October 17, 1979
Lotus F1 Team
|Career statistics to end 2013|
This is one of the more pleasing stories of the 2013 season. Vilified by many for the crash-and-burn attitude he seemed to have brought with him from GP2 when he returned to F1 in 2012, Romain Grosjean ranks as one of THE drivers of 2013.
Going back to first principles – and first laps – Grosjean re-examined himself, his driving and his ambition. As a result, he completed the season in seventh place overall and can count himself unlucky not to have been even higher in the final reckoning.
A four-race non-scoring sequence from Spain through Silverstone counted heavily against him in the long run, and was doubly disappointing in that it came hard on the heels of his first 2013 podium in Bahrain.
But his second half of the season was terrific: Grosjean returned to the podium in Germany and was a virtual fixture there in the final third of the season.
From Korea to Austin he was third three times, second once and fourth in the other race, eventually beating his 2012 score by 36 points. Without further no-scores in Singapore and Brazil, where engine failure was an unworthy end to a fine season, he would have done so far more convincingly.
His mild-mannered, soft-spoken exterior conceals an inner steel, and he was totally unfazed by the presence of Raikkonen in the other Lotus. “He doesn’t tell me any more than he tells you,” he joked with the world’s media. “I only ever see him in the clothes we wear in the car!”
Where Grosjean’s future is concerned, much will depend on two factors: the ongoing financial travails of Lotus, and their ability to match Renault’s new energy power unit to their new chassis.
He is, though, one of the men to watch in the next couple of years.