just needs alot more work than most to get past this problem cause I can tell he’s not over it yet..Time will tell & if he is a true champion he may yet turn it into a strength.. But right now Lotus will be watching anxiously Im sure.

30

Ha ha! Twits… That’s funny…

31

No Lawrence H – I’m not a qualified physiologist , I don’t have X ray vision- but I’m also not an idiot either. If you don’t watch the race carefully and you dont see the close ups of the drivers and you don’t see the onboards whilst their driving and reactions to situations ( or lack thereof) , maybe you need help.! The guy wiped out several cars in several races last year- has been ridiculed by most drivers. Romain himself has said that he has identified the problem is working hard on eliminating in several interviews- so he even acknowledges there is a problem – yet there are twits like you that still need some form of scientific evidence to acknowledge it.

32

So not only are you a qualified physiologist, you also have x-ray vision to see what his eyes look like through his visor???? Through a TV screen?

33

Wow I’m surprised there’s so much animosity towards Grosjean. He made more than his fair share of mistakes this year but he is quick and has the support of Total. Maybe you can snicker at commercial involvement but realistically NONE of the teams would be here without it. Scuderia Ferrari (Marlboro) anyone? If this guy can get his head together there’s no reason he couldn’t win races next year and be a contender. I think his race demeanor following his suspension is testament to the fact that he can pull it together. It’s not going to take too many more pile-ups to have him lose his seat completely so I think this will be a good opportunity to really see what he can do. Or not.

34

I have a mixed opinion of keeping Grosjean. Clearly, he does have the potential to drive fast, and seemingly, on the performances of the 2012 season, he was as fast as anybody, and the competition is very strong; so it says a lot. But if you look at the trend in his driving over the course of the season, you see a slightly disturbing trend, he was at his fastest during the same period he was also finishing a high percentage of the races during that period in the first few lasts, if not the first corner!

At the end the season, it was obvious that he was ‘tuned down’, most likely to lower the likelihood of destroying another car, before the season’s end, and his finishing placements show this, from the infamous first lap crash in Belgium: RET, 7, 19, 7, 9, RET, 7, RET; he still finished the year two DNFs out of the first three races! Certainly the Lotus machinery comparative advantage was also down, but two of the last three DNFs of the season?

So the real question is, can you afford him?

Because there is no reasonable expectation of Romain even finishing a greater percentage of the races the he is in!

So, I like him, because he can drive fast, but the attrition rate has NOT been covered by the results, nor the that trend look to be improving.

So they are taking quite an extraordinary chance.

I believe that Kobayashi also has the potential to be a race winner, even a world champion; I am not necessarily suggestion that Kobayashi has demonstrated the same kind of all out raw pace as Grosjean has demonstrated, but I believe that from the position the Lotus machinery is going in, and the direction of comparative performance of the team overall, I would have gone for Kobayashi, especially if he could bring within 2 million euros of what Grosjean, reportedly (above) brings in.

35

I agree entirely that his results this year were questionable at best but I don’t think Kamui is the answer either. In some ways they’re actually quite similar; both quite aggressive and as a result can be on occasion negligent. I’m not sure anyone with a weak heart should be watching Kamui try to overtake someone. Nevertheless I think both are very talented but neither has actually achieved their full potential. I think it’s going to be a tough road for Kamui – realistically his best chance maybe if Honda re-enters the sport as a engine supplier and can put pressure on their supplied teams to give him a run. There’s not that many good seats likely to be available in the next few years either; unless the Perez experiment is a failure…

36

Very reasonable and thoughtful Luke.

In the end analysis, I guess I just like Kamui, and though I don’t even know why, I don’t like Grosjean. Notwithstanding that, I think Kamui showed positive trending on race-ending incidents; and I just don’t agree that he is really even in the same category for catastrophic comings together, as Grosjean; I like the way Kobayashi drives, I like the way he passes, very neat, and quite unique in the current formula. I think he is the most underrated driver on the grid for 2012, and quite comparable to Perez, whom I expect to dominate at McLaren, next year.

37

Glad he kept his drive!

38

As a Ferrari fan, Spa did not go down well with me, but to be honest, Romain deserves it, he is a likable guy, but more important, he has a heavy right foot,a great racer.

39

Quite happy with this. Yes he crashed a fair bit in 2012 but he showed remarkable potential too. If Maldonado is worth another go after spending his entire career crashing, then Grosjean definitely deserves it.

40

If Maldonado is bringing the team a dime less than 25 million euros, than I say he is NOT worth another year, and then, only because he brings so much money.

Like Grosjean, I like Maldonado, because he can drive fast! But his results, besides the race win in Barcelona, were well behind Senna’s, I believe that letting the likable Senna go, was right thing to do, based on results; even though I like Senna a lot, and I like to see him get another decent drive.

If you factor into those results the carnage Maldonado was involved in, much it unnecessary, although trending better towards the final third of the season, the results just do not justify keeping the driver.

here are a lot of decent drivers around: Alguersuare, Kobayshi, Buemi, or junior drivers meriting a shot, like Robert Wickens, if he could bring the dough. It will be interesting to see how Maldonado matches up against Valtteri Bottas at Williams, but I definitely would have gone with Kobayashi over Maldonado unless Maldonado brings the big bucks.

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