Skip to content

From crash kid to shining star, Grosjean now seeks redemption in Monaco

May 17, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Previews Getty Images

A lot can change in a year. Romain Grosjean knows that better than anyone. Following last year’s Monaco Grand Prix, his Formula 1 career appeared to be in the balance, but he has since reformed himself into one of the sport’s brightest talents.

On lap 61 of the race in 2013, Grosjean was trailing Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo coming out of the tunnel. The Frenchman attempted to make a pass heading into the chicane, but made a severe misjudgement. The Lotus destroyed the back of the Toro Rosso, and both drivers were fortunate to walk away unharmed. Ricciardo, in his ever positive style, brushed it off, but it was Gorsjean’s third crash of the weekend. Clearly, there were more serious problems at Lotus.

Grosjean had debuted in F1 back in 2009 as a mid-season replacement for Nelson Piquet Jr. at Renault, but was not retained. He bravely stepped back down into the junior categories, and excelled, winning the GP2 title in 2011. A full-time seat with Lotus beckoned in 2012, and although he did score three podium finishes, there were too many accidents. He even received a ban for causing the first corner pile-up at the Belgian Grand Prix.

He made an okay start to the 2013 season, picking up a podium finish in Bahrain, but DNFs in Spain and Monaco – where he also crashed twice in practice and qualifying – put him under pressure. To make matters worse, it was common knowledge that he was on a three race rolling contract. Many pundits believed that had Eric Boullier – a long time supporter – not been in charge at Lotus, he would have been dropped.

Further non-scores in Canada and Great Britain really put the heat on Grosjean, and another first-corner incident with Mark Webber led to the Australian coining the term “Grosjeaned” (verb, to be unnecessarily hit on track).

When we sat down with Romain at the Nurburgring, it was clear that he was incredibly frustrated after not having much luck at Silverstone the week before. “I’m doing my best,” he said, with a tone that suggested he was running out of ideas. “Hopefully things will come together.”

And come together they did. That very weekend, Romain came close to winning his first ever grand prix. Ultimately, he had to yield second place to Kimi Raikkonen, but he came home in P3 with a huge smile on his face.

This run didn’t stop in Germany, though. He scored a further four podiums, and scored points in every race he finished. In Austin, he came home in a brilliant second place behind Sebastian Vettel, and it was clear that everything had changed.

Even at the beginning of this year, Grosjean has established himself as team leader at Lotus. Whilst new teammate Pastor Maldonado has spent most of his time kicking around towards the back – or, worse, in the wall – Romain has risen to the challenge. In Spain, he qualified a superb P5, and brought the car home in eighth after a power unit problem.

In Monaco next weekend, there will be the idea of redemption playing on Romain’s mind. Even just some points would be enough to prove how much has changed over the past 12 months; it’s a good news story for one of the truly nice guys in the sport.

Latest Posts
  1. Jimmie Johnson likes new Chase format, but misses the one that brought him six championships

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:09 PM EST

    jimmie johnson 2015 media tour AP AP

    Given the way the 2014 season turned out for him, Jimmie Johnson would have preferred to see the old Chase for the Sprint Cup format rather than the new elimination format.

  2. NHRA: Alan Johnson Racing moves forward without Al-Anabi

    Jan 31, 2015, 5:13 PM EST

    Alan Johnson (Photo courtesy AlanJohnsonRacing.com) Alan Johnson (Photo courtesy AlanJohnsonRacing.com)

    With Al-Anabi Racing now defunct, team owner Alan Johnson has picked up the remnants and intends on racing one Top Fuel dragster, with 2013 champ Shawn Langdon behind the wheel, in at least the first two races of the 2015 season.

  3. Jeff Gordon: Chase Elliott is ‘right guy’ to keep driving No. 24

    Jan 31, 2015, 4:01 PM EST

    jeff gordon no. 24 Getty Getty Images

    Jeff Gordon wanted to see his successor continue on the legacy of the No. 24 car. Chase Elliott is happy to continue that tradition.

  4. Gutierrez enjoying life with Ferrari in third driver role

    Jan 31, 2015, 4:00 PM EST

    Ferrari Car Launch Getty Images

    Mexican driver is excited for the return of his home grand prix in November, even if he won’t be racing.

  5. Indy Lights notes: Juncos leads oval test, Chilton digs ovals, Piedrahita confirmed

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:30 PM EST

    Photo: Indy Lights Photo: Indy Lights

    News and notes after Indy Lights wraps up its week of testing in Homestead.

