Romain Grosjean, Haas, Imola, 2020

Grosjean: ’86-’87 generation were overlooked by top F1 teams

2020 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean says he was part of a generation of drivers who were overlooked for places at top Formula 1 teams.

The Haas driver confirmed last month he will not remain with the team for the 2021 F1 season. Grosjean told the In The Pink podcast does not expect to find a drive with another team.

“I think next year definitely I won’t be racing in Formula 1,” he said. “Never say never but it looks like the grid is a full and there isn’t any seat. Does that mean that in the future there won’t be any seats opening? I don’t know. But for now I know that most likely or 99.9% I won’t be racing in Formula 1 next year.”

Following a short-lived debut with Renault in 2009, Grosjean returned as their full-time driver three years later. However the team, later renamed Lotus, ran into financial trouble. While his team mate Kimi Raikkonen moved to Ferrari, Grosjean moved to the new Haas outfit in 2016.

Grosjean made his F1 debut in 2009
“Maybe the only regret that I have is that Lotus went bankrupt in 2014,” said Grosjean. “After a brilliant 2013 we were on the path of going somewhere well, and I didn’t get an offer from a top team at that time. Kimi went to Ferrari and I stayed at Lotus and we just went down. It’s very hard to recover when you’ve been in a team that is close to the back of the field.

“Then I took the Haas challenge, which was a great experience as well. But sadly the last two years we didn’t quite get up to speed or engage second after a great start. I guess that’s the only regret.”

Grosjean acknowledged there were also areas where he could have improved. “Yes, I have made mistakes,” he said. “I have spoken too much sometimes, but I always say what I what I feel. I admit when I’m wrong after. But I know I could have won some races.

“There’s no regret in not winning a race because I know every time I had a chance I tried as much as I could and I did everything I could. I would say maybe the only regret is that after 2013 I didn’t really get a chance to have a car that was competitive and carry the momentum.”

Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
2021 F1 drivers and teams
Grosjean believes he is one of a number of drivers who missed the chance to join top teams because of the time they arrived in the sport.

“If I think about it, maybe the ’86/’87 generation was the wrong one to be in. Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, myself, even Sebastien Buemi a little bit. We all came at a time when the top seats were taken, the old guys wouldn’t leave Formula 1 yet and the young ones just came after and we kind of never really got our chance. It’s just the way it is, there’s not much you can control about that.

“Being 10 years in Formula 1 has been incredible and I think I’ve achieved what I wanted to. Obviously, you always want to be world champion, but you discover that with without the right tool, there’s no chance.

“Hopefully that will change in the future because I think it would bring Formula 1 in a much better place if it wasn’t just dominated by a team – which is doing an incredible job, absolutely beautiful – but also a bit sad for the racing part where they are just too strong for the others.”

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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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  • 75 comments on “Grosjean: ’86-’87 generation were overlooked by top F1 teams”

    1. Can someone explain to me why Grosjean was ever in F1? It looks like he didnt belong there at all and once he got there managed to overstay. Was it money? Sponsors backing him? Cant remember any achievement, just stupid accidents and many of them too. I’ve heard people stating that he provides good feedback to the team and him being a team player. All nice, but his cars never became competitive despite his teamplay. I really dont get it why he ever got a seat. My bet is money/network.

      1. I actually somewhat rate Grosjean, although I feel now is the time for him to go. 2012 (“first lap nutcase” aside) and 2013 were actually generally very strong seasons for him. Particularly the back end of 2013, he looked like the only driver able to challenge Vettel.

        F1 has a short memory and how drivers are rated changes with the times and different challenges.

        Grosjean has made for too many silly mistakes for someone so experienced and his claims that his strength is in developing a car are difficult to justify when the car is languishing at the back of the grid, despite the engine being most of the problem.

        Through 2013-2017 I would have signed him to my midfield team if I had one… from then on, I imagine loyalty played a large factor in his being retained.

        1. @ben-n +1. I’ll add that the first lap incidents hurt his momentum seriously, and it could have been different but for luck / bad luck IMO. First race back in F1 2012, he was a bit too timid and that hurt him bad with a DNF. Then next race he overdoes it, causing an incident, and then it just snowballed from there. The race ban I honestly thought was too much, but the whole thing cut him too deeply IMO and he never really recovered. Never sure how much to attack or hold back, and the the frustration of it all was vented on the team and then that became who he was as a driver.

