Why Grosjean deserves another F1 shot


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Romain Grosjean returned to single-seater racing last month for the first time since being dropped from F1 by Renault at the end of last year.

Having contested four races in the new Auto GP series he lies second in the championship, despite having missed the first four rounds of the year.

That alone is not strong enough grounds to say he shouldn’t have been dropped from F1. But comparing his performance last year to how well his successor Vitaly Petrov is doing, perhaps Grosjean was dropped too hastily.

It’s fair to say Romain Grosjean had an unusually tough introduction to F1. He was ushered in to Renault to replace Nelson Piquet Jnr, whose involvement in the Singapore race-fixing scandal had only just come to light.

Renault were publicly excoriated when the scandal emerged and team principal Flavio Briatore and engineering director Pat Symonds were shown the door.

Amid the upheaval, Grosjean had to grapple with a wretched car and a double world champion team mate – and without the testing opportunities available to Petrov at the start of this year.

Despite that, Grosjean fared better on pace compared to Fernando Alonso than Petrov has compared to Robert Kubica.

Over his seven appearances Grosjean was, on average, 0.667% slower than Alonso on their fastest laps. In his ten appearances to date Petrov has been 1.013% slower than Kubica:

Romain Grosjean and Vitaly Petrov versus their team mates (click to enlarge)

Perception matters a lot in Formula 1. Grosjean certainly gets less credit than he deserves for coping with the R29 and Petrov should be grateful he’s driving an R30 instead.

In leaving Grosjean on the sidelines this year F1 has passed judgement on him too quickly. His junior formulae credentials – with an F3 Euroseries championship (like Lewis Hamilton) and several GP2 wins – are strong.

Unfortunately it’s not clear where he might fit in were he to return in 2011. Several teams have already confirmed unchanged line-ups for next year and any places that do open up in established teams could well be taken by experienced drivers currently racing for new teams – such as Timo Glock.

Do you think Romain Grosjean deserves an F1 return? Have your say in the comments.

Read more: Romain Grosjean biography

Image (C) Renault/LAT

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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90 comments on “Why Grosjean deserves another F1 shot”

  1. I think he deserve a seat next year, as many big teams have announce their line-up I think it’s up to the smaller team to have a look at him.

  2. Well Keith, could you introduce the Nelson Piquet Jr data into this analysis? I think he’s deserve a seat more than Grosjean…

    1. Not after what he did at Singapore he doesn’t.

      1. Richard Evans
        16th July 2010, 13:34

        I think thats slightly unfair Keith, with Rubens’ interview on Top Gear about the Austria incident, the action was different but the affect was the same(handing a victory to a team mate). The pressures teams place on already vulnerable drivers makes them do things that they wouldn’t do in normal circumstances. Rubens said he wouldn’t do it, but he did and we don’t vilify him. Although i agree Grosjean would deserve a seat first.

        1. Richard, no Piquet disgraced the sport, oh sure Briatore and Symonds told him to do it. Tough, what he did was absolutley unaceptable. He was a bit rubbish anyway.

          Anyone been watching GT1? when his cars tuned in well enough he’s been damn impressive, little bit lucky but consitantly quick.

          I’d like to see him get a shot in F1, he deserves it.

          1. Richard Evans
            16th July 2010, 18:16

            I just dont see it to be fair that Ferrari took the wrap far more than rubens did, but in this instance piquet is the fall guy

          2. Because what Barrichello and his teammate carried out was in no way dangerous, Richard.

          3. I don’t think Piquet performed well enough for another go.

            But, I don’t believe he should take any responsibility for Singapore. He’s a rookie driver, he was under pressure already because of the rumours he would get dropped, when they told him to crash his back was really against the wall. Think about how hard it is for a young driver to get into F1, let alone for one that didn’t quite have perfect credentials (unlike Hulkenburg). So you can see, how Piquet would be so desperate to stay in F1, presumably where his dreams lie.

            What he did was wrong, But I think it is far, far, far more shocking that Briatore, the man who purposefully took advantage of this oh so insecure driver, who forced him, to crash a formula one car, potentially putting at risk the driver’s own life, the other drivers lives, and the lives of the track marshals and spectators, this man who has at every stage refuse to acknowledge that what he did was wrong in any way, how is he considered a guest in the F1 paddock? That is sickening.

            Piquet, the worst is a stupid stupid youung man. But, he wouldn’t be the only one, I see this as comparable to what Schumacher did in 94 and 97.

