Romain Grosjean, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2009

Grosjean ‘would have stayed if Renault had come earlier’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Romain Grosjean says he wouldn’t have moved to Haas had Renault moved more quickly to take over the Lotus team.

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Manor have been through some tough times so it seemed many of you were pleased to see them land Mercedes engines for next year:

Really happy for Manor! This is my favourite team together with Williams as it embodies the true spirit of F1. With 2016 Mercedes engines and Williams gearboxes they will be giving the lower midfield a hard time with a small budget.

And if, as rumoured, Werhlein as driver is part of the deal, then we’ll have the pleasure to watch an exciting new young driver who has a really aggressive driving style and good overtaking ability
@Montreal95

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On this day in F1

Just like this year, practice for the 2009 Japanese Grand Prix was held in soaking wet conditions:

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Keith Collantine
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  • 79 comments on “Grosjean ‘would have stayed if Renault had come earlier’”

    1. Someone must have sunk a good $1000-$2000 on that Pacific GP website over the years, without even being aware of it. Just some mysterious, annual, automatic payments on their card. :)

      1. @Brace I love that it’s older than Max Verstappen!

        1. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
          2nd October 2015, 8:51

          @keithcollantine. I love that it’s ‘optimized for Netscape 1.1’.
          None of Verstappen’s classmates have probably heard about that!

          1. @coldfly So maybe being optimised for Netscape 1.1 means better forward compatibility with FF than other browsers? :)

      2. @brace

        This is brillant. Looking at the design makes you feel like a time traveller.

        But I not sure whether this was really expensive. I actually have a personal website (albeit without domain name) from 2001 that is still online without any changes since 2002. No payments either. The webspace was included in my per-minute-dial-up modem internet plan in the UK.

        The domain would have cost quite a bit, but maybe at that time you could get a domain name for a one-time payment?

      3. I think this actually fake (bizarrely). You can see here: http://whois.domaintools.com/pacificgrandprix.com that the domain wasn’t registered until 2006 (IE, it expired and was re-registered).

        The original (IE pre 2006) Pacific Grand Prix website can be seen here: https://web.archive.org/web/20030728004002/http://www.pacificgrandprix.com/ and it appears to be something to do with a racing series that was set up by Alan Jones.

    2. That’s brilliant, call modern F1 drivers dull then compare them to the charisma vacuum that is Nigel Mansell.

      Sad to hear about Alguersuari, he can be proud of his performance against Buemi.

      1. You are right when you say he can be proud of his performance against Buemi. I can’t understand how people actually thought Jaime was better than Sebastian, well it doesn’t matter I think neither was really that tailored to F1. STR had great cars in 09 and 10 but Buemi and Alguersuari never really shone. Anyway Jaime is a rich guy he can afford anything, maybe that’s what hampers some of the young talent, it happens in other sports maybe it’s happening right now in present day motor racing, just look at Romain, not nearly ambitious enough, comes from a very wealthy family. Lewis never satisfied, comes from a middle class family.

      2. Hunter Shamrock
        2nd October 2015, 4:20

        This sport is boring as smaller teams don’t even have a fighting chance. Unfair and unjust.

        1. Unlike the olden days of course.

          1. Brabham, Cooper & Tyrrell were all small teams that were able to beat the big teams. To a lesser extent Lotus, BRM & McLaren did the same.
            Even in the nineties we had Jordan fighting with the big teams, even if they never won a championship.
            So yes, it’s very different to the old days.

            1. @beneboy, how exactly are you defining what a “small” team was in that era? Similarly, how are you defining what a “big” team was?

              For example, in its first few years Tyrrell had the backing of the automotive manufacturer Matra, who also designed and built the cars for Tyrrell. In addition to that deal with Matra, Tyrrell also had a fairly sizeable sponsorship deal with Elf, so Tyrrell was actually a fairly rich team by the standards of the late 1960’s.

