Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

2019 F1 driver rankings #18: Romain Grosjean

2019 F1 season review

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Romain Grosjean’s season was devoid of any notable highlights. This wasn’t entirely his fault, but he also didn’t manage to make the difference when the cards fell in his favour.

Car problems halted Grosjean on four occasions – more times than any other driver. In Melbourne, where team mate Kevin Magnussen finished ‘best of the rest’, Grosjean’s points chance disappeared when a wheel problem after his pit stop forced him to stop – just as it did in 2018.

Grosjean’s first points finish didn’t come until Spain. Here again Magnussen bagged ‘best of the rest’, this time after a muscular pass on Grosjean at the restart. But the real significance of that weekend was the appearance of an aerodynamic upgrade which sent Haas into a development cul-de-sac for the rest of the season.

While the team persevered with its new package, Grosjean remained dissatisfied with his car’s handling. His one-lap pace, usually a strength, didn’t materialise until the team let him run the old package again, by which point he was 7-2 down against Magnussen on Saturdays.

Grosjean was happier once the team reverted to its Melbourne-specification aerodynamics. He delivered his best result of the season in Germany, taking seventh place. This was aided by the Alfa Romeo penalties and came despite his third clash of the season with Magnussen, the pair having retired due to contact at Silverstone.

Hockenheim also proved Geosjean’s last top 10 finish of the season.

By the time the teams returned after the summer break it was clear Haas weren’t going to get on top of their technical problems before 2020. Gradually the team came around to Grosjean’s insistence that its Spanish Grand Prix upgrade package simply hadn’t worked, and they stuck with the Melbourne-spec VF-19 until the end of the year.

Romain Grosjean

Beat team mate in qualifying7/20
Beat team mate in race8/13
Races finished13/21
Laps spent ahead of team mate576/1025
Qualifying margin+0.08s

Grosjean’s performance went through peaks and troughs along with the car. When it performed well, he found his way into Q3 on several occasions. But this was usually a precursor to the car being unable to keep its tyres in the correct temperature window, which was usually accompanied by Grosjean declaring the car “undriveable” on the radio, and a subsequent descent out of the points place.

When the car was bad, it was particularly bad for Grosjean. Monza was a disaster; Singapore started badly, then he tangled with George Russell;in Mexico he struggled even to beat his Williams rival. In Austin he was pleased with the car in first practice, then crashed in the second session, and never clicked with the car again after that.

At Yas Marina the team experimented with another floor change and a different set-up on Friday, which Grosjean was immediately pleased with. Then Bottas crashed into him, wrecking the only example of the new floor the team had. He rounded off a season to forget with a lowly 15th place.

The team’s various problems made it hard to assess how much better Grosjean should have done. Even so, it’s hard to imagine his VF-19 was good for no more than just three points finishes all season, two of which were for 10th place.

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What’s your verdict on Romain Grosjean’s 2019 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

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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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30 comments on “2019 F1 driver rankings #18: Romain Grosjean”

  1. fair. I agree

  2. Everyone keeps blaming the car, but I don’t buy it. I don’t buy that over a 21-race season, neither driver could find a “baseline” setup that at least just about worked for them.

    I fully get that cars behave differently on different tracks, but I also fully believe that 2 drivers with “peaky” performance ability is not helping HAAS get on top of it’s engineering issues also.

    They need someone like Checo or Sainz, a driver with a reputable level of consistency.

    1. Sainz has only had good consistency this year though. The previous two years, his consistency was all over the place and he made far more mistakes. I’m not sure how good Sainz would be in a car this bad.

    2. @joeypropane They did have a baseline setup that “somehow” works. However that only makes get them good qualifying positions. For a car that really have terrible race results (only able to consistently ahead of Williams), both Haas reached Q3 very often. The problem is just the car eats away the tires.