            Briatore doesn’t have that excuse.

      2. miguelF1O (@)
        16th July 2010, 13:46

        sorry keith but its briatores fault anyway i dont see piquet as f1 material likewise bruno senna and this comparison is not very accurate but i agree completly with you i have watched all his races on gt1 and recently the Auto GP series surprised that renault dropped the only fast french (swiss but to be on f1 is easier to be french) in f1 since the mid fast prost

      3. even though, Piquet had atleast scored points driving an uncompetive renault, and was closerr to alonso in the race than grosjean. Grojean doesnt deserve a seat

        1. Richard I’m sorry but crashing into a wall deliberately and risking the safety of marshals and spectators is not the same as pulling over and giving a victory to your teammate.

          Miguel, as far as I’m aware it was Piquet driving not Briatore. Piquet steered it into the wall. Yes, Briatore put ridiculous pressure on him which was can’t be ignored or excused but Piquet could have just said no.

          Andy, I thought Piquet was better than he got credit for in 08. There were a couple of good drives. However, Grosjean didn’t have much prepartion because of the testing rules so it is very hard to compare the two due to the different circumstances.

          1. Richard Evans
            16th July 2010, 14:20

            I fully appreciate that what piquet did was worse, given both the sporting and safety sides of it, but he was in a lose lose situation, if he did it he may be found out and potentially never drive again, if he doesnt do it hes sacked, it would take a very strong willed person to say no to Briatore who was in the role of dream maker. His lifelong ambitions in the hands of one man.

            Piquet could deserve another shot at F1 but needs a chance to prove himself again elsewhere.

          2. It was a miserable situation for Nelson. Sure, he could and should have said no – with the full knowledge that Renault would have swiftly dropped him (in his mind, anyway). He was obviously desperate to hang on to his seat, and in the heat of racing (lets not forget how draining Singapore can be) he made a bad decision. A terrible decision, but I’m sure Nelson took every precaution not to crash in a way that endangered others, stupid as that sounds.

        2. “Piquet had atleast scored points driving an uncompetive renault”

          Well, the 2008 Renault was kind of competitive, finishing 4th in the constructors and 5th in the drivers tables, but he didn’t even score 1 point in the Renault of 2009 (and wasn’t even a victim of the old points system, he only finished 10th once).

          1. Piquet was a rookie in his first season aginst a double world champion team mate. finishing with just less than half the points of alonso was acceptable and the 2009 renault was awful and i believe that piquet had a large amount of unreliablity.

            And just as piquet was sacked, his performances were beginning to improve. the first time he out qualified alonso.

          2. The first time he outqualified Alonso was in 27 attempts, which means that any sign of improvement was clearly too little, too late. In 2008 (before we knew about crashgate) I always felt he should keep his seat, but he proved me wrong by not improving after a couple of promising performances in 08. He simply shouldn’t have been outscored 13-0 in the time they spent together in 09 by someone who got beaten by a rookie (who fought Jr closely in GP2), no matter how awful the car was.

      4. Lol. I agree. Nelson had almost 2 years to show some potential, and failed miserably ad doing so. Nelson doesn’t deserve a drive in any category of motor sport.

        1. Plus he even failed to meet the low expectations of 50% of his teammate’s points (61-19).

      5. Did Ayrton Senna deserve to keep a seat in F1 after what he did to Prost in Suzuka 1990? As far as I see it, that was worse than what Piquet did because 1) it was entirely his own decision with no pressure from higher powers within the team;
        2) he deliberately compromised the safety of a fellow competitor, and spectators, with potentially much more serious consequences than Piquet’s crash (because of the higher speed and the lower safety standards of the day) for nothing more than his own benefit.

        However people are unable to look at this incident in the cold light of day simply because of Senna’s greatness as a driver, and his death.

        1. More accurately people in F1 forums don’t go on about it constantly adding nothing to any debate as with Schumacher ’94 & ’97.

          If Piquet goes away and wins IndyCar within a year or 2 maybe an F1 team will look at him, but it would take something that special. Petrov has still got time to prove himself as has Grosjean.

      6. After Singapore he really does NOT deserve another seat. Anyone associated with that incident should be entirely dissociated from the sport, it has already affected its credibility far too much. How Alonso got away with nothing or even really an investigation, I do not know. I for one am still very suspicious about that.