              Equally, there were times when Jordan wasn’t necessarily that far behind its rivals in terms of spending prowess. I recall that Eddie Jordan once talked about the budget he had in the late 1990’s where, courtesy of the Mugen-Honda deal, he had around $60 million at his disposal – he also reckoned that Ferrari and McLaren were spending around $90-100 million at that time, which was why he was in a position where he could mix it with those teams. It was in the following years, where the budgets of Ferrari and McLaren swelled to around $300 million and Jordan’s only crept up to around $100 million, where he began to progressively fall back.

        2. Equality for all comrade.

      3. Yep, Kevin bloody Eason belongs in the same bin as Benson, Sylt and that Telegraph writer: “Button will retire! First! with the news! I am the news!”. Why does he carry on stinking up the Times if he hates F1 so much?

        1. Yep, agreed. Eason is dreadful.

      4. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
        2nd October 2015, 8:54

        Mansell probably prefers to be stuck in an elevator an talk about hair dying and dog spa’s!

      5. That snob Kevin Eason! I wouldn’t like to be alone with him in an elevator for 1 FLOOR!!!

    3. So dissapointing to hear Alguersuari is retiring from motorsport :( He was rushed into F1 and with later date for entering the sport and given more time he would’ve been a world champion. I still think he is greater talent than Grosjean or Hülkenberg for example.

      1. Indeed. Also, Jaime was -as far as I can remember- the only driver with enough cojones to confront Helmut Marko in front of the press. That argument at the box was epic.
        Good luck with your music, Jaime!

      2. Think you’re overstating how good he was just a tad. He was a mediocre qualifier and a decent racer.

      3. I think Alguersuari’s main problem was that he was not in the right place at the right time. If Vettel or Webber had left Red Bull earlier, he or Buemi would undoubtedly have got the promotion and anything could have happened after that.

        He is also different from the average F1 driver nowadays. I rememeber how funny his first tweets were (CAPS LOCK!) and the obsession with “SQUIRE music” is another interesting part of his personality. One day he announced on Twitter that “I am not Jaime Alguersuari anymore :(” as he had changed his Twitter name to SQUIRE. Later RBR obviously told him to separate his hobby from the driving…

        F1 has a lot of other young talents and if music makes him happy, then he should make music. Good luck!

        1. Not getting the Red Bull seat didn’t turn out so bad for Buemi.

      4. @huhhii I bet there’s more to it than what he had to say yesterday. Although he’s said the decision isn’t related to his health, he’d already ruled himself out of the forthcoming Formula E season on health grounds, so you have to wonder if that wasn’t a factor in this.

        That said, it was clear from some of his terse comments after being dropped by Toro Rosso that his Formula One experience had left him feeling rather bitter.

        1. GP drivers are subject to random drug tests. People working in the music business are not…

      5. When will he feature Lewis Hamilton inone of his songs?

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          2nd October 2015, 8:24

          And Jacques Villeneuve

          1. Damon Hill? Champions mash up!

    4. Grosjean:

      Not because I’m thinking about Ferrari in one, two or three years, but it does bring me closer for sure. They’ll look at what we do. The better job I do there the better chance I have of getting a seat with Ferrari one day.

      So basically, I’m not thinking about Ferrari, but shush don’t tell anyone, I am.

      1. @strontium Yes, the PR language of F1 drivers sometimes gets funny, doesn’t it?

        I am not sure if Grosjean would have joined Haas without that Ferrari link. For sure, Haas might surprise everyone but the team first needs to prove that it can at least score points in F1 as it is not a given. I do not think that Grosjean is ready to become another Glock/Kovalainen/Trulli just because the future of Lotus/Renault was/is unclear.

        1. @girts To be honest, whatever his reasons, I think it’s a wise move to jump ship from Enstone at the moment. While there may be a letter of intent from Renault, it seems that deal is far from done. Crucially it appears to hinge on whether or not they will be included in the CCB group and the Strategy group with additional payments from FOM. Even if Ecclestone may be willing in principle to approve this, while there is currently a pending EU investigation into this, it seems unlikely that this would be approved at this stage, or that Renault would be happy with a simple promise of membership in the event that the investigation finds no evidence of wrongdoing.

          What I’m getting at is that, at the moment, it seems fairly unlikely that Renault will be buying out Lotus any time soon. Certainly not within the 10 week (now 9) window which was given to Lotus to secure funds to pay off their mounting debts.