    3. Or a Hulk… sigh

  3. I’m not that against the position for Grosjean, but I just disagree that he is placed behind Magnussen. Grosjean’s drive isn’t even mentioned in Brazil which I personally think shows the positive sides of his seasons are not really being mentioned. That was his drive of the season. Was running up in the points the whole time until he pitted (as high as 6th at one point) Then once he had come back out, climbed back up into 7th. Then there was all the chaos at the end. At the restart, he was ahead of Sainz. I think Sainz was a bit unreasonable the way he pushed Grosjean off track and got by (it could have gone badly wrong) , but it didn’t get investigated so fair enough. Grosjean then had an MGU-k failure. If he didn’t, he likely will have managed to hold this position like he managed to hold good positions earlier on. With Vettel and Leclerc going out and Albon getting damaged as well as Hamilton getting a penalty, Grosjean was set for 4th. This will have tied him in the championship with Magnussen. If you factor in that Grosjean has still had 7 retirements vs 3 for Magnussen, this is not bad at all.

    If you Give Grosjean some points that he certainly will have missed in Australia and maybe a few other races where he retired, there is no doubt he will have beaten Magnussen.

    But even with his bad luck, he has spent more laps ahead of magnussen, most races been a fair bit quicker, and when he does beat Magnussen, it is usually by bigger margins than the other way round. Grosjean’s races where he couldn’t beat a Williams are being mentioned as a negative. Well magnussen was in this situation in Canada, a minute behind Grosjean.

    I think I would rate Giovinazzi and Gasly behind these two. My Bottom 6 would be like this I think.


    Qualifying and taking opportunities when they come (like spain) is about the only areas where Magnussen has been better IMO. Grosjean has been getting his starts and qualifying pointed out as a negative. That is not what matters. Statistically, he has been ahead of Magnussen more often than not, and without his bad luck, pretty much certainly will have beaten him in the championship.

    I think the bad luck had maybe heavily effected the decision to vote Grosjean behind.

    1. @thegianthogweed well argued, in depth argument in defense of Grosjean, which made me understand why I felt uncomfortable, though not quite in disagreement with his ranking here.

      I also think that we have to credit him (and maybe Magnussen as well, though he wasn’t as outwardly outspoken about it) a bit more with getting the team finally out of their self-inflicted development cul-de-sac.

      Ultimately, I think that if Grosjean had not already had such a bad 2018 season, the team would have listened with more alarm and attention to him about the car, and he would not be judged so harshly for the current season. Still, partly his fault, but also partly a disappointment that wasn’t able to take that into account.

      1. @bosyber
        Yea I think his rating is sort of influenced by last year and his reputation in a way. As he has missed a third of this season’s races and only been partly at fault for one of them. Even in a couple of other races he finished in, he had bad luck again. He only really had 10 more representative races, but in several of them, it was magnussen who retired, making them harder to compare yet again.

        Given how hard it is to judge both of these drivers, I don’t think they should be separated by this many positions. Will be at least 3 at this stage so far.

  4. Hmmm… Would have to agree with this assessment. Giovinazzi was probably poorer that Grosjean for the first half of the season, but he got consistently better in the 2nd half. Grosjean was in poor form throughout the season. If I had to rank 20 to 15, it would probably be like –

    #20 Kubica
    #19 Stroll
    #18 Grosjean
    #17 Giovinazzi
    #16 Magnussen
    #15 Kvyat

    1. Well, I would have possibly rated Kimi as high as 6th mid season, but he seemed to be very underwhelming in the 2nd half of the season. I personally think Giovinazzi got no better throughout it.

      He got 14 points, only 5 more than Ericsson last season. I think the car was a massive improvement over last year. If it wasn’t, then I think we maybe can say Kimi is on Leclerc’s level as he got more points this year than leclerc did last year.

      I think Giovinazzi with just 14 points vs 9 for Ericsson last year with a much better car is very poor given how badly Ericsson was rated. This is why I would rate him below the two Hass drivers.