    2. Grosjean did a lot better than Piquet anyway.

    3. I think Grosjean not only did better than Piquet (look at his speed coming closer to Alonso in the last 3 races) and Petrov is doing as a Rookie, he did never receive a chance to prove himself.

      With his pretty steady driving in a GP1 car and now in the Auto GP series, i would be glad if he got picked up by a team next year. It might be Renault or Sauber or the new team.

      1. Piquet don’t deserve any place in F1 for any reason. Even Romian did much better job then him in his time in Renault.Yes Flavio have made him do that but it;s the driver decision why would he choose to crash his car?

        1. I do think my post was about Grosjean doing the job (of driving a dog of a car around and being compared to his 2WDC teammate without any testing) better than both Piquet and Petrov have so far.

          Nothing to indicate Piquet deserves another go at F1.

  3. Yes and no. He took the seat the wrong time. I don’t blame him as it’s rare someone says no to F1. I don’t believe Renault dropped him because of performance alone, it was probably budget and wanting a new beginning and a whole new lineup rather than not wanting Romain.

    His pace wasn’t bad but he did make mistakes esp a few spins I remember.

    The fact is though he’s unlikely to get a chance any time soon. With the testing ban experience means more than youth and promise for the smaller teams. Rookies are a waste of time now unless there’s a situation like Williams where there seems to be a long standing relationship. That’s a sad state for F1 and the future stars.

    1. Let’s hope Anthony Hamilton’s GP Prep operation gets going and provides some better-prepared rookies.

    2. I think this is falling victim to “chart syndrome” though.

      Grosjean may not have had as big a delta in terms of fastest laps, but there’s more to F1 than one-lap pace, otherwise Trulli would have been ensconsed at Ferrari or McLaren years ago. Grosjean wasn’t dumped from F1 because he wasn’t fast enough in qualifying, it’s because he couldn’t be relied upon to bring home points, mix it with other racers, or keep the car facing the right direction.

      Petrov has had plenty of offs, certainly, and has been off the pace on occasion. But he’s shown more grit and determination in the races, and has been prepared to mix it with other drivers, hang on to his places, resist pressure, and overtake.

      Grosjean never showed any signs of that, and that’s why he won’t be back – same as Bourdais.

      1. By the time that Grosjean got the car, without testing, it was truly awful and way off the pace. That he wasn’t able to bring in any points, isn’t really a reflection on him. Piquet didn’t bring in any points, don’t beat on Grosjean, who was fairly fiesty an alright in the races. Petrov, driving a much better car with the benefit of testing, has a pathetic points haul, less the Kobayashi and Buemi, quite awful. Petrov is a much less deserving candidate than Grosjean.

      2. I’ll admit I dont remember a lot of Grosjean’s drives last year, defending from Button in Brazil springs to mind though, and he did a good job there.

        Since you bring him up, Bourdais is another driver that I think didn’t get the opportunity he deserved, although it’s understandable since he’s a bit old to be learning new tricks.

      3. Grosjean wasn’t dumped from F1 because he wasn’t fast enough in qualifying, it’s because he couldn’t be relied upon to bring home points, mix it with other racers, or keep the car facing the right direction.

        I think it’s tough for any rookie at the moment to prove that in seven races. Petrov hasn’t and he had more testing than Grosjean.

        But it’s easier to calm down a driver who spins too much than make someone who isn’t fast enough quicker.

        1. It would be nice to have a ‘B-series’ with cars from the year before, and drivers with F1 experience. It wouldn’t have to necessarily overlap with GP2’s role as the main feeder series, but would provide fans and drivers to see drivers for longer, and in better cars.

          So many potentially promising drivers (but who have had a few bad races) just disappear out of F1 and never make it back. There’s also the case of promising drivers who perhaps choose the wrong team, where the performance can’t be gauged so easily and whose careers just seem to drift away without ever being tested, which this kind of series could cater for.

      4. I think, Hairs, you are falling victim to “he’s more visible during races which means he is good” though.

        1. I wouldn’t have expected miracles from Grosjean in the R29 in terms of performance, certainly. He was driving a bad car and with no testing, was on a hiding to nothing.

          Having said that, I didn’t see anything from him (or Bourdais) last year that suggested they had the testicular fortitude to impose themselves on a race. At the times Grosjean was close to Alonso’s pace, he wasn’t showing it in the races. This is a valid criticism that was made of Button for a long time – reasonable driver, no guts, won’t drag himself up the field. Button was faster than his teammates though and that held him over in the times when he was in a bad car.