      2. He’s a paid drive, on a 7 mil/year deal. He’s certainly got a mistake or two in him but he’s also been incredibly fast on an inconsistent basis, and is s very positive guy for the most part. Don’t forget he got a podium with the crude, underdeveloped 2015 Lotus at Spa while the bailiffs were there to wind the team up, a near-forgotten miracle nowadays, as well as being fairly comparable to Kimi in 2012-13. Definitely had potential to be much better than he ended up being but that said his career is probably the envy of 90%+ of all guys who’ve raced in single seaters.

        1. “being fairly comparable to Kimi in 2012-13”

          ???

          2012 : Raikkonen 207-96 Grosjean
          2013 : Raikkonen 183-114 Grosjean

          390-210…

          1. Arwen, Kimi had contractual No.1 status at the team for most of his tenure at the team, to the point where they developed bespoke parts for Kimi’s exclusive use (such as the long wheelbase chassis that Lotus developed just for him). The team also had a policy of prioritising upgrades for Kimi and for also focussing more of their mechanics and pit wall crews onto Kimi’s side of the garage.

            In the latter part of 2013, the team stopped giving Kimi that preferential treatment as the relationship between them and Kimi broke down. When Grosjean started getting more equal treatment to Kimi, Grosjean’s performance relative to Kimi improved quite sharply – hence the string of podium finishes in the latter part of the 2013 season for Grosjean.

            1. Raikkonen number 1? In 2012 ? Raikkonen returns to F1 after two years of absence. Lotus has no idea of ​​his level (especially after the failed return of Schumacher), in the first part of the 2012 season, Grosjean is a little faster than Kimi in qualifying but Kimi mostly finishes ahead of him, because faster, more regular , smoother on the tires, Raikkonen gains strength during the season ( Hungary / Germany, he will be really very fast), and the more Grosjean will have the pressure and make mistakes. In the end, Raikkonen scores 207 points when Grosjean does not exceed 100 points, and it is certainly not a story of “number 1 and 2” (especially since Kimi is the most apolitical driver in F1, even at Mclaren he never had the number 1 statue).

              I am French (and sorry for my English), but in early 2013 Grosjean declares in the French media – arrogantly – that Kimi is “lucky”, that 2013 will be different. In the end, Raikkonen totally destroyed Grosjean over the first 10 races, 8-2 in qualifying and more than 90 points of difference. Lotus did not have the financial means to put parts on the cars cars, so logically Raikkonen will have the parts first (as in Malaysia, ironically Grosjean will be faster in the race) but certainly not to make preferences, especially that Boullier was Grosjean’s manager.

              Grosjean was seen as a number 2 because he had the level of a number 2, and he will prove it later at Haas, being not even able to beat Kevin Magnussen.

              At the end of 2013, Raikkonen does not lack performance because Lotus gives him the same statue as Grosjean in the team, but especially because Raikkonen comes into internal conflict with Lopez, that the atmosphere has become bad between them.

            2. Arwen, the team publicly stated that Kimi was going to be their lead driver before he signed for them in 2012 – it was a precondition of Kimi’s contract with Lotus that he would be given that lead driver status. Kimi might not have had that status at McLaren, but that is because McLaren traditionally hasn’t given a driver No.1 status within their team.

              Lotus were prepared at the time to take a gamble on paying for the prestige of having a former WDC winner driving for them, with the hope that it would help draw in sponsorship and would pay off in terms of success in the World Constructors Championship – which meant they were prepared to do quite a bit to sweeten the terms of the deal for him. That was why, when the relationship did start getting more difficult, Boullier made some rather pointed public comments about how “We built everything around Kimi.” (to quote Boullier directly).

              Furthermore, it is worth remembering that Kimi is a decade younger than Schumacher – so, whilst Kimi had been out of the sport for a few years, he’d been away from the sport for less time than Schumacher and was in better physical condition (given Schumacher’s motorcycling injuries, as well as the age disadvantage he had).

