Grosjean relishes Formula 1 return


Kimi Räikkönen’s 2012 team-mate at Lotus has finally been announced.

Bruno Senna, Romain Grosjean and Vitaly Petrov were all in the running, but it’s the Frenchman who has finally taken the spot alongside the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion.

At the end of 2009 Grosjean, who raced alongside Alonso in the latter half of the season, was dropped by Renault in favour of Petrov. In order to get another bite at the F1 apple he went back to GP2 and convincingly won both that title and the GP2 Asia Series.

It didn’t make Grosjean a dead cert to be in a Lotus race seat for 2012. Only a matter of days ago after testing a BMW DTM machine he said that if his F1 dream didn’t come to fruition this time around he would look elsewhere. After all, Petrov still had a contract for 2012.

“It’s difficult to find the right words to describe what I feel,” said a genuinely delighted Grosjean after the announcement. “It’s quite simply fantastic and I can’t wait to be at the start of the Australian Grand Prix in March next year!

“I think that my season in GP2 helped me get the seat as a nominated driver, because what people expected from me was to show that I’d grown up and matured – that at that level I was already capable of being a team leader. The two free practice sessions in the Abu Dhabi and Brazilian Grands Prix were also a kind of live assessment to see if I’d improved, if I was able to cope better with pressure and if I was still as quick. All these factors added to my two GP2 titles with DAMS were certainly major influences that helped me get the drive.”

Of course, the second chance of an F1 career will make for a very happy Christmas in the Grosjean household. But let’s not forget that his team-mate is Räikkönen, a man who made Michael Schumacher look like a team player. Will Grosjean just be a useful number two driver to the Finn? He’s not there because of his deep pockets, that’s for sure.

“I’m beginning to get used to having a World Champion as a team-mate,” said Grosjean. “After Fernando Alonso, now it’s Kimi Räikkönen. But it’s a real stroke of luck as you learn a lot from these people. And as we’ve got the same car, matching their level is proof of the quality of the driver.

“Kimi is a great driver, he’s got nothing to prove anymore and I’m delighted to have the opportunity of working with him. I believe that I too can bring something to the team with my understanding of the Pirelli tyres. He knows the ones in rallying but not those in F1. I think we’ll make a great pair and that speed will be one of the major pluses of the team.”

Only time will tell, but Grosjean is definitely a different driver to when Alonso blew him away in ’09.

With Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg as favourites for the two Force India seats and Pastor Maldonado confirmed at Williams, this now leaves Adrian Sutil, Rubens Barrichello, Senna and Petrov possibly fighting it out for the remaining seat with Williams. Unless, of course, they fancy joining Pedro de la Rosa at HRT…

One would hope that with Maldonado’s Venezuelan petro-dollars already confirmed the Grove-based outfit would opt for talent and/or experience. Senna? I doubt the team would want such little experience, especially if someone of Sutil’s ability is twiddling his thumbs on the sidelines.

It seems such a shame that the likes of Timo Glock, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and all the above aren’t safely in midfield teams. They certainly deserve a proper shot at Formula 1.


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