          Petrov has proved when he’s on it, he can overtake, he can defend his position, and he has potential to improve, learn from his mistakes, and become a more complete driver – what you’d expect from an ideal “rookie”. In contrast, Grosjean and Bourdais showed “rookie” driver tendencies but no evidence that there was much extra in the tank other than what they’d already showed. Grosjean was shoved out too early, certainly. But I’m not convinced that if he were given another chance, he’d give a much better showing of himself. As Kobayashi has proved, a slow driver in another formula can be a great F1 driver, and there’s no guarantee that a fast, winning driver in a lower formula will translate into F1. I think Romain falls into the latter category.

          1. Problem is, I don’t think either Grosjean, Petrov, or for that matter Piquet Jr., would have, or would, make a winning F1 driver. I absolutely agree with Keith that Grosjean’s seven-race stint in a dog with no testing was always going to backfire on his career. His entry in F1 was ill-timed and ill-advised.

            But nonetheless, and I have to agree with Hairs on this, Grosjean himself does carry a portion of blame for his early exit from Formula 1. And I do not judge his speed – I judge his thinking. He was clearly aware of his situation when he first put himself in R29 cockpit. His “traditional” rookie way of slow improvement and consistent finishes were never going to ascertain him an F1 career. Because he only had 7 races to prove himself. And to stay on, he had to show some grit, some overtaking skill, some scintillating battles and attract at least some tv coverage.

            Kobayashi’s final race result in Brazil wasn’t that much stronger than Grosjean’s in his best F1 race. However, everyone remembered Koba. And no one will remember Grosjean if the guy doesn’t return to F1. As was already said, F1 is more than speed and a gap to your team-mate. It’s also about determination, passion, and will to carry your car forward.

            Grosjean might have been a faster racer than Petrov, but the latter is far more exciting to watch. I want more drivers like Petrov, Koba, and for that matter Hamilton, in F1.

      5. It’s true that Grosjean’s drives were mostly anonymous, but then so are Rosberg’s… and he does pretty well with a supporting team.

        But overall I agree that he probably deserves a try, but this is probably not the best time for him, as others have mentioned.

  4. a) Name another sport in the world where you are selected on bank balance as opposed to merit?

    b) I don’t think this situation is isolated to Grosjean himself, albeit I think he does deserve a seat. F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport yet can we honestly say the 24 drivers in F1 are the 24 best drivers in the world. Unfortunately gone are the days of “cream of the crop, best rise to the top”.

    I love this sport. Always have, always will. But I’m sure we can all name drivers outside of F1 that should be there before some current drivers.

    1. Gone are the days? They days of the pay drivers yeah.

      Today’s drivers are a huge leap ahead of pay drivers like Ricardo Rosset, Delatraz, Lavaggi and Yuji Ide.

      Basically the drivers that drive in the ultimate backmarker car just get their seat becaue they bring money (either their own, their dads or sponsorship money), but Chandhok and Senna did actually prove themselves in GP2.

      1. How ’bout Sacks-o’ Money-oto?

    2. A lot of sports actually have the bank account being a major if not more important factor than talent alone.

      In Tennis, ice skating, sailing, golf, Surfing finding the money to compete is very important (if not on the same level as motorsports) to be able to compete at a good level.

      1. Thats nonsense. If I’m a tennis player and I am good, I would get somewhere as my talent would be more evident – I beat the opposition. The rankings in the world come down to one thing and one thing only – talent. Bank accounts have no influence on that.

        If I am a racing driver and I am good I’ve only solved half the problem. Natural talent is not enough unless you’re real good. I would need a good piece of machinery and/or a lot of money to prevail. Put it this way, are the championship standings reflective of the talent in the field accurately from first to last? No.

        1. Ignorant answer Hamish, it’s not rubbish at all. Big sports are ridiculously hard to break into, an because money is essentially what makes sport spin, money is an incredibly good way to grease the wheels into a sport.

          True talent can break through in the end, but ignoring the benefits money can give to the less talented, an even the most, as a means of entry, is rather short sighted.

          1. I think it depends on the method of advancement, whether you’re pushed from the bottom (parents buying you into the sport), or pulled from the top (scouted while you’re an amateur).

            Motorsport is a mix of both, it takes a lot of cash to get a child into national karting championships, but once you’re there if they have talent they might be picked up by a big team, like Hamilton and Vettel were.

