F1 Winter Break
Grosjean kept on by Lotus for 2013 and vows to learn from mistakes
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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keeping him was a no-brainer for me, he's incredibly quick, more so than kimi even. if he cuts out the mistakes i think he's worldchampion material


faster than kimi??

you mean like when kimi trash him despite starting 11th in bahrain??

trash him again despite losing kers initially in hungary??

there are so many mores example i can provide

People whom think he is quicker than kimi obviously are short sighted.


Admitedlly I'm biased toward the Iceman, but when Grosjean has the records for most fastest laps in a season, like Kimi has [2 to Schumacher's 1], in races, where it really counts, then some of this discussion will be relevant. Go Iceman 🙂


Whenever they clear runs throughout a session, the team noted Romain tended to have a couple of tenths over Kimi. By the time of the British GP when there’d been time to make only one new front wing, it went to Romain as the man the team felt offered the best chance.

That report is straight from the team so you’re calling them short sighted too. Kimi certainly improved as the year progressed and super quick too, but lotus wouldn’t keep Romain after all his crashing if he wasn’t a great promise.


The team is dumb tbh. They use practice time as reference when Kimi was cruising around.

Yea, they decided to hand Romain the updates first since valencia, while Kimi had to wait until Hungary. Ironically, Kimi ended up matching or even being faster in Hockenheim and scored a podium despite using older gear.


Not yet for sure but Kimi will retire long before grosjean has to, he's 7 years younger and so has more time to develop and improve. Grosjean just seemed happy and carefree start of 2012. He suited the car but captain grumpy got a handle on it and eventually showed he had far more race pace once the rust was shaken off.

Still kimi will likely retire in the next 5-6 years and grosjean will have had the benefit of driving alongside both alonso and kimi for his F1 career.


[mod] In barhein it was a question of more fresh tires for raikkonen
In hungary it was the traffic that stucked grosjean whereas raikkonen was in free air
I'm not saying he is quicker, but you could have taken the examples of silverstone or austin where after a crash and a sand excursion he's come back just in the mirrors of kimi (who he was not authorised to overtake remember kimi is faster than you in singapour and barhein) were quit impressive.


and silverstone was a good example of how people misintepret driver performance to circumstance advantages.

Romain was lucky to pit on the fastest tyre earlier and run in clean air. While lotus decides to let kimi hang on to the worn out first stint, and pit him again behind traffic instead of opting for undercut. Lots of time made up by romain there when kimi was dropping lap time on the first long stint. When kimi pitted for Hard tyre, he open the gap again to Romain. nth impressive tbh.


thats pure excuses. Romain pitted for fresh tyre on 2nd stint and last stint. All the time he can cacth up with Kimi provided he had the speed. Same thing as Hungary, Romain just couldn't match kimi pace on the last stint despite having clean air all the time while kimi just open the gap to 10+ secs.

you call that quicker??


i dont think he is faster than Kimi. Kimi clearly having issues earlier with his pwoer steering and front tyre heating issues. On normal days, Romain usually ended up behind.

In terms of race pace, kimi owned him anyday, anywhere.


What about Canada?


Kimi is 7-3 in qualy the last 10 races.

Kimi is 18-2 over full race distance.

Of course Kimi is quicker.

Yes, Grosjean was quick in qualy the first half of the season, he run the Pirellis last year in GP2 and had the 2 inseason testing days. None for Kimi due to Bullier but when the powersteering was worked out he never looked back. And for the next season Lotus knows what he wants in a car.


that was more of Lotus Team pitting kimi behind traffic than Romain outpace kimi tbh.


If he can pick Raikkonen's brain (some trick) & learn how to think his way through a race with controlled aggression, he can be an Ace. Glad to see the young man get a second chance. He is not a malicious person.

As a fan of F1, I say, Good Luck RG!



Grosjean has one of the best team mates to try learn from, in terms of fair and clean wheel-to-wheel racing. Whether he's overtaking or being overtaken, it's always a joy to watch Kimi side to side through corner sequences with especially the more experienced guys out there.

