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Grosjean returns to Lotus F1 Team in 2013

December 18, 2012

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Photo courtesy Lotus F1 Team

Did Romain Grosjean’s overall victory in Sunday’s Race of Champions at Bangkok provide the final impetus for Lotus F1 Team to return the Frenchman to its stable for a second year as partner to Kimi Raikkonen – or was he already cited but waiting for Monday’s announcement?

Don’t know that we’ll ever have the complete sequence of events, but Grosjean’s victory over sports car ace Tom Kristensen in ROC likely helped propel him to a second season in black and gold. The Frenchman acknowledged he was worried he might not be asked back for a second season…

In 2012 Grosjean showed signs of brilliance, with podiums in Bahrain, Canada and Hungary – Grosjean also evinced moments of race-start idiocy and likely killed the championship for Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton with his first-lap banzai run at Spa.

That was No. 7 in a pile of incidents, nearly all of which could be construed to be just racing stuff. For his Belgian transgressions, Grosjean sat out the next race. Only to be involved with another problem at Suzuka. Did he learn?

The unqualified answer is yes, he learned. I’m sure he’s been told often enough by his Lotus team that races aren’t won on the first lap; those who strive to finish can aspire to finish first.

Grosjean did a masterful job to take the ROC individual championship after coming second to Germany in the team competition last weekend. He drove with the kind of purpose he’s supposed to have everywhere he goes – but purpose he seems to lack at the race starts.

I’ve got to think this is Romain’s big chance to show that he is mature enough and racy enough to succeed at the highest level of motorsport. Certainly he worked well with Raikkonen last year – always a factor for retention – and with his engineering staff and all of Lotus F1 Team. He worked well enough that he was awarded a “ticket to ride” in 2013.

“Romain is a great talent and we are pleased that he is continuing with us for a second season,” said Eric Boullier, team principal. “With the continuity of two exceptional drivers like Romain and Kimi we are well placed to build on our strong 2012 with even better results in the year ahead.” The team finished fourth in the constructors’ championship while Raikkonen was third and Grosjean eighth in the drivers’ competition.

Grosjean acknowledged, “I learnt a lot in my first full season in Formula 1 and my aim is to put these lessons into practice with stronger and more consistent performance on the track next year. I am very executed with the respect of the E21,” he said. “I’ve already had my seat fitting and spoken with all the personnel involved with the build of the new car. I just can’t wait to get behind the wheel.”

By Anne Proffit

 

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