        2. Mark Hitchcock
          16th July 2010, 15:24

          Hamish, how would you improve to the professional level without paying for some lessons? How would you travel to all the tournaments without any money? How would you pay the entry fees without money?

          Look at the people who win major tennis tournaments. Almost all of them trained since they were children, with their parents spending ridiculous amounts of money on equipment, lessons, travel etc.

          1. Judging by your analogy Mark you are way wide of the mark and have missed the point.

            My point is its very hard for natural progressions to exist in F1 due to the fact its not human skill vs human skill. Theres machinery involved and unfortunately you’re only as good as the car you’re in.

            Roger Federer became No.1 on skill, not money. Tiger Woods became No.1 on skill, not money, and then got his mack on. Money didn’t contribute to Usain Bolt smashing the 100m world record. I do understand and acknowledge that big money does exchange hands in sport, but this is for, wait for it, those that are the naturally gifted and superior players – not for some guy who is backed by Lada cars for example.

            I can see how some people question calling F1 a sport when theres is no sense of natural progression in regards to human merit.

            You can talk about childrens lessons etc etc, but please think bigger picture. I’m more talking the corporate presence.

            Have we ever heard a story in football where a well respected player gets dropped from the team for a match due to Sakon Yamamoto, the erratic striker, bringing $5million to the club?

          2. Mark Hitchcock
            16th July 2010, 16:18

            No, I’m just saying that a skilled tennis player can’t progress up the ranks without some sort of financial support.
            It’s just a lot more obvious in motorsport because it’s such an expensive sport.

            I do understand your point about money deciding who gets into F1, but to get noticed by a sponsor such as Lada you need to be skilled in lower formulae. It’s not like they just turn up at a race meeting, pick a number out of a hat and say “hey, driver number 20, you’ve had no success but here’s some money and an F1 drive!”.

            Obviously there is an element of luck involved in getting to Formula One because there are so few places available and so many drivers wanting to get there. Not everyone can make it, but MOST who do are there on merit.

          3. Hamish, there’s quite a few instances of respected players being dropped in the American soccer leagues for a washed up European to come in and take their spot. David Beckham was brought to the LA Galaxy as much for the exposure he’d bring the sport there as he was for his talent.

          4. Hamish, from your last post here i kind of get your point about the equipment being a bit more of a factor in F1 (or motorsports in general). Probably only sailing gets close.

            You are right for the F1 level, but in most lower level racing the equipment drivers get is much more equal and the team organisation along with driver quality make succes.

            And there it’s not very different from most top sports where you need parents/family or giving their money and sweat and tears or having a infulential sponsor to get a shot at the top level

    3. I think it depends on what you mean by ‘bank balance’. If you mean the amount of money a driver will pay the team to drive then I agree with you that there are few sports like F1. This is because, as you cite, F1 is about more than the drivers. The car makes the difference, and the car costs money.

      But if you can consider ‘bank balance’ as the amount of money a driver can bring to the team. Then there are a lot of examples of athletes being brought to teams specifically because of their merchandising value. See David Beckham at LA, See ARod being brought to the Yankees, see even Park Ji Sung being brought to ManU.

      Then you have to think that sponsorship in sports is based on talent, mostly.

  5. The R29 being a dog of a car works both ways. Grosjean might not have been as far behind as however good of a driver Alonso is, his skill alone couldn’t extract anything more out of the car. Petrov has to compete with someone with experience of squeezing performance out of bad cars, who’s now in a car that isn’t bad at all.

    Petrov’s looked more promising, and would have had multiple points finishes if Alonso hadn’t ripped his tyre up when he finally got past at Turkey. There’s certainly potential there.

    Whether Grosjean deserves a drive with another team is a different matter. He certainly isn’t worse than Senna and de la Rosa who both look out of shape.

    1. Fisi failed in a Ferrari an the man was driving fine. Grosjean was handed a dog with absolutley no prep, no once could have impressed in that situation cept those rare geniuses.

      Grosjean has definate potential.

      1. Something about teaching an old dog new tricks. Fisichella was so used to the Force India setup and how he’d driven that car he wasn’t at all used to getting in a car built around KERS with a completely different weight distribution. It’s not like Grosjean had been driving a completely different car for 6 months and then suddenly had to adjust to the R29. After the setup work McLaren got down on Friday night on their simulator I’d assume Grosjean had a pretty decent handle on how the car responded. The situations are not the same at all.