Mind you, I don't believe RG's anywhere near as bad as people make him out to be. He was involved in a bunch of small incidents, mostly not even his fault, and then Spa was a small thing that happened to result in a big incident. Monaco could have been even worse, but no one questions what Alonso was doing barging his way through at the start, forcing Grosjean to move over. Suzuka after that, when everyone was on his case, was a stupid mistake under pressure.

If he can just keep out of the trouble in 2013, whether or not he'd be at fault, he definitely has the speed to be fighting for good points and podium finishes.


Yes, well said.

The statement after Spa stating that part of the reason for his one race ban was because it had caused the retirement of two championship contenders was crass.

I reckon Romain was actually at fault for a lot less than half of the incidents in which he was involved.

He was castigated by Webber in Japan but Mark was so slow into turn 2, both Perez and Grosjean were going to make the corner okay until he made a big lift and it all kicked-off.

Hope Romain has a good clean start to the year nad rebuilds his confidence as he has the potential to be a top driver



Yeah, I wasn't particularly thrilled with the reasoning there. Whether or not he deserved a ban I wouldn't really say. On one hand, yes it was a huge accident that took a whole bunch of guys out of the race in a rather violent fashion. Whether it was Alonso and Hamilton fighting for the WDC, or the Saubers hunting their first race win after a great quali session, or whatever, shouldn't matter. But on the other hand, what he did wasn't really all that crazy, just that it happened to result in that crazy incident.

If the same move only took out Hamilton, would it have been a one race ban? If Hamilton had regained control and everyone just kept going, would it have been a one race ban for something that potentially could have caused a pile up? If the accident had happened in Melbourne rather than Spa, back when everyone was back on zero points, would he have received the race ban? If the same thing happened at Spa but only among the guys up the back of the grid, would there have been a one race ban for someone? Alonso attempted a similar thing on Kimi at Suzuka, but basically only managed to DNF himself. Was he given any penalty for basically forcing Kimi off the track?

I think judging based on the amount of carnage caused or the effect on the championship standings is misguided. It should be based more on the driver's actions. Any tiny mistake that any one of them could make at any point has the potential to cause all kinds of chaos, just depending on what the situation happens to be at the time.

And yet in 2011, Maldonado took a swipe at Hamilton and made contact, after a session was over, and from memory only received a 5 spot start grid drop or something similarly weak. Hardly seems fair.

Come on, F1 is supposed to be the height of racing technology. Get rid of the human stewards, have brain monitoring gear on all the drivers, high speed automated computer analysis of incident footage, etc. Not only will this SkyNet F1 entity know everything about the incident from the footage that it analyses in an instant, as well as the data from sensors all over the cars, it'll also read the intentions of the drivers straight from their brain telemetry. =D


Very good summary. Romain has talent and just needs a little more luck in 2013. I don't like seeing quick drivers being forced out by F1 chatter. F1 is meant to be on the edge and bad things will happen. That's racing.


Well said, I'd also like to say that Vettel's 1st lap error taking out senna and Perez in Brazil was just as bad if not worse than anything Grosjean has perceivably done this year.


Not really, given that Bruno dived up the inside of 3 cars just to occupy the line Vettel wanted to take.


Here here!!


Finally somebody speaks objectively with regards to Grosjean.


Race of Champions swung it I think ;)!!!!

I will be glad to see him back he's exciting as well as fast and If he can learn not to collect others in the race he will be a future winner for sure!


Horrible decision.


Who was a) faster and b) available (& affordable)?

He makes mistakes. But the speed is there.


Unwritten rule Number 1 says:

To finish first you have to finish first.

Yes he's got speed, but as soon as he has realized a formula one race is not a series of qualifying laps, he will also lose speed in favor or consistency.


If you have a fast, inconsistent driver, you can iron out the inconsistencies. If you have a slow, consistent driver, it's very hard to speed him up.