          I appreciate it’s a pretty pessimistic view, but in my opinion this deal is likely to fall through and for Grosjean, there’s more of a secure future in driving for Haas than there is driving for Renault.

          It wouldn’t surprise me if we faced the prospect of Lotus, Red Bull Racing, and Torro Rosso all being absent from F1 come the start of next season. Which is a bit of a disaster.

          1. And how good will Renault be next year with that engine of theirs? Combined with a so so chassis. They barely got one podium this year, they will be even farther removed from the top steps next year. I’d say, better Haas then Renault.

          2. @mazdachris I will be quite surprised if the deal ultimately does not happen as I think Renault have gone too far to back out of it. They would leave F1 by effectively killing an F1 team and after being unable to produce decent power units for two years in a row. I do not believe Renault want that kind of publicity and Ecclestone also would probably not want to lose another team so unless something unexpected happens Renault F1 will be on the grid next year.

            Of course, there could be delays and it is also unlikely that they will be competitive as soon as next year. I believe that the whole project did not convince Grosjean so he decided to try his luck elsewhere but the “Ferrari factor” was probably decisive.

    5. It’s sad to hear about Alguersuari. He was one of my favourite racing drivers from the moment he started. I always regarded him highly, and thought that he deserved a front-running seat in F1 with some of his solid performances.

      His decision not to race at all in 2012 may have been a mistake for his career, who knows? but I do feel that he should have never been dropped by Toro Rosso and Helmut Marko in the disgusting manner in which he was.

      I was looking forward to seeing him race in London a few months ago, and obviously that never happened, so I’ll make sure I snap up one a ticket to one of his live performances!

      1. @strontium While I agree he was fired in a rude manner, what else would he have expected? Ricciardeo really proved to be winning material.

        1. To be fired in a polite manner perhaps?

          And yes, Ricciardo did prove to be winning material, but Alguersuari may well have done were he in the right place at the right time.

      2. What have happened between him and Marko? I wasn’t following F1 all that closely yet then.

        Also, it’s nice to see he a recent ex-driver that isn’t bitter and sour when asked about F1 by the media, sometimes it seems like they’re the only ones that we hear.

        1. *nice to see a recent

        2. @artanonim

          There was a rumour that Marko was eager to get Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso seat at some point during the 2011 season in place of Alguersuari which obviously put them on tense terms. Eventually it boiled over during a practise session in Korea where Alguersuari didn’t get out of Vettels way quickly enough (though both were on hot laps) so Marko went to the STR garage to have a go at him. Alguersuari stood his ground and said he wasn’t just going to ruin his own lap regardless who was behind him which basically sealed his fate.

          1. @davef1

            re the Korea story: it sounds like his fate was already sealed. Why not tell Marko to shove off? It’s like Massa at the end of 2013, why act the number 2 role when you’ve been let go?

          2. @davef1 I wonder why they didn’t simply just swap them then, Alguersuari would have driven for HRT in an all-Spanish link up, while Ricciardo would have gotten a comparison with Buemi as well as Liuzzi. Maybe Alguersuari would have then continued on into 2012 instead of de la Rosa?

        3. @artanonim there’s more, Marko had already guaranteed him a race seat for 2012, all they had to do was sign the deal, therefore Alguersuari didn’t look elsewhere. He was then dumped.

          1. @davef1 @strontium I had no clue about those tensions between Jaime and Marko, interesting stuff! :)

    6. @keithcollantine being 20 years old, that website will no doubt crash no you’ve posted about it! Might not be going any more ;)

      1. @strontium don’t be so sure, it has been optimized for Netscape 1.1!!! =)

        joking aside, I’m quite impressed that somebody keeps renewing that domain subscription… =P

    7. If that is the Lotus 76 Grosjean is sitting in (if its the 72E, scratch everything I said), I wonder if anyone told him that that particular Lotus was a failure, because of its experimental systems (including an electronically controlled clutch, no less) and its generally experimental design (well, just about every Lotus F1 car before it was an experimental design then) which included engine installation (which of course led to weight distribution problems and mechanical unreliability) and cooling problems. So the only option Colin Chapman had was to bring the 5-year old Lotus 72 back into service.