        Like I said I think he probably could do well, but I was just pointing out that cars have a plateau where they can’t be pushed any further. The R29s plateau was a lot lower than the R30. Might not have had any effect but there’s more than one hypothesis available.

        1. “It’s not like Grosjean had been driving a completely different car for 6 months and then suddenly had to adjust to the R29”

          Grosjean was driving an F1 car in GP2? No wonder he was so good!

          1. He was a Renault test driver so he was having, you’d assume, regular interaction with the car. Fisichella wasn’t driving a Ferrari on his offdays while he raced for Force India.

          2. I don’t know how much time Grosjean had in the R29 before racing but I wouldn’t have thought it was very regular.

            Considering the test ban, the most he would have had would have been a day or two in pre-season testing maybe some straight line test during the season and some time in the simulator.

            A simulator will never replace being in the actual car, and of course some teams simulators will be better than others, for example after Canada De La Rosa commented that one of the biggest differences between McLaren and Sauber was that Sauber didn’t even have a simulator.

            Fisichella may not have had experience driving a Ferrari or a F1 car with KERS, but he had years of F1 experience and was currently racing in F1 when he signed for Ferrari.

  6. I think this kind of situation is another unwanted by product of banning in season testing. While in principle i agree with the idea of banning testing although there needs to be more thought around how a rookie driver can get up to speed mid season. I think a good move would be to make the Friday practice session for test drivers only. And since this will be a rookies driver only time to shine it will make Friday far more of a spectacle.

    1. Teams should be allowed to do 5 days of testing each year and can nominate only two drivers to drive the sessions and they cant be drivers who have competed in more than 2 races each season

  7. I still think he has the best helmet design out of any F1 driver in recent years, is that enough to get him back into the sport?

    Just kidding on the last part, but it is tough to see him getting back into an F1 seat with any of the established teams…perhaps the new entry would be willing to give him a shot next year.

    1. dya have a picture, you’ve made me curious.

  8. When Renault decided to fire Piquet they wanted Petrov to race for them – but he didn’t want to, as he didn’t want to join in such terrible conditions. Then they asked Grosjean, and he joined the team for the rest of the season.

    1. Petrov was right to make that decision in my opinion. He’s one of the only people I can think of to say ‘no’ to F1 or perhaps ‘not right now’

      1. Hamilton did also in 2006 when Montoya left McLaren. It worked out well for him too.

  9. two race wins with Mutsch in GT1 world championship really show what race-craft and raw pace Grosjean has.. i say give him an F1 seat back while he’s young, cos he’s showing all the oldies how it’s done in GT1

  10. I think he definitely deserves another shot, his GP2 performances speak for themselves. He has been a victim of the lack of testing, i would agree with Bertie on Friday practice session for the test drivers only

  11. Based on this data I can’t say if Grosjean deserves another shot or not. But it definetely shows that Petrov is doing a lot worse than many people think – and he is far away from being the best rookie this year, whatever renault might say. If he continues like this, he’ll be gone next year.

    About Grosjean: Yes, he had a tough time, but on the other hand you have to say that he got his chance and he didn’t take it. And second chances are really hard to get, just look how long it took Timo Glock to get back into F1 – And he was much better in 2004 than Grosjean was in 2009!

  12. It is interesting how the story unfolded differently for Grossjean and Hülkenberg. Both were offered drives after Hungarian GP, Grossjean took it and Hülkenberg refused to stand in for Massa because he was thinking he isn’t ready yet.
    I wonder if Grossjean would do the same if the similar opportunity arises. Perhaps he would do better with winter testing behind him.
    The position he was in last year was really hard.

  13. Is Auto GP what used to be Euro F3000? Nice to see Grosjean doing well, but the only driver of note I can think of who contested that series is Felipe Massa and that was in 2001, so I’m not sure its the best indicator of F1 potential talent, especially when Grosjean has already done GP2 and some F1.

    Not to say that Grosjean doesn’t deserve another chance though, he did have a few spins but unlike Piquet Jnr, his pace was promising, especially considering he had no testing. He was closer to Alonso than Petrov is to Kubica so with a proper shot with some pre-season testing, I think he could become a solid-if-not-spectacular F1 driver. Unfortunately I think its going to be extremely difficult to get back in now he has lost the Renault backing.