When the Lotus team reviews the actual costs and lost opportunities caused by Gross Jean maybe they will come to their senses. People want to see a race not a wreck. What value does he bring to the team ? None. Quick to wreck. Life is short why waste time on his overly estimated lack of driving skills.

Everyone can cause a mistake or two. But look at his 2012 record. Please send him back to go-carts and maybe when he is age 35 we will take another look at his driving skills or lack there of.


You didnt say this about Hamilton in 2011 did you?


Exactly my thoughts. It is also a shame to see Checo who I think has been highly flattered in 2012 and a bit overrated, as well as Crashjean get top level F1 seats while Kamui got shoved aside. F1 is appalling with the pay per mile system that some teams work on. I hope all the F1 teams that suckle on the driver's cash teet fail to see results that prove more costly than any corporate infusion could ever provide. Checo will choke at McLaren for a long while because he's simply not ready (but maybe has the potential) for a top seat, and Crashjean will continue to reinforce his nickname.


I have to agree Chris.

Lets all live in hope that in 2013 he is able to influence the WDC by taking points at the end of a Grand Prix and not influence the WDC by taking other drivers out in the first lap.


Thought I could see an extra wide smile on his face this weekend during ROC. Hope he does better in 2013.


if grosjean can stay ‘clean’ for 2013 then he no doubt has a future in F1. he certainly has speed but like a few others on the current grid he needs to compliment that talent with consistency. that is where the secret of success lies when the cars are all so close in performance.


He's certainly quick but I certainly would have put Kobayashi in the seat along Kimi.

I wonder how much money romain brings in from Total...

Mike from Colombia

And how much does he bring to Boullier?


Haha good question!


Romain is quicker than Kobayashi and deserves the seat on that basis hands down. It remains to be seen if he can bring consistency to his racing but I'm glad he'll have the chance to prove it to us.


Agree also - as much as I loved Kamui and wished he still had a drive, Romain deserved his on speed. I can think of two F1 champs (Schekter and Hunt) off the top of my head who were car breakers early on, and I'm sure the JA readers could conjure more examples of how leopards sometimes do change their spots. Having said that, I think this season is a last chance. He needs solid podiums and/or points and to banish last season as part of the learning curve. He's got a good car under him and a superb team-mate. No excuses.



There are other candidates who are safer, more reliable, more settled, but none of them can match Romain for outright speed or potential. They'd have been bonkers to let him go now.


Over €10 million I believe


How many [first lap usually] pileups does that pay for ?

If he manages 5/10 will he only get half a season, or do Total have some clause to pay extra French Government cash if he carries on his halfwit wrecking spree ?


Unfortunately trumps the €8 million Kobayashi said he could have brought. I sincerely hope it is not the end of his career, as he has stated he will not race in other categories.


Kobayashi brought 8 million Euros, so I don't think it was necessary a completely finance-based decision. Perhaps more than the 2 million Euros, it was Boullier's management that swung it in Grosjean's favor...

James, do you know if Lotus even considered Kobayashi?


They will have considered whether there was a driver available who could be a better option than Grosjean, so in that sense, yes.


Thanks James.

That's more than Kobayashi 8 million.

And he has the advantage of team principal being his manager.

James, do you know it's a one year or multi-year contract?


It says only confirmed for 2013. If I was them I'd keep it on a rolling one year. He has to prove he can perform next year and keep his nose clean on Lap 1


Romain Grosjean reminds me of a young Jody Scheckter. Fast, aggressive, and sometimes accident prone. Grosjean has the speed.


True. I've mentioned before but the last young hot head who was dubbed a crashing menace just got crowned as triple world champion - so there's hope for grosjean yet 😉


Is Grosjean better than Vettel and Schumi because of his recent victory?


It shows that he is very quick driving alone against a clock, just don't put others alongside!


In the type of car used in the Race of Champions, yes. At least initially. Experience with the cars can allow some drivers to improve more than others.

Paul di Resta may still be a better F3 car driver than Vettel, but he isn't a better F1 driver with the current regulations. A shift in tyre design can shuffle the F1 pecking order.