              In 2013, the team also gave public statements confirming that Kimi would be given priority for upgrade packages. At the opening race in Australia, James Allison explicitly confirmed that only Kimi had the latest aerodynamic upgrade package – Grosjean was given the old aero package they’d used in the pre-season tests – and that the team were effectively putting Grosjean at a disadvantage to Kimi because of that.

      3. I don’t believe he was a cash cow, I mean it doesn’t take much looking at his resume to see why he deserved a seat. He was experienced, fast and cheap. A known quantity, which is probably something both Lotus and HAAS desperately needed. As opposed to a less experienced unknown quantity which wouldn’t be able to help them with development or be a decent benchmark for the car.

      4. Look at the 2013 season and you have your answer. He was the only driver to challenge Vettel’s dominance in the latter part of the season.

      5. Pardon me, but may I ask when did you start watching F1?

      6. It might be worth pointing out at this stage that Grosjean does have 10 career podiums to his name. That’s 10 more than Hulkenberg and one more than Perez.

        1. Thanks all. Good points!

          1. What a refreshing change in the comments on this site to see someone ask a genuine question, get useful responses, and genuinely appreciate those. Good on you @Mayrton and those that replied. A rare example of useful debate/discussion as opposed to abuse and ignorance.

            My own two cents is Grosjean is actually underrated. His infamous 2012 season was unfairly based on only a couple of actual errors (which that year most of the grid made, bar Alonso!) and then it snowballed from there (Spa and Suzuka were obvious, but he was blamed for so many more that were not his fault or were racing incidents, such as Monaco, Malaysia, Australia etc.). He was superb in 2H 2013 and for much of 2014/15. However, I will say he seemed to disappoint at Haas compared to the promise he showed with Lotus. I always thought he had the potential to be a WDC, but lacked refinement/consistency. At Haas he didn’t seem as good. Maybe that was just because KMag was better than I thought and he therefore could have achieved similarly good results in the Lotus. We’ll never know – loads of shoulds, coulds and woulds. In any event, I put Grosjean in the large and ever growing bucket of unrealised F1 talents. For comparison, I would put money on him doing as well or better than Massa at Ferrari if he started at the same time (based on nothing other than gut – and I quite like Massa).

            1. Well said Rachie Long, and Mayrton it’s sometimes easy for those of us who have been watching F1 for a long time that a question may just be because someone does not know and would like to understand rather than a rhetoric putdown (though the internet currently makes that sadly easier to think).

              I think HAAS perhaps lucked into a good first two seasons, and after that it showed too much that they had been effectively outsourcing so much of their operation, and being so lean, that it excluded good ways to gain a solid understanding of the whole of their car (which in the 1s seasons did occasionally surface too), so while Grosjean might be great at feedback, there wasn’t a way that it was actually used in a constructive way. But that’s a bit of a tangent :)

            2. It’s a shame because that’s what drew me to this site years ago. It used to be a great community of people who would have interesting, respectful conversations. It’s hard to believe but trolling was non-existent on here a few years ago!

    2. I think 2018 was the do or die season for both the HAAS drivers and they kind of threw it away. Neither really produced that magical performance of extracting every point the car is capable of throughout the season that they would have needed to in order for a top team to notice.

      Anyway, as he says, 10 years in F1 is nothing to scoff at. Well done to him and I hope he has good fortune in his future endeavours.

      1. I do think this year Magnussen has been rather solid, with a bit less of the seemingly gratuitous aggression on track that put him in the eye, but didn’t really help his results. Certainly last race he was underway to a points finish, but most of the time lack of luck and a bad PU+car and lacklustre team meant the results remained unspectacular @skipgamer

    3. If I think about it, maybe the ’86/’87 generation was the wrong one to be in. Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, myself, even Sebastien Buemi a little bit.

      So, that was the reason I couldn’t get into F1. It was my birth year, of course!

      1. Well Grosjean’s not really wrong about that. Arguably several guys that were born around that time didn’t really reach their full potential. There’s definitely cycles of talent in F1, where old guys stick around for several years, or a bunch of new rookies enter within a few years of eachother.

        1. Indeed @tomcat173, and I guess in context of him having said that after 10 years in F1 it is now time for a rookie to get his chance in that seat, it certainly seems a consistent view too.

