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At 33, Romain Grosjean is now one of the older drivers on the Formula 1 grid. Next season the Frenchman will be back with Kevin Magnussen in the American Haas F1 garage, with Guenther Steiner as team boss. Previously the Frenchman drove at Lotus and Renault.
Ten years ago Grosjean made his debut in the French Formula Renault championship and took the title dominantly in 2005. Just one year later the French Formula 1 team shows interest in Romain and the Geneva based man is included in the junior program of the French team.
With the support of the big name, the current Haas driver took the Formula 3 title in 2007 and moved on to the GP2 series. Two seasons in a row, the Frenchman took fourth place in that class, making the transition to Formula 1 relatively quick.
With the role of test driver at Renault in the first instance, Grosjean promoted to the vacant position of Nelson Piquet junior in 2009. The season was supposed to be one with a lot of crashes and mistakes, which meant that the Frenchman did not get the results he did in the lower classes. Notably Romain's former GP2 teammate, Vitaly Petrov, took over from Grosjean at Renault at the end of the season.
Apart from a year of tyre testing for Pirelli, Romain's Formula 1 career seemed to have ended prematurely after the 2009 season. However, the Frenchman didn't give up and fought back. In 2011 Grosjean again takes the title in the GP2 class, where there are a lot of well-known names.
Marcus Ericsson, Esteban Gutierrez, Giedo van der Garde and Sam Bird (Formula E racer) are defeated, putting Grosjean back on the radar of many a Formula 1 team. Precisely his former employer Renault (just renamed Lotus Renault GP) offers him a seat for the 2012 season.
Involved in crashes
The season immediately starts with a bang for Grosjean, after the Frenchman and lump pilot Pastor Maldonado knock each other off the track. Three races later Grosjean makes up for a lot by finishing third in Bahrain. The first Frenchman on a podium place since Jean Alesi in 1998. The party was short-lived, after Romain Grosjean caused one of the most talked-about crashes in the last ten years: The start of the Belgian Grand Prix in 2012.
Grosjean brakes too late, rams his Lotus full in the back of Lewis Hamilton and sets off a chain reaction. Four cars (including Grosjean's own) are written off and Romain gets a racing ban of one Grand Prix. Something that should be a hard lesson would have been forgotten a few races later in Japan.
Grosjean rams, again in the first lap, Mark Webber off the track. Also in Abu Dhabi and Brazil the Frenchman doesn't manage to keep his car in one piece and is involved in collisions.
However, this doesn't ensure that the now older Romain doesn't accuse other rookies of the same eagerness. Max Verstappen, among others, gets a hard time in his first year in Formula 1, when Grosjean thinks young racers should 'show respect'.
After slow improvement at Lotus, the 2015 season heralds the last year in which Romain Grosjean will drive for the Lotus F1 team. With a Mercedes engine in the back, Grosjean once again manages to finish on the podium and seems to be heading in the right direction. Financial problems behind the scenes cause Renault to buy Lotus, but not before Romain Grosjean announced the move to Haas for the 2016 season.
With the new guys on the grid, Grosjean immediately finds his form. In the opening race in Melbourne, points are picked up immediately and the Frenchman also finished in the top ten in the following race. The rest of the season the results dropped again, but still good enough to give Grosjean a thirteenth place in the championship. The following year Grosjean again achieved that place and in 2018 (after an extremely bad season start) Grosjean didn't get further than P14.
In the past season Haas has had to deal with a relapse. Kevin Magnussen is in charge of the team and everyone expects, just like in 2018, that it will be over for Grosjean in Formula 1. Steiner, however, renews his contract again, so that the Frenchman can also be admired in Formula 1 in 2020.
Romain Grosjean in 2020
Haas will have to find its way up again in 2020 after having a lot of problems with Pirelli's new tyres in 2019. Grosjean had regular bad luck in 2019 and will hope that the tide turns in 2020. Haas will be aiming for a higher place again with the constructors and needs good results from the drivers. However, whether Grosjean will be able to compete with the younger competition over a season is debatable.
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