PDR never drove a RB8 and neither did Vettel drive a Force India, therefore your comparison is futile.


But PdR hasn't finished in the top 10 in the championship with cars that have been about as good compared to the rest of the field as Vettel's Toro Rossos. It is fair to say that PdR, who hasn't even beaten a teammate in F1, is no longer as good as Vettel.


Actually Grosjean lost to both Vettel and Schumacher over the curse of the weekend as well, his overall record was 1-1 with both of them.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Race of Champions and was gutted when it moved away from Wembley after such a short time, but trying to use it to establish any kind of pecking order is just fanciful at best.


That analogy is wrong as PDR beating Vettel in 1 season when Vettel was racing in three series is not enough to say he drives the F3 car better than Vettel.


My opinion isn't important, but there are people who do highlight that when driving for the same team, di Resta won, with more wins and poles. That's why I wrote "may".

If we went back to the same year in GP2, Piquet Jnr had six poles (seven before a penalty) to Hamilton's one. You can make a valid argument that over one lap Piquet was the quicker driver. To quote Autosport on Hamilton "qualifying was his weakest link". Hamilton was the better driver, but you wouldn't expect his one lap pace in F1 given what he did with an oversteering-balance GP2 car.


No, but shows he is fast. Romain just needs to stay clean in the races and will get very good results.


i remember he stayed clean in couple of races but getting his a$$ winded up by kimi in the end.....

he needs more than that...especially when kimi gonna improve more on next year with his power steering issues sorted (hopefully)


And with that goes the last of the competitive seats for 2013 (assuming Sutil and Di Resta goes ahead as predicted).

Sad news for Kobayashi fans. He has just announced on his website that he won't be in F1 in 2013, and thus probably for good...


Yep, I'm saddened by that bit of news too. Was really hoping he'd get the 2nd seat at Lotus.


What a shame, he and Kimi would have made for an exciting pairing.


Great news for Romain and to be fair he deserves a top line drive based on the speed he showed this season.

I am of the opinion that Grosjean is proper quick in the Hamilton, Alonso mould and if that performance is tempered he could be a really bright star. Furthermore he appears in the media at least, to be a really nice guy.

Looking forward to seeing how he progresses in 2013 and handles being a regular front runner, assuming that is, that the car is capable.


The right decision. A clearly very talented driver. A couple of issues last season on the first lap but has much more potential than most of the current crop of new drivers IMHO.


To be reviewed 4 races in when his Total cash is half spent on repairs. You can't expect a leopard to change his spots.


Vettel 2010 dubbed 'the crash kid' - wipes out cars on an ongoing basis, Vettel 2010/2011/2012 - world champion.

There's a list of very de-spotted leopards in F1!


That's very true, and it also applies to a young Brazilian Sauber once had, many years ago, who crashed all the time... and not just in the first lap, either. I believe he drives for Ferrari now.


That Brazilian continued to crash a lot in 2011...


Hamilton 2011 compared to Hamilton 2012. There is no reason Grosjean can't turn it around in a similar fashion. Not a fan, just saying it is possible.


Maldonado and Grosjean are the ones to watch. They just need competitive cars. Grosjean will hopefully have a much improved car in 2013.


Mark Hughes in Autosport seems to agree with you on Maldonado, putting him tenth in his top ten drivers, as he acknoledges despite the crashes, due to what Hughes sees as special level of feel for the cars and tyres.


They need three things. Your comment only intimates two, talent and a competitive car. You have forgotten 'judgement'. Both are blazingly fast but lack seasoned judgement. Hopefully for them both they choose their battles more sensibly next season.


Totally agree..Grosjean is the fastest Grand Prix driver out there!...with Pastor the second fastest!


Great news! I think his 'problems' have been way overstated. If Lotus can just tweak that car a bit... then Kimi and Romain can have a great 2013.


Has anyone told Webber the good news yet?

Lotus need the £8m from Total(French) though so I don't blame them.