      1. The Champion logo used to appear with the driver’s name on the 72, whereas the 76 carried a flag of GB above driver’s name. So I ‘ve got a strong belief that it’s a 72.

        1. If you look at the shape of the sidepods around the cockpit, it also looks much more like the 72E than the 76.

    8. Wow, look at how simple that front wing is on that Renault! Unfortunately, that simplicity was part of the calculations that set the direction of F1 which have resulted in an inability for cars to follow each other today. While you couldn’t have anticipated how complex front wings would become, I hope the decisions makers are smart enough to limit their complexity in the 2017 regs. F1 cars must be able to follow each other closely without losing their performance!

      1. 09 was the only year in the past 14 seasons that we had great wheel-to-wheel action. For a change, it was a lopsided start of a regulation with new faces up top, fans didn’t like it F1 acted upon it and ruined F1 until 2017. I hope greed hasn’t found it’s way on the strategy group but then I saw Symonds was part of that group. I bet they are going to give us massive complex wings that put massive focus on aero performance, hence destroying wheel-to-wheel racing, the only decent thing Symonds said, is that there will be more mechanical grip, but there also be more aero.

      2. Those front wings were the right way to go the problems only started cos the FIA started messing about with the rules and gradually made it over complicated and now they can’t follow behind other cars. All because mark webber crashed into the back of a Caterham

    9. @keithcollantine the space jam website is still active too, some 20 years later as well…

    10. Can you imagine Grosjean not moving to Haas? This would have been by a country mile the most dull silly season ever. If Wehrlein doesn’t come in next year we might even see no rookie (Rossi at Manor, GUT at Haas).

    11. if they want to talk about economics, you’ve got to know about economics.

      I think Sainz meant “You’ve got to pretend to know about economics.” :)

      I believe it is not something that concerns only F1 drivers though. For instance, people also try to remember what they know about F1 when I tell them that I am a big fan (usually they do not know much so we move on to another topic very soon). I also try to remember what I know about something if people start talking about that something at a party or a dinner.

      I doubt if F1 drivers take lessons in economics before meeting sponsors but they are probably taught how to speak about any topic! However, I totally agree with Sainz that good education is never a waste of time.

      1. @girts

        I think Sainz meant “You’ve got to pretend to know about economics.” :)

        Right, and people able to do this convincingly are called economists. ;)

    12. I rate Romain’s driving skill as being one of the best. I’m sure in a competitive car he can challenge anyone on the grid. However, as Steve Jobs once said: “We never did things having in mind earning more bucks, we always did it from the heart.” That’s how they became one of the most successful IT companies. I know what attracts the people most, but I prefer to do things from the heart. Good luck Romain, I might be wrong this time, you never know…

    13. Japan onboards for everyone!
      Link

      1. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
        2nd October 2015, 9:02

        Thanks!
        Clearly Hamilton had a camera! Thus we could’ve seen some nice onboard images if not for Bernie’s black out!

      2. Nice to see Rosberg having some wheelspin and then handling the turn like Maldonado. “Loss of Power” sure sure.

    14. http://www.motorsport.com/wec/news/porsche-to-hold-out-for-hulkenberg-despite-f1-le-mans-clash/

      That’s some bad news, I hope the F1 schedule changes to give Hulk a change to defend his Le Mans win. I understand though Bernie’s concern that keeping Le Mans weekend open, may result in more F1 drivers trying it and ultimately bring more exposure to WEC.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        2nd October 2015, 12:11

        Its not like Nico is going to be challenging for the title. I really hope mallya lets him ditch Baku and defend the LM crown. That would be a real slap in Bernie’s face.

        1. And why would Mallya do that?

    15. Is that a Mu-Mu? :-)

    16. I feel the need to apologise for subjecting you all once again to the aesthetic horror of garish colour and truck-like aerodynamics that was the Renault R29.