  5. How did Hulkenberg not get one of these seats?

  6. Unfair! This is very very unfair!

    Grosjean is the only driver on the grid, and probably in the whole of motorsports with a triple crown

    crashed behind the safety car
    crashed on his way to the grid
    crashed on the pitlane

    let that one sink in and then you can change the rankings

    1. 2 of these were not this year so your comment is pretty pointless for this years rankings….

      1. triple crowns don’t need to achieved during a calendar year!

        do you have any idea of the humongous taks that would be? give the guy some slack

        1. But this is ratings based on this years performance…

          1. @thegianthogweed but I’m saying that he should be higher on the list!

    2. How dare you @johnmilk! You’ve clearly forgotten about the talent of David Coultard. And he achieved it all with a much better car ;)

      1. you are absolutly right @yossarian how did that happen?

        such an achivement, and I completly overlooked it

        my deepest apologies

      2. When was the crash behind the SC for DC?

  7. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    13th December 2019, 11:48

    I feel like had Grosjean not been the one who figured out first that the upgrades didn’t work, he’d have been out of a seat for next year. He’s had a poor season, and it’s not his first, but his feel for car development seems quite good.

  8. I simply cannot understand why HAAS have retained Grosjean again. Pitiful driver. Honestly, if I was Gene, I’d rather have no other driver. At least my other driver would then be left in peace. I rooted for Grosjean for a long time but this guy’s performances over the last decade have, on average, been dismal.

  9. Grosjean lacks consistency and he made some very high profile mistakes that strongly tarnished his reputation. Still, he can be a very fast driver. And frankly, this year, most of the issues and inconsistencies were due to the car. Can help but to think that Grosjean in say the Renault or the MacLaren would also have been much much higher in this ranking.

  10. One important thing which is not mentioned is that he said right away, in Barcelona, that the package was not good. Haas was just looking at the data and they couldn’t find a problem. They only started to understand he was right at Silverstone, when he used the Melbourne package. That’s why he kept his seat, he is very good to help engineers to develop the car.

  11. Not only is Grosjean poor, but his constant moaning demoralises team spirit, leading to yet more issues long term. Awful appointment for next season, but then what do I know. Not much probably.

    1. Your comment doen’t relly make too muck sense…Prost moaned like mad about the Ferrari he had to drive during 1991 as it was useless. No one accused him of demoraling the team or causing long term negative issues. Can you imagine Michael Schumcher or Ayrton Senna keeping quiet? You just had to speak up….you can’t pretend the car is okay when it is not. I feel at times he has been proactive going back to car specs that have worked reasonably well as opposed to working with upgrades that don’t work.

  12. Neither fast or reliable and never has been. Waste of a seat when you look at who they could have signed.

  13. He makes me cringe every time he is on camera. This is the best driver Haas can come up with?
    So sad.

  14. Cristiano Ferreira
    15th December 2019, 2:37

    To be fair i like Grosjean but i have to agree that he lacks some consistency, either to car’s fault or his, but i’d rather keep him at Haas than Magnussen. They should have gone with Grosjean and Hulkenberg, instead of keeping Magnussen.

    Maybe Hulkenberg can return to F1 driving for Haas.

    1. I feel Grosjean has done a reasonable job considering the cars inconsistencies. He quite often got into good positions at the begining of races however once a pit stop was taken he would fall down the order. This shows either poor stratergies or more than likely the car would become difficult to drive therefore would be unable to move back up the order. It was the same for Magnussen, however, he had much more luck with reliability at the start of the season hence the better points tally. My mate says the car is just like the Prost of 2000….hopeless even with the great Jean Alesi. I think Haas has made the right decision to keep both driver but an option that would be good too would have been to replace Magnussen with Ocon rather than Hulkenberg. I hope the 2020 car will be much better particularly during the race.

  15. I don’t understand all this hate towards Magnussen. It is often said that Grosjean is perhaps the fastest in the field on a single lap, but Magnussen beat him fair and square in qualifying throughout the season, and has brought the car to the race finish much more consistently than Grosjean.
    I’m glad to see that they decided to keep both drivers for next year. They need comparable data to move onwards, and that would have been compromised with a driver change.

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