        2. And given how young drivers are entering, we could see more and more good drivers simply missing out altogether due to lack of seats. Imagine if Max hangs around into his early to mid forties. He’ll have clocked up a quarter of a century driving at the top level! (Assuming formula one still exists then of course…)

    4. Yes, because people like Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel also struggled getting into top teams…

      1. Vettel and Rosberg didn’t join top teams though, they joined teams which improved dramatically when regulation changes happened.

    5. @keithcollantine Thank you for not taking the chance to include a picture of the Renault R29 in this article. :)

      1. @geemac I looked it up and immediately regretted it.

        1. It is a dark stain on the history of F1 @tomcat173

      2. Ah come on! At least they were trying something left field…at completely the wrong time, with a laughable engine and a budget found down the back of Ferrari’s couch…

      3. @geemac The R29 was very Wii-F1Game-looking !

        On the last picture of the article, there’s two drivers missing: Grosjean and Magnussen. Then it’s labelled 2021 drivers when it’s a 2020 pictures… just because there’s still no pictures of 2021 !

      4. @geemac Well actually, I have, though perhaps from its most flattering angle!

        1. You mean close enough that you have to really know what your talking about to notice…

      5. Really? I’ll take a Renault R29 poster over the, also Grosjean-piloted, Lotus E22 “twin tusk” poster 100x over.

        1. I actually managed to mix up the r29 and the E22 :)))

          The E22 HAS to get points for trying, come on… It’s in the finest tradition of F1 teams taking the letter of the rules to the extreme and utterly ignoring the spirit, but sadly it seemed to be somewhat crude elsewhere as well as having that dreadful Renault PU. I think Lotus knew they were financially done and that car was something of a hail Mary gone wrong.

      6. @geemac I went to Alonso’s museum this year and almost pucked when I saw it. I took dozens of pictures of every car, every detail I could find, from every angle. But only 2 of the R29.

        Seeing that car alongside the R26 and specially the MP4-22 shocked me. Not only it’s horrible, it also looks like lower quality to those two. Which it was, but it’s very apparent in person.

      7. I kind of like the R29. And I’m not blind.

    6. Grosjean was in Formula 1 for 9 full seasons, not including his 2009 stint at Renault.

      Mate, you had every chance to prove yourself for a promotion to a top team, it’s just that you weren’t it. Take a look at Sainz, took him 5 seasons but he’s made it to Ferrari, didn’t he? Bottas equally worked his way up and ended up at Mercedes. You either show your worth and earn your promotion to the top of the midfield and eventually the top of the field… Or you don’t. There’s 20 seats in F1, even less at the top, so you either prove you’re special enough or you do not. If you didn’t manage it nine seasons in, that’s on you.

      Sure, some drivers make it to top teams quicker than others, because they prove themselves early, but you don’t get to stay at that top team if you don’t cash in on your promise.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        23rd November 2020, 9:39

        Currently there are 19 seats in F1.
        And I’m being optimistic regarding Latifi. If we count Latifi, there’s 18 seats.

    7. “I have spoken too much…”

      …and complained too much.

    8. I think there is something to this ‘born in the wrong year’ view. I mean Nico Hülkenberg won the GP2 championship on his first try, had a pole in a Williams in 2010 and led a wet race after having sat on the bench for a full year. It’s weird a top team never picked him up.

      1. It bears repeating that his pole lap was a full second up on P2 as well. The fact that he’s even vaguely connected to a RB seat is probably the best metric to judge his career by right now rather than his lack of podiums.

      2. Honestly, while I don’t mind hulkenberg and would like it if he got a chance at red bull, I think perez deserves it more, cause it’s not possible that in all of his chances to prove his worth with a podium he didn’t pick up 1, even if he got unlucky it wasn’t all about luck, perez did, and a podium with the cars they drove basically means a win, so hulkenberg effectively threw away several “wins” and hence wasn’t given a chance at a top team.

        1. Perez definitely deserves it but he will have a shout at a ’22 seat with his backing. Hulk is the romantic option, and a great “what if” scenario would finally be answered. His appearances for RP this year we’re a microcosm of his whole time in F1 really, crazy pace out of nowhere and decent points but not quite the ability to seal the deal.