      1. @keithcollantine You will need to make it up to us by posting a new Grand Prix Flashback article about the days when we were young and the cars were gorgeous… Speaking of which, I am not sure if I would call the ‘viking horns’ that helped Raikkonen win the 2005 Japanese GP “gorgeous” ;)

      2. Am I the only one who likes the R29? I believe that the R29 along with BMW F1.09 were the best looking cars of that season (in comparison with the RBRs and Toyotas with the narrow noses). Imo, they were more beautiful than the 2008 cars and the 2012 cars with stepped noses.

        1. Beauty is very subjective and your tastes are the comlete opposite of mine, I thought the 2 cars you mentioned were about the worst looking that year. Then again when you see any F1 car in a museum that you never liked the look of in the past they are amazing, I was facinated by the walrus nose Williams at Donnington F1 collection even though years ago I thought it was the worst looking thing on 4 wheels ever.

        2. Well, I kinda like it. It’s not a beautie, but looks ok to me. BMW too. They also were my favourite looking cars in 2009. And of course they are much prettier than anything (except Force India) of this year.

          1. My God it must just be me then I like the Ferrari, McLaren, Merc, Lotus…in fact most of this years cars but then again my dress sense is really bad so I know nothing.

        3. @leongtv6 The BGP001 looked gorgeous and the RB5B dropped the narrow nose so I personally think those looked quite a bit better.

    17. I want the drivers to enjoy their work as much as the next F1 fan, but for the purposes of the show the sensations Button is talking about in that article don’t matter. If he is saying “this is going to be great, the cars will generate massive downforce and its going to be a case of just leaning on the car through the corners again, it is going to be 2004 all over again” then frankly I am terrified. Remember the 2004 season? God knows how many wins for Ferrari, title wrapped up months before the end of the year, no on track passing, Trulli trains… It was beyond poor.

      The cars may not be as satisfying to drive but they are good to watch because they don’t have heaps of downforce and they wag their tails on power. The 2004 cars were on rails, they never so much as got out of shape on power. I’ll reserve judgement until after the first 5 races of 2017.

      1. @geemac The cars in 2004 also had TC. And lots of unrestricted dirty aero. Faster cars doesn’t necessarily means they’re on rails and no passing. It all depends on how the speed is achieved. If it’s via the return of more dirty aero then you’re correct, it’s an awful, awful idea. But if it’s via the floor and the increased mechanical grip from the bigger tires then I see no problem

        1. Under the proposals for 2017 that have been announced so far, while there are restrictions on aero, there will still be a huge amount of “dirty” downforce (i.e. not being produced by the floor ground effect style) so there is still a risk that the cars won’t be able to pass. There will be more mechanical grip, but aero will still be king. The teams can’t unlearn what they have been using these last few years and they will try keep some of the gains they have made, even if it isn’t what the rules intended.

      2. But 04 was still the MS/Ferrari era, the rules shaped by Ferrari, intended for MS to win race after race via the undercut with nary a pass needed.

        Now there is no skewing toward one driver on the grid, there’s no unlimited testing, and we still have to see what the tires will be made of in spite of their shape, ie still very degrady or what.

    18. Regarding romain.

      Totally called it ;)

    19. I feared Alguersuari’s announcement would come eventually. He was trust into the thick of it too soon without being ready for it especially mentally. Not everyone matures at the same rate. For every MV and SV there are a thousand who aren’t ready to jump into F1 at the age of 19, mid-season at that

      I believe that his ultimate potential was higher than Buemi’s but it didn’t really show in the results especially in qualifying. What a waste…

      No one talks about it but I believe this was also the reason why Raikkonen failed to achieve his ultimate potential. He jumped straight to F1 after only 23 races at FR 2.0 missing F3 where young drivers learn so much about setups, and how to deal with different car behaviors or make the cars really behave how they like. That’s why, in my opinion, KR has such a narrow window of car operation whereby he can extract maximum potential from it. Lack of junior formulae experience(especially F3) equals lack of adaptability

      1. Just to clarify, I know JAlg was an F3 champion. His problem was, I believe, that he wasn’t ready mentally. So the similarity between him and KR was that they both weren’t ready, albeit in different ways

    20. This is a very strange statement.

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