Romain Grosjean made a return to Formula 1 with Lotus F1 Team in 2012 having previously contested the final seven Grands Prix of 2009 for the Enstone outfit [at the time known as Renault F1 Team]. Prior to that, the Frenchman had secured the 2007 Formula Three Euroseries championship and won the inaugural GP2 Asia Series championship in 2008.
After his 2009 Formula 1 foray, Romain contested the inaugural FIA GT1 World Championship in 2010, winning the opening race of the season whilst also competing in his first Le Mans 24 Hours. It wasn’t long before he returned to single seaters, with partial campaigns in the Auto GP and GP2 Series championships that same year before taking both the GP2 Asia Series and GP2 Series championship titles in 2011.
Grands Prix Contested: 45
Fastest Laps: 1
2012: Back in the Big Time
Having impressed during his two test sessions the previous year, Romain was handed a return to the Formula 1 grid by Lotus F1 Team for the 2012 season. The team’s faith in the Frenchman was soon justified, with a second row start at the season opening Australian Grand Prix followed by a string of impressive qualifying performances and three podium finishes throughout the season. For 2013, Romain will be looking to build on his first full season in the sport and push for that elusive first Grand Prix victory.
2010 – 2011: Regroup and Refocus
Romain contested the inaugural FIA GT1 World Championship in 2010, winning the first race. In that same year, he also made a return to single seaters, scoring a first and second during his debut event in the Auto GP series and taking the title within three further races. In July he returned to the GP2 Series, which proved a precursor to a full-time return the following season. Late in the year, Romain also became Pirelli’s test driver.
2011 proved to be highly successful, with the GP2 Asia Series and the GP2 Series titles won and a return to the Formula 1 cockpit with Friday runs in Abu Dhabi and Brazil for Lotus Renault GP.
2009: GP2 Series, Renault F1 Team Test and Race Driver
2009 was to prove to be a year of opportunity for Romain. He started the year as test driver for Renault F1 Team as well as contesting the GP2 Series. By the European Grand Prix he was a full-time race driver for the team, starting seven Grands Prix as team-mate to Fernando Alonso.
2008: GP2 Series and Renault F1 Team Test Driver
In 2008, Romain combined his responsibilities as test driver for Renault F1 Team with campaigns in the GP2 Asia Series and GP2 Series. He won the Asia series, taking four wins along the way. Romain was also a frontrunner in the main Series, winning two races.
2006 – 2007: F3 Euroseries
Romain finished 13th in the F3 Euroseries, which included two wins during the British F3 Championship rounds. For 2007, he took the title in impressive style in a closely-fought series with a total of 6 wins, 6 podiums and 4 pole positions.
2004 – 2005: Formula Renault 2.0
Romain completed partial seasons in both the French and European Formula Renault championships, finishing as second best rookie in the 2004 French championship and taking 1 win and 3 podiums along the way. He won the title with 10 wins the following year.
2000 – 2003: Karting and Formula Renault
Romain raced karts from junior categories through to ICA in addition to completing Formula A races in 2002. He combined Formula ICA in 2003 with the start of his car racing career, where ten wins from ten races saw the young Frenchman crowned Swiss Formula Renault champion.
How is the Romain Grosjean that starts the 2013 season different from the Romain Grosjean who started the 2012 season? How have you changed?
Well first of all I’m older! No, it’s clearly different for me this year. I have much more experience in Formula 1 and even if I knew the team before, I now know how to work with the engineers much better on the technical side. I also know all the tracks and understand better the various challenges of a season. Generally things worked out pretty well, although some things didn’t always turn out as good as we wanted. It’s going to be very interesting to start the new season.
What are your targets or objectives for 2013?
I can clearly say I want to score a lot of points for the team – everybody knows that – but I think it would be wrong for me to say I want to finish in a particular position in the championship. I really want to jump out of the car as many times as possible thinking that I did a good job. Knowing that everything I could do, I did, and feeling proud of my race or session. I hope to feel that way as many times as possible this year.
What did you learn most last season?
It’s tough to pick just one thing. You start your career in Formula 1 thinking ‘Okay, that’s a new challenge, a tough challenge’ but then you work into the season and you think ‘Whoa! This challenge is even bigger than I thought!’ All the elements of a Formula 1 season including the travelling – energy-wise, managing the jet lag – the media and marketing stuff, the physical demands and preparation for driving the car are quite something. I know what I need much better now and that’s what I’ve learnt from last year.
How good did it feel to finally get confirmation for 2013, which came very shortly after you became the ‘Champion of Champions’ at the Race of Champions?
There were a few things which we had to go over before a decision was made and for sure it wasn’t nice waiting, but it was certainly very nice to get the confirmation. The timing was good too; just after the Race of Champions win, which was a coincidence. It allowed me to have a much better winter.
How much input have you had on the E21? Did you have a wish list of what you would like?
All through last year, the feedback given about the E20 was interpreted by the development team for the E21. This means there’s a lot of information from me and Kimi which went into this car. It’s difficult to say after the season ‘we would like this or that’ for next year. I think it’s more about the work done during the whole season; discussing this or that, or an idea about this or that. After twenty races you know more-or-less what has been good with the car and what hasn’t. Hopefully we’ve made the right calls for this year.
How exciting have the developments been behind the scenes at Enstone?
I like the development process and I really like seeing the new car ‘growing up’. You see the first design, you see it being tested in the wind tunnel and then finally after a long time you see the finished car. It’s very interesting and I really like to follow it and understand as much as I can, without being an engineer. It’s always good.
Do you think you have a point to prove in 2013?
I think everyone is waiting to see if I’m able to be consistent, which is where I was lacking a little bit last year. I know it and I’ll do everything I can to prove to people that I’m able to achieve this goal.