      3. And Grosjean completely dominated his year in GP2.

      4. I’ve heard it said many times that Hulkenberg’s height & weight were always a negative against him when compared to some of the smaller drivers. It probably makes less of a difference since the driver’s weight doesn’t count against the car weight anymore, but I’m certain I’ve heard it being debated on occasion.

    9. Vettel was born in 1987 ;) within a year of Grosjean.
      And Rosberg is less than a year older.

      Maybe it was something else than DOB that stopped him from fielding a true top drive.

    10. Lol. Right that must be it, born in the wrong year…

      So sad…

    11. Jose Lopes da Silva
      23rd November 2020, 9:45

      Grosjean showed enough to have a decade long career F1. Experts and people who worked with him all agree he was among the quickest in a single lap. Like Trulli and many others, he was not able to make it in every lap.

      One has to be a complete driver, in and out the car, to get to the very top. We haven’t reached the phase where one can buy a Mercedes for his son to win the Driver’s Championship. Yet.

      The generation argument is rubbish. There’s Vettel, there’s Ricciardo who is 2 years younger but reached F1 at the same time than Grosjean and Hulkenberg. Ricciardo has trounced every teammate since then apart Verstappen; yet he was almost at the same level. Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Buemi, Di Resta – I’m sorry, but you’re not Ricciardos. If there are older guys at the front who don’t leave, well, that’s part of the game, this is not civil service where you wait for the older people to retire.

    12. I think being one of the only drivers on the modern F1 grid to have served a race ban probably had something to do with it Romain.

      1. The penalty points system was introduced after Grosjean got his race ban. So nobody has have one since this system has been in place. And it is drivers like Vettel and Hamilton who have come closest to a race ban since.

        One thing I find odd is how the stewards tend to be more slack on the drivers when they are incredibly close to getting a race ban. They seemed to give Vettel smaller penalties for pretty big errors when he was close to a ban.

        The other odd thing is the penalties Hamilton initially got in Russia. He currently had 8 penalty points. Then he got 2 5 second penalties. The reasons for them may have been odd, but normally, these penalties would come with 2 penalty points rather than 1. This almost seemed intentional to avoid him hitting 12 penalty points and getting a race ban. Then what seems even more strange is that after the race, the penalty points he earned were removed and taking him back to 8 (which he still has).

        On a note more related to Grosjean, he is one of only six drivers on the grid to have no penalty points at all. In terms of being close to a race ban, Grosjean isn’t that sort of driver any more.

        Vettel, Stroll, Bottas, Sainz and Gasly. At least 2 of which many would probably expect to have a load of penalty points to their name also have no points.

        1. @thegianthogweed

          Comparing almost decapitating Alonso and killing Hamilton to taking a grid start in wrong place? unbelievable. Gro was awful has some raw speed that isit. Probably Alonso’s easiest teammate ever even Piquet JR was better, compare them to Hamilton for example.

    13. The most charitable description of his career is that for half a season he was similarly fast as Kimi, a driver who had already been dismissed by a top team for being past it, and who on retaining his seat at ferrari wasn’t able to keep pace with his top drawer teammate. As for the rest of his career, he was parachuted into a 2009 seat he hadn’t bothered to physically prepare for properly, crashed all over the place for a few seasons, and got dropped until he took more time to learn the craft. Since then he’s had one or two good races and spent a lot of time crashing into his teammate.

      I applaud the guy for being open about the mental struggles of operating in the sport but Sutil, DiResta, Grosjean et al share something else tying them together ; none of them had the craft or natural skill of the button/alonso/kimi cohort, and drivers of a similar age range who did (Lewis, vettel, rosberg) absolutely blew them out of the water. They’re not drivers of the sterling moss “best driver never to win…” mould, it’s as simple as that.

      1. Hairs_, saying that he was “parachuted into a 2009 seat he hadn’t bothered to physically prepare for properly” is rather inaccurate – you seem to have forgotten about something rather important in 2009, which was the whole “crashgate” scandal and Piquet Jr’s unplanned exit from Renault.

        Grosjean wasn’t preparing to race in F1 in 2009 because Renault hadn’t planned on him racing in F1 in 2009, and therefore weren’t training him for an F1 seat – which was why Grosjean was halfway through his GP2 season before he was thrown into the car a week before the European GP.