  14. You are spot on Keith. His previous record is great and his drives this year in AutoGP and GT1 are great. I always tought he would be the next young star. Too bad he jumped in that bad R29 in very bad circumstances.
    He could have won the GP2 championship and then started his F1 career with pre season testing and better circumstances. I do think he deserves a second shot.

  15. I agree with this, his GT1 showings were really fantastic, you could say he is single handedly the reason that Ford GT is at the head of GT1 standings.

    1. I don’t think single handedly, as you have to change driver half way through the race. But some of his performances have been pretty darn awesome. His overtaking and aggressive driving could be commented on as being a bit reminiscent of Hamilton in GP2.

      1. Single handedly – as he was usually .5/1s a lap quicker than his teammate, and the Ford usually gained places while Grosjean was driving.

  16. I don’t know … Petrov may not have met expectations, but Grosjean had the unfortuante habit of spinning around a lot.

  17. Chris Meirick
    16th July 2010, 15:03

    Grosjean’s GP2 races speak for themselves – he is one of the most exciting racers out there, and fully deserves a seat in a competitive F1 car IMO. Perhaps he should do GP2 again and reinforce his capabilities by blowing the rest away (again). He shouldn’t need to do this, but if he’s not being taken seriously..

    I’d much rather see him in F1 than the other previous GP2 apprentices.

  18. Remember that last year drivers didn’t have to complete most of the race to make a good lap time. This year you got to get almost to the end to make a good time, and Petrov just don’t get that far to often.

    1. It won’t have made any difference – all of the times the data above is based on were set in qualifying or practice. It’s very unusual for drivers to go faster in the race than they do in practice and qualifying.

      1. thanks, i was going to count everything by myself :) it looks fair like for me now.

  19. Well I don’t remember Petrov spinning for no reason nearly as many times as Grosjean did…

    He might be more deserving than quite a few current drivers, but that doesn’t mean he should be back. If a team wants him, that’s their business, but we’re not missing even the next Nick Heidfeld here, let alone a champion.

  20. Hi!

    Well, I think that a driver who definitely would deserve a seat is Franck Montagny. He’s been an excellent test driver in Renault, but unfortunately he was never given a chance in the team. Yet, once he already left, he was once called back by Renault because they did not manage to set-up the car. It was an “emergency call”, and they chartered a plane to get him back. Both of Alonso’s titles owe quite a bit to him, and apparently his pace as a Renault test drive was close to Alonso’s (maybe too close, actually, which could explain why Renault never gave him a chance).

    I would love to see him back, if possible in a car with a decent pace!

  21. At first I didn’t even realise that he was gone, but then I remember feeling a bit surprised! Cuss I really think he did a good job! And it was fun to see someone who wasn’t to casious really. That I think was a good quality. With some experience he would’ve gotten pretty good I think.

  22. Does he deserve a spot again, hmm its a tough one. I suppose we could compare his experiance to jaime alguersuari who came into Torro Rosso without a pre-season test and never competitivly driven an F1 car. Both didnt exactly set the world alight and both made some silly errors. jaime alguersuari kept his seat and credit to him, he’s faired a lot better this year and is looking more like an F1 driver then a novice newcomer, point is, there is daylight between the alguersuari of last season and the one driving now. IF Grosjean had kept the seat, he’d have a better car then last year, a preseason test and a teammate who wasnt a 2x WDC. Im not saying that he’s any better or worse then whats out there, but to cast him off because of the circumstances he had probably isnt the best way of judging him, sadly in F1 chances are few and far between to show what your made of, his came and he appears to have failed with it. In doing so he’s become just another F1 driver who made a cameo appearence and gone to drive elsewhere, F1’s history is littered with them.

  23. Well, its not earth-shaking news that for a rookie to take a spot in a terrible car, in a team in disarray, next to a preening superstar is career suicide.

    Historically, very few drivers have stood out in a lousy-to-middling car and subsequently risen through the ranks. Alonso, Webber, Vettel, Button, come to mind, and none of them were sat next to a 2X WDC when they began. And all of these drivers are in the very top tier of raw talent historically.

    Beside Hamilton, I can’t think of a rookie plonked down next to a top shelf talent or a champion and immediately became as superstar. You might also count Kubica, coming in beside Hypefeld, as one to perform this task, but he is a bona fide superstar as well. Massa showed well with Schumacher. Schumacher sparkled in the Jordan and Benneton, and thus earned his promotions, but he was not sharing the garage with superstars (ever).