He's what I call an interfering driver i.e takes points off his team mate so if Kimi is in for a chance next year I hope he doesn't cost him a WDC.


It might spur webber on to qualify at the front more and avoid grosjean! It could be like a scarecrow for the Australian, convincing him to take that extra risk in quali just to be separated on that first lap...;)


3rd time lucky for Romain it seems.

I hope he does well next year - it would be great to see 2 Lotus' give it to the other teams

Wall Street Journal in March this year said Romain brought in about US$5m for Lotus (the same as what Petrov was providing) - interestingly Senna apparently brings in about US$18m to Williams. I think this demonstrates Lotus commitment to having decent drivers before money


Its a balancing act with pay drivers.

An example, if the pay driver is rubbish but brings in $15 its better to bring a good pay driver with $8m as the more points he gets the team in constructor points the more money they get from F1.

Hence why I'm shocked they went for him, had he driven better they would have been 3rd in the construct's so he did cost them a bit.


Reading about RG on Wikipedia just now and it's startling. How many first-lap problems did he have in 2009?! Wow. This clearly isn't a new development.

Grosjean's fast, no doubt whatsoever, but can he race like Kobayashi? I wish racing were more important than outright pace, but the stopwatch seems to be the only way teams quantify drivers now. Grosjean just doesn't seem as talented a racer as Kobayashi. Wish Lotus had gone with him.


Superb news, no brainer.

Romain is supremely talented, the problem is the F1 pressure cooker and the "modern" need to perform immediately with no testing/practice.

It's unsurprising that Senna has lost his Williams seat and that he stuggled at times last season, losing FP1 every weekend is a stuipid disadvantage. The teams that run a 'friday driver' should alternate which race driver misses out.


I have to say, I am sad that the result from this is KK gone from F1. It hurts the sport in Japan and Asia, and he was a pretty good driver at times. But Grosjean redeemed himself in my eyes when he started _apologising_ for his incidents, in a way that Malajusted never did nor does. Pretty clear whom coached him to do that, but he came across very contrite and very self-aware. THAT is the first step in re-formation, and he has improved since then. I still think he has basic spatial awareness issues that come into play, but hopefully he will learn to overcome those and develop into a fast and safe driver. Well, I think the fast part he already has down...


Good call by Lotus. Grosjean deserves the seat. It may be apocryphal but I heard once that Roger Penske said (when speaking of a young Paul Tracy) that a winning race car driver needs to have two things: "be fast and be precise. Many drivers have one and not the other. If I have a choice, I'll take the fast driver. I can teach precision. I can't teach fast."

Grosjean is fast. The rest will follow.


That is excellent news.


I wanted Kabayashi in the Lotus. [mod]

Tornillo Amarillo

I don't know, he misjudges other cars around, can that be fixed by experience?

What if he does the same next year, I guess the first time he does that again will be heavily criticized for drivers and everyone, why Lotus is taking such a risk, just for the Total sponsorship? If the answer is yes, it is ok for me, I like the guy, but if Lotus want to justify the decision because of his speed, etc., well I guess many people have to have the opportunity.


Great, i want to see the real kimi trash him next year. Wouldn't be hard task for kimi as his struggle self already did it easily.


More accidents to come I suspect. Money clearly the deciding factor here.


Grosjean is fast enough but I think the sponsors he brought made the difference.

As for those who reckon Grosjean can bettered Kimi? Dream on. Kimi's talent can never be matched.

Nevertheless, it is good to see him in F1 2013. I wonder if the RoC win helped the decision.


The ROC win must have swung it for him. This and €10m + from Total helps. I really don't know about this- I think he needs alot of visual training for this. There is no doubting he is quick, but his spatial awareness for F1 is not quite what it should be- you put him on a clear track he is as fast as anybody- as soon as you have several cars around him - he looks confused - "deer in the headlights look" (several ballistic f1 cars in close quarters will do that to most people)

Ah well I guess he had better start from P1 every time, then he'd be alright ! Lol


Looking at your banner photo, I recall the days when the drivers had their end of year pic in a much more casual manner - standing next to whoever they want, and sometimes even wearing civies.