        Furthermore, as a consequence of the testing restrictions that kicked in around that time, the only time that Grosjean got to test the R29 before his first race was during a single day of straight line constant speed tests – and that was a rather rushed affair by Renault too.

        It therefore means that, when you look at the amount of testing mileage that Grosjean got to do before he first raced in F1, he was less experienced than quite a few of his contemporaries. If you look at what most test drivers were doing in 2008, such as Hulkenberg, Buemi, Bourdais, Kobayashi or Nakajima, all of those drivers are doing around 5,000-6,0000km of testing mileage – Grosjean’s had about 1,000km of testing mileage in 2008 and no testing in 2009.

        To that end, whilst you bring up drivers like Button, Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel, every single one of those drivers had more testing mileage under their belt and were being trained by their respective teams to enter F1.

        When Nico Rosberg drove in his first race, Williams had spent a year and a half preparing him for his seat and more than 9,500km of testing mileage – Hamilton and Vettel also spent about a year and a half preparing for their seats, and did about 9,000km and 7,000km of testing respectively before their first races.

        As for Button, Alonso and Kimi, those drivers entered F1 when testing was unrestricted and drivers used to rack up vastly higher mileages. To put it into context, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the total testing mileage that Grosjean did in 2008 – about 1,000km – would be considered a reasonable target for a single three day test in that era.

        What you are therefore doing is taking drivers who had significantly longer to prepare themselves and significantly more testing mileage and then comparing them to a driver who basically had a couple of weeks to get ready and a fraction of the testing mileage they had – and you wonder why he wasn’t as well prepared as those other drivers were?

        1. Piquet’s seat was already under threat in 2008 and that’s why he was pressured into crash gate in the first place. Grosjean was already being mentioned as a possible replacement before the season started, and he was attending races as reserve driver. So there’s no possibility he wasn’t aware that piquet was on the way out, or that he was being prepped for the seat. By his own admission he didn’t prepare properly.

          Even after being given 2 years out of the sport to thro, he came back and was still incompetent. He’s been incompetent the past 2 years, crashing, so none of what you mention about testing milage negates the assessment that he was never up to scratch.

          Furthermore, drivers in the last few years have started at younger ages, with more restrictive testing rules, and still shown themselves to be properly prepared and reliable (max and leclerc). Max at his most questionable was still head and shoulders over grosjeans embarrassments.

          1. Hairs_, when you look more closely at the data, you will find that Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc were both better prepared than Grosjean was.

            In 2015, Max Verstappen clocked up 2,834km of mileage in the pre-season tests – if you add in the additional mileage he gained in 2014 when driving cars in free practice sessions, he’s over the 3,000km mark. Leclerc, too, also had around three times more mileage under his belt than Grosjean did in his first race, not to mention two years of Ferrari coaching and mentoring him before he first drove for Sauber.

            Even under the modern testing regulations, the increased reliability of cars means that a lot of drivers are now covering quite significant distances even over just a couple of days of testing – asides from that, the relaxation of free practice superlicences means an increasing number of drivers are able to clock up a fair bit of mileage in free practice sessions as well (Verstappen and Leclerc being two beneficiaries of that system).

    14. I think you’ll find that there’s a bunch of drivers for the next few years that will be in the same boat. Other than Hamilton, no one will be leaving any of the top teams any time soon and even the midfield drivers are pretty young and pretty good.

      The likes of Russel, Ocon, Gasly, and any of the F2 crop are likely to never get an opportunity in a top car.

    15. Jose Lopes da Silva
      23rd November 2020, 12:15

      How many drivers started and ended their careers between 1991 and 2012, the Michael Schumacher period?
      There’s Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Pedro Diniz, Allan McNish, Zolst Baumgartner and dozens of others. They had to deal with the fact that Schumacher was taking one of the seats available. It’s part of the game.

    16. Meanwhile I don’t think either that being born in a certain year or two might drastically influence the chances of a driver having different opportunities in his career, I would like to add another name to Grosjean’s list, and that would be Kamui Kobayashi who could have been a more than valuable asset to almost any team back in 2013 when he was left with no seat. But again, it had nothing to do with the year he was born.

