Features Haas

Driver Profile – Romain Grosjean

Famous for working in a Swiss bank when he entered Formula One, Romain Grosjean has grown to be one of the most reliable drivers in the field, something you couldn’t have said when he made his entrance into the sport in 2009.

He first drove in the Formula Lista Junior category in 2003, winning that championship with ten wins out of ten, something which would later define his career. After that success he moved to the French Formula Renault championship, with one win in his debut year, but only finishing seventh. A second year in that championship gave him ten wins, and the championship, although a debut at Macau wasn’t as successful.

Formula 3 Euro Series would following 2006, which again wasn’t amazing, along with fifth and his best result in Macau. Another year in Formula 3 meant he won the championship with six wins and would provide the door to GP2 with ART.

He won the Asia series, the precursor to the main championship, where he finished fourth. By this time he had already forged a relationship with Renault, and was their official test driver in 2008. Another season in GP2 followed, before his call up to Renault to deputise for Nelson Piquet Jr after the crashgate scandal. His entry into Formula One was clumsy, and wasn’t retained for another year.

He headed back to GP2 for 2010, as well as dabbling in sportscars, taking part in Le Mans. It meant a full time seat in GP2 for 2011 with DAMS with whom he had driven for the previous season. He won both the regular and Asian series, as well as regaining his test drive at the Enstone team, now branded as Renault.

A seat in Lotus came in 2012, alongside Kimi Raikkonen who was returning to the sport. He had a reputation for being reckless, most famously at the Belgian Grand Prix of that year which earned him a suspension for one race. After getting help, Grosjean settled into his role next to Kimi Raikkonen, picking up a string of podium places in the following season.

With funding issues at the team, the results began to slide, with just a couple of points paying positions in 2014, not helped with the difficult Renault engine. A switch to Mercedes for 2015 was more promising with a number of points positions, but the lack of funding, brought out other problems and a third place in Belgium was an incredible achievement.

As the funding problems continued, and the future uncertain despite Renault looking like they would retake control of the team, Grosjean made the move to Haas in the hope he would find success again, possibly even using it as a Launchpad for a Ferrari drive.

It was an incredible start to 2015, with points in the first two races, and a third following shortly afterward in Russia. It wasn’t all great news as those first year problems crept in midseason, especially around the braking system designed by Ferrari was difficult for them to understand and change. It was a decent debut season for the new team, where he stays for 2017.

About the author

Ashley Quint

Ashley founded the Purple Sector website back in 2012, later renamed to SpeedMajor which now covers both Formula 1 and Formula E. As well as writing on Formula 1, Ashley also works within the world of luxury travel and was a finalist in the Aspire Travel Trade Writer of the Year competition in 2013.

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