There's some great shots I recall seeing from the 1970's, with some drivers without shirts and some lying on the grass, almost looked like a scene from Woodstock!

Would be great to have the formal ('Noah's ark') picture at the start of the year, and the casual one at the end. Too much to ask, I suppose, in the ultra-organised current era where spontaneity appears to be frowned upon. But wouldn't it be great.


I attend the Race of Champions. I was very close to Michael Schumacher and Sebestian Vettel. I kept a sharp eye on every driver during the two days.

To me Romain Grosjean wasn't a the level of Michael Schumacher or Sebestian Vettel. Sebastian Vettel nailed almost every start. He is superb in the corners.

The x-bow,in which Sebastian Vettel lost, wasn't the same. The one Vettel drove had much more over steer and also had a mechanical issue due the previous race.

Michael Schumacher is a very nice and well educated man. Polite, smiling, joking and a true superstar. Most of the people who showed up came for him and only him.

We also could notice that only Michael Schumacher analysed the track and gained tremendous speed thanks to that. The other race copied his analyse and modified their driving style after that.

His speed is amazing as his skills. This weekend gave me an entire other perspective how bad the Mercedes F1 was this season and gave me no doubt that Michael Schumacher in a upper car would had been a championship contender.

Although Romain Grosjean won, he has been overly too aggressive in his racing during the entire weekend.

The technique between the two Germans drivers and the Franco-Swiss is huge.

People who believe that Romain Grosjean out best Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel should be present in the private area of the race to have a better understanding.

On Sunday both were focused on having a good time, giving the audience a great time and give some thrills to the 'co-pilots'

To conclude: Even people who never watched F1 before all knew who Michael Schumacher is and cheer for him every single time. This is the mark of a true superstar.

Nb: David Coulthard is a true professional business representative for any brand. He is hard working and skill full in what he does. Driving wise was good, but I can only give kuddos to the man who had so much to do during this weekend.

Karun Chandhok very very nice and skill full. He should be in F1.


Romain was able to carry more speed from the Schumacher S's round the last corner, and that was why he won. Didn't matter which vehicle he was driving, he was able to measure that breaking point perfectly and get on the power faster than anyone.

Vettel and Schumacher have had more experience of these cars than Romain, this was visible on Saturday as he struggled a little, but still performed well.

I am no Romain fan but I was impressed by his pure speed.


Grosjean went nowhere in RoC last year. I think putting along side with Kimi really improved his skill.

The way I see it, he simply wrestles harder and was lucky not to tab the barriers.


I don't know if you were present at the event or saw it on TV.

The speed of Romain Grosjean wasn't spectacular compared to other drivers of that event. I can't recall being impressed by a huge gap or anything in that sort.

Anyway, liking him or not, it is a matter of opinion and I have mine. He will be driving in next year F1 season and others not. Some people are clamming here that he is a potential world champion, on my conclusion on the human being Ronain Grosjean is, I would say he isn't. Too much anger and aggressiveness in his driving.


Nb2: Some of the team members of Lotus GP were also present and managing Romain Grosjean.

The renewal of Romain Grosjean's contract was obvious and never in question.



Related to F1 sits for next year, I heard Jaimi Alguersuari saying (on BBC I think) that he has definitely will have a sit next year as things are almost finilized with one of the established team. And I was thinking of Lotus at the time.

Now, Lotus sit gone, where do you think he can possibly get a sit. Just your opinion.



Force India is a possibility, maybe Caterham


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.


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.


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.


Glad he kept his drive!


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.


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.


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...


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.



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?



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...


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.


Ha ha! Twits... That's funny...


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.


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?




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.


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 🙂


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


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?


Kimi doesn't care about the others.


So Kamui is banking on 2014?

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

Lotus again?


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.


“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!


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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 !


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


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


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.


Yes. On Lotus car I believe


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


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.


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


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.

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