    17. If he should go to Indycar, I will be following.

    18. He’s not wrong.

      I think the late 2013 Grosjean was very good. Suzuka that year was spectacular, the Red Bulls were on a class of their own and Grosjean was among them all race long. The rest of the field was miles behnd.

      It does bear the question why Ferrari picked Raikkonen again, and not Grosjean or Hulkenberg. I think they simply didn’t want them because they had Jules Bianchi in the horizon, and Kimi was just a reliable stop-gap.

      Maybe it’s more a question of the incredibly limited number of seats that could fight for podiums (let alone wins) since 2012. Take 2020 out of the equation and the number is really limited, specially after 2014. So an already small group of competitive cars became even smaller.

      In any other era, even an Onyx could score a good result and that could’ve propelled the driver to much better things. Hulkenberg’s record of number of races without a podium (or even Grosjean’s win record) should be considered as a consequence of this era, rather than his (their) own inability. Yes, he had good chances, but in any other decade he’d have made it.

      I’m glad Grosjean is leaving, because these past few years showed he hit a peak a long time ago and there are better drivers that deserve a chance to show their value. But I still rate him highly… even more so considering how hard it must’ve been to debut in that hideous R29 only to be shown the door and then to take 2 full years to recover that lost ground and make it back into F1. That must’ve been very tough for him and he did it.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        23rd November 2020, 15:11

        You bring a very good point. Does an odd good result propel a driver’s career?
        I have my doubts. Johansson’s podium with Onyx was his last.
        A driver’s career is propelled by the general perspective team principals have on them. Outright pace is essential; if a driver is quick but does mistakes the team can try to work on it. If he is not quick, mistakes won’t be forgiven. Grabbing opportunities is vital, as this is much a sport of each one making their own opportunities and grab the few that arise.
        And teamworking is important; eventually more today than in the past, and maybe that kept Grosjean in the sport for so long, together with is one-lap pace.
        I doubt that an odd good result could change the global perspective of team principals about a driver, but it would be interesting to check the last 40 years regarding that.

    19. In a way, he has a point. We had 5 or 6 newcomers from what came to be a very talented generation (Top 3 of 2018 F2 included) and we may have 2 more newcomers next year of the same generation.

      As I don’t see any of the current crop of youg F1 drivers leaving (Albon might drop out but i can see Mazepin and Latifi sticking around if only because of $$$), and with Hamilton and Vettel and Alonso probably still there until at least 2022 (and with PER, GRO, MAG and HUL in the wings in case of last minute driver change / incident), and with all other “prime of their career” drivers staying put or being swapped around, I really see a massive logjam of talent in the next three years. Some might squeaze through but I’m pretty sure there is zero chance we will see more than two of the following drivers on the grid in the next two years : Piastri, Pourchaire, Sargeant, Lundgaard, Zhou, Schwartzman (and any other guy one or two years away from being F1 eligible). And those two might not event get a decent chance. Some years get many more openings and fast career progression as other.

    20. Drinks are on me after Abu Dahbi when Grosj walks away and we’re spared his constant whining and theatrics.
      Any takers?

      1. I’ll join you. Such a pain to hear him come on the radio. Seriously cringe.

    21. Raikkonen 207-96 Grosjean (2012)
      Raikkonen 183-114 Grosjean (2013)

      Grosjean scored almost 200 points less than Ferrari’s number 2 driver between 2014 and 2018.

      I would add that Magnussen scores more points than him over all 4 seasons at Haas.

      Then, you have to be realistic, given the level of Raikkonen since his return to F1, the Lotus 2012-2013 were probably cars for the titles. Permane recently stated that Alonso told him in 2014 that in the 2013 Lotus he easily wins the title, which shows Grosjean’s low level even more indirectly.

      Sorry for my bad English, I’m French.

      1. Your English is fine my friend!

      2. Tbf, can we really take Alonso’s word on things like this?
        I mean… “if that was me in that car I’d be world champion” – I wouldn’t but that stuff from anyone, but Alonso… I wouldn’t even bring it up :)

    22. If he managed to stay on track more often than off track then he might have had a chance. Credit where credits due not many drivers can merge two cars into one as much as he does.