    Would be superstars like Rosberg and Sutil have never set the world ablaze. You can add many names like Andretti and Zanardi to the list of dramatic fails in similar situations.

    For Grosjean to have come out the situation in a solid enough spot to beat back people like Kubica and money bags Petrov from his seat would have been an historic feat.

  24. Grosjean debuted in a bad moment when Renault was in “crashgate” controversy. So, what would be bad came to be further worst.

    His pace was good for a rookie – and Renault’s last car was slower than R30. Nevertheless, we face another question: would be Kubica faster than Alonso?

    Anyway, stats cannot be thrown away! They show Grosjean deserves another chance.

    1. Yes they can. Showing that Grosjean’s one-lap pace was OK is fairly irrelevant given that Grosjean wasn’t fired for a lack of one-lap pace.

      A far more relevant graph would be how their median laps from Saturday and Sunday compared.

  25. i’d like to see sideshow bob get another f1 drive.

  26. I definately now feel like I for one wrote Grosjean off too soon. In the same way Buemi didn’t really impress me, neither did Grosjean. However, two wins and a second place out of 3 finishes/4 races is very impressive, as his other driving before and after F1 was. He deserves a full season with a team, where he has the ability to test in advance and perhaps be in a team where his partner will not be a champion- somewhere more entry level like Torro Rosso, Force India etc. And if he failed to impress again then he would simply prove that he isn’t meant for F1 and is simply a great driver in other catergories.

  27. Grosjean did get a raw deal at Renault, and definitely deserves another shot.

    If Jacques Villeneuve get’s his team up and running, Grosjean might be a good choice.

  28. Grosjean is very worthy. Looking at his career summary, he shoild return with some team. To be honest, why didn’t he return to GP2?

  29. How is it possible to find Petrov better than Grosjean??
    Even if he’s a rookie, he’s too far than Kubica to challenge anything.
    After all the GP, Renault still apologies him with the same words but now he has until Hungary GP to show what he could do.
    Yes, he fight Hamilton very well, Lewis had to cheat to take him behind, yes he had a good fighting spirit, determination and motivation but he’s simply too slow.
    He’s challenging Toro Rosso and Sauber when Kubica’s challenging Ferrari and Mercedes, I think all has been said about him when this is said.
    After 10 GP, he has entering once in the points and still driving 1 sec too slow than Kubica and that since the start of the championship.
    I hope he will give his sit to someone else after summer holiday or at the end of the season.
    When he signed for RF1, Renault was looking for russian sponsors, that the real reason , but no russian sponsor knock at Renault’s door, and Renault is looking for a new driver. Buemi and Sutil are challenging the 2nd wheel.

  30. I would give Grosjean another shot.
    About Piquet I’m not sure. OK he had Alonso as a team mate but still he struggled massively. For what he did in Singapore, it was definitely the wrong thing to do, but pressure from senior ppl can sometimes make you take the wrong decision and without knowing all the ins and outs its difficult to judge. Having said that, I didnt think he was good enough. A driver who DOES impress me often is Kamui Kobayashi…the last few races of last year he showed some incredible guts and driving, and his not doing too bad this year either. Especially as the car is not good!

  31. StefMeister
    20th July 2010, 16:23

    I think both Grosjean & Piquet Jr would do better if given a 2nd shot at F1.

    I think Piquet had a bad deal at Renault I don’t think the Renault enviroment suited Piquet & I actually think he’d have performed better if he’d been at a team like Force India, Williams or STR where there was less pressure on him to beat a 2x WDC team mate.

    His involvement in crashgate was certainly inexcusable, however pressure can cause you to do some weird stuff, If he’d been under less pressure I doubt he’d have gone along with it.

    As to Grosjean, I said at the time he got the drive that I felt it was too early for him to make the move to F1. The pressure of his GP2 championship fight with Hulkenberg seems to be getting to him, He was making silly mistakes & getting involved in silly accidents & had turned a decent points lead early on into a 20 or so point defecit simply by making mistakes Mid-Season.

    I think renault would have been better off sticking with Piquet for the rest of 2009 as moving to Grosjean did nothing but hurt Grosjean & expose Crashgate (Which was bad from there point of view obviously).

    I think Petrov has shown speed on occasion, He’s made mistakes & hasn’t been as close to Kubica as he could be, But I see potential there if he’s able to harness the speed & cut the mistakes.

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