  6. Richard Childress Racing settles lawsuit with Matt McCall, Jamie McMurray’s new crew chief

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:21 PM EST

    Matt McCall (Image courtesy racing.quickenloans.com) Matt McCall (Image courtesy racing.quickenloans.com)

    Richard Childress Racing and Matt McCall have reached settlement on a lawsuit that sought to keep McCall from becoming Jamie McMurray’s crew chief for the 2015 season.

  7. Perez “extremely motivated” for new F1 season

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    Mexican Driver Sergio Perez Visits Hermanos Rodriguez Circuit Getty Images

    Mexican driver feels that Force India’s hunger can take the team up the grid this year.

  8. NASCAR: Kenseth’s DeWalt sponsorship schedule revealed

    Jan 31, 2015, 2:30 PM EST

    Sprint All-Star Race Qualifying Getty Images

    Kenseth and DeWalt are back together, and the six-race sponsorship dates are revealed.

  9. Report: No get-out clause in Fernando Alonso’s McLaren contract

    Jan 31, 2015, 2:00 PM EST

    McLaren-Honda Announces New Driver Line-Up For 2015 Getty Images

    Ron Dennis makes clear that Alonso is locked into his new contract with the British team.

  10. In interview, Franchitti reflects on life without driving, a full year later

    Jan 31, 2015, 1:30 PM EST

    Dario Franchitti (right) has embarked on a new career path as a consultant for Target Chip Ganassi, with particular emphasis helping his hand-picked replacement and defending Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan. (Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Herald Scotland checks in with Dario Franchitti on his new life outside the cockpit.

  11. Rosberg and Hamilton ready for the rematch in 2015 (VIDEO)

    Jan 31, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    Germany F1 Stars and Cars AP

    Prepare for round two with Hamilton and Rosberg as they set their goals for the season ahead.

  12. Preparation key for all-rookie Toro Rosso line-up in 2015

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    © Toro Rosso © Toro Rosso

    With a combined age of 37, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. forge the youngest line-up in F1 history in 2015.

  13. NASCAR AMERICA: Drivers predict Super Bowl XLIX winner (VIDEO)

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:00 PM EST

    superbowl_nbc

    Patriots or Seahawks? NASCAR’s top drivers make their picks for Sunday’s Big Game.

  14. Watch how Ferrari’s new F1 challenger gets stickered up (VIDEO)

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:30 AM EST

    Ferrari Car Launch Getty Images

    Watch a time lapse video of how the Ferrari SF15-T gets stickered up in advance of the 2015 season.

  15. Toro Rosso reveals STR10 ahead of Jerez test

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:21 AM EST

    © Toro Rosso © Toro Rosso

    Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. lift the covers from the team’s 2015 car, marking its tenth year in F1.

  16. NASCAR: Xfinity driver Daniel Suarez, ex-NFL WR Willie Gault win Gridiron Challenge (VIDEO)

    Jan 31, 2015, 10:30 AM EST

    NASCARGridiron

    Highlights from the special event featuring NASCAR drivers and former NFL stars.

  17. Kvyat raring to go ahead of pre-season testing (VIDEO)

    Jan 31, 2015, 10:00 AM EST

    Kvyat 311 Getty Images

    He may have risen rapidly up to a seat at Red Bull, but Daniil Kvyat is not feeling under pressure.

  18. Complete line-up for the Jerez F1 pre-season test

    Jan 31, 2015, 9:00 AM EST

    F1 Testing in Jerez - Day Four Getty Images

    All of the information you need for the first official F1 test of the year.

  19. Hamilton: Plenty of room for improvement at Mercedes

    Jan 31, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Practice Getty Images

    Despite the team enjoying a record-breaking year in 2014, Hamilton is confident that Mercedes can extend its advantage in the new season.

  20. Long: Journey for Wendell Scott’s family ends with a kiss (VIDEO)

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:23 AM EST

    Credit: ISC Archives Credit: ISC Archives

    Wendell Scott’s induction to the NASCAR Hall of Fame completed a long journey for his family.

More from NASCAR America

Elliott: 'Common bond' unites inductees
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. C. Elliott (1641)
  2. J. Gordon (1594)
  3. K. Larson (1213)
  4. R. Blaney (1109)
  5. C. Custer (1087)