    23. I can’t agree with Romain, even when looking at it from different angles.

      From a specific point of view, I believe the drivers he refers to didn’t match their peers, being Rosberg, Hamilton and Vettel. Kubica and Maldonado, from December ’84 and ’85, also turned into race winners. So did Bottas and Ricciardo, who are 2 years younger. There were simply better drivers available.

      From a more general point of view, if we take a look at the current ages of race winners, we see a massive gap between Bottas from ’89 and Gasly from ’96. Sainz in the future seems the most likely to decrease that gap from ’89 to ’95, but who else will? In between, there’s Perez, Magnussen and Vandoorne. You could even count Kvyat, Wehrlein and Vergne to this group. Frijns was rated as the next big thing at the time, having strung a number of junior titles together. Perez got a chance at McLaren, so did Magnussen and Vandoorne but at that time it was clear that McLaren was not going to fight for wins in the near future. If there is a generation facing a gap, it’s the 1990-1995 generation, not the 1985-1990 generation.

      Grosjean had a number of fair drives up till 2016. The second half of 2013 he had some good results, but don’t forget that in his string from Korea onwards, he only really outpaced Räikkönen in Japan – who didn’t start in the final 2 races and was taken out on the first lap in Abu Dhabi. Probably during that period, the car was second fastest of the field at that stage.

      As leaders of the generations who didn’t quite make it, Perez and Hülkenberg are now both considered at Red Bull. Hülkenberg would have gotten a chance at Mercedes, had he not signed a 3 year deal for the Renault works team. We know where Benetton had to come from in 2001, so Hülkenberg honoring his contract was understandable. So let’s say Hülkenberg and Perez did get their chance but got unlucky; Perez due to McLaren failing to deliver and Hülkenberg due to contractual reasons. Then as number 2 on both lists, it’s probably Grosjean vs. Magnussen, Vergne or Vandoorne. Anyone who would pick Romain without a doubt? I wouldn’t.

      In conclusion: there is a generation gap yes, but I actually think Romain’s group simply missed out due to better drivers being available. The generation after is the one to complain.

    24. Despite not racing in the final two races, Kimi trounced Grosjean in 2013 so why in the world would a top team want him for 2014? He’s making some kind of excuse or sob story, but he just wasn’t good enough. This is someone that got dropped back to GP2 and then even got a second chance.

      So I disagree with his assessment, those drivers didn’t get a top seat because the seats were filled, it’s because they weren’t good enough relative to drivers like Kimi who got the top drives.

      1. 2013
        Point : Raikkonen 183-114 Grosjean (I don’t count USA and Brazil)
        Race : Raikkonen 11-6 Grosjean
        Win : Raikkonen 1-0 Grosjean
        Podium : Raikkonen 8-5 Grosjean
        Qual : Raikkonen 11-6 Grosjean (+0’2)

        Many speak of the 2013 season as the peak of Grosjean’s career but yet Raikkonen easily beats him throughout the season.

        Giovinazzi is closer to Kimi at Alfa Romeo than Grosjean at Lotus in 2012-2013, and the 2018-2020 Kimi is probably above that of Lotus (a very very very fast car, Alonso thinks of winning the title in 2012 and 2013 in his cars)

    25. Both had almost a decade in F1 and no big teams picked them up. If they had what it takes then that would not have been the case. Of course Grosjean is quite a bit better than someone like Hulkenberg, but they look like all the hundreds of other drivers during the course of F1 that didn’t quite have “it”.

    26. Silly seasons in any racing discipline destroy more careers than they create. Silly seasons should be just that. A season. All contracts get negotiated within a 2 month time frame starting at a set date and finishing on a set date. For quite awhile now, drivers/riders are increasingly needing to risk their careers by considering to take sabbaticals just to get in sync with the timing of contracts. It creates a lot of drama trying to guess who’s going where, but it’s a career ruiner for more drivers than less.

    27. There is a history of nearly top drivers not making it to the top teams.

      And that is it. Certainly drivers he speaks of are/were not bad, but they were no Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg. All of similar generation.

      Neither are they as good as the new kids. And older generation are gonne save Kimi and Alonso who at some point were the best in the world for a moment.

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