Racing life before Formula 1: Romain Grosjean

Exactly eight years ago today, Romain Grosjean scored his first F1 podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix for Lotus.

Racing life before Formula 1: Romain Grosjean

Since then he has had a rollercoaster grand prix career, with a number of highs and lows, but here we look at how he proved his potential in the junior categories.

2003

Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Grosjean is one of those drivers who didn't have a clear path to F1. He stepped up from karting in 2003 to enter the Formula Lista Junior 1.6 Championship, delivering the title with victory in all 10 rounds.

2004

Romain Grosjean, SG Formula

Romain Grosjean, SG Formula

Photo by: Edd Hartley / Motorsport Images

After such a strong showing in 2003, he moved up to the Formula Renault 2.0 series with a full attack on the French championship, plus selected outings in the European championship.

A seventh place at the end in the French series wasn't bad with one win, four podiums and two poles for SG Formula. Plus the nine races in the Euro series for the same team were good for experience – but he knew better results were needed if he was to step forward with his career.

2005

Romain Grosjean, Signature-Plus

Romain Grosjean, Signature-Plus

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

Staying with SG Formula in 2005, he would do the same series and it was another dominant championship win. He won ten out of 16 races, with 13 podiums and 10 pole positions. His eight races in the European championship brought him up to 12th in the championship scoring two podiums. At the end of 2005 he had his first competitive drive in F3 when he entered the Macau GP with Signature-Plus, finishing a respectable ninth place.

Read Also:

2006

Romain Grosjean, Signature Plus

Romain Grosjean, Signature Plus

Photo by: Elliot Patching / Motorsport Images

His first full year in Formula 3 was with the Signature-Plus team, plus he had also been signed up as a Renault F1 Development driver. His F3 Euro campaign wasn't a big success that year though, finishing only 13th in the standings with just one podium. His second attempt at Macau was better (5th) and his first F3 Masters race at Zandvoort had the same result. But his year wasn't without success, as he won two races in British F3 at Pau, scoring the two poles and fastest laps.

2007

Romain Grosjean, ASM Formula 3, Dallara F305 Mercedes

Romain Grosjean, ASM Formula 3, Dallara F305 Mercedes

Photo by: Sutton Images

The next year he moved to the ASM Formule 3 team, but the program he had was almost the same: F3 Euro, F3 Macau & Masters. His form was transformed compared to the previous year: as he won the F3 title beating the likes of Sebastien Buemi, Nico Hulkenberg and Kamui Kobayashi with six wins, 12 podiums and 4 poles.

He would start from pole position in the F3 Masters at Zandvoort but would only finish 14th, while Macau wasn't that much better with an eighth place after he started from 21st on the grid.

2008

Romain Grosjean and Nanni Rodriguez

Romain Grosjean and Nanni Rodriguez

Photo by: GP2 Series Media Service

From 2008 until 2011, GP2 had a 'winter' championship with most rounds held in Asia before the action kicked off in the Europe. Grosjean entered both series and won the Asian Championship with four wins, five podiums and four poles: again beating Buemi.

The first part of his European GP2 campaign didn't go that well for a shot at the title with only one win and another podium in the first half of the season. Things went better in the second half (one win and four podiums), although the title was already out of reach with Giorgio Pantano taking the crown. Grosjean could have ended up higher then fourth in the standings, but an incident with Lucas di Grassi at the Valencia sprint race while in the lead cost him dearly.

2009

Race winner Romain Grosjean, Barwa Campos Team

Race winner Romain Grosjean, Barwa Campos Team

Photo by: Mandoga Media

The next year was a bit of a strange one for Romain. His second year in GP2 was with the Barwa Addax team and started of very strong with two wins, three podiums and three poles. Then there was a big accident during the Monaco sprint race, another retirement in the next race and no more podiums after that.

He didn't finish his GP2 season, though, as he was called up by the Renault F1 team to take the seat of Nelson Piquet Jr. for the rest of the season in the wake of the Singapore 'Crashgate' controversy. But the start of his F1 career was not great and he wasn't retained for 2010.

2010

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

Photo by: GP2 Series Media Service

Sometimes in life it's better to take two steps back before going forward again. Something like that must have crossed Grosjean's mind at the end of 2009 and he pondered how best to fight back to F1.

He duly worked out a program with as much racing as possible. He was hired by DAMS to do the Auto GP series. That worked out fine with him winning the Auto GP title easily despite not entering all rounds of the championship. After winning Auto GP he went back to GP2 with DAMS, and from the eight races he finished twice on the podium.

Alongside single seater racing he also entered the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Spa 24 Hours and the FIA GT for Matech Competition. He didn't finish the race at Le Mans but a decent 16th place in Spa was not a bad for a start in endurance racing, while he was very good in the FIA GT winning two out of five rounds together with Thomas Mutsch.

2011

Romain Grosjean celebrates winning the 2011 GP2 Series title

Romain Grosjean celebrates winning the 2011 GP2 Series title

Photo by: GP2 Media Service

In 2011, Grosjean would stay with DAMS and doing only single seaters was the plan. Like in 2008 he entered the winter series 'GP2 Asia': winning the title again with one win, two podiums and two pole positions.

It was confidence boost ahead of another assault in GP2 and this time it was a successful campaign. Five wins, 10 podiums, four fastest laps and one pole position secured him the title and helped convinced Lotus to promote him to F1: where he has stayed ever since.

If you look at Grosjean stats/career line you will see in his early years, he almost always had a year with a title followed up with a year without a title However, then he would win a title again the year after.

Some of those titles have been less high profile than others, but he has kept his goal in life always in his sight and proved throughout he is fast.

Source: Forix.com

Motorsportstats: https://results.motorsportstats.com/drivers/romain-grosjean/career

shares
comments
Why F1 can't waste a lap in the post-coronavirus new era

Previous article

Why F1 can't waste a lap in the post-coronavirus new era

Next article

Imola willing to run closed doors F1 race

Imola willing to run closed doors F1 race
Load comments
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Prime

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of "glory" if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1's other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021
How Formula 1 has made itself unattractive to new teams Prime

How Formula 1 has made itself unattractive to new teams

OPINION: The Formula 1 cost cap has been billed as a saviour to several teams and helped to guarantee their viability for investors. But there already exists another mechanism that effectively had the same purpose, and serves as a strong deterrent for those with the means to go it alone in setting up a new team

Formula 1
Sep 10, 2021
How Schumacher's first year marked him out as F1's king in-waiting Prime

How Schumacher's first year marked him out as F1's king in-waiting

After his sparkling F1 debut with Jordan at Spa, Michael Schumacher quickly leapt to Benetton for the 1991 Italian Grand Prix. This move paved the way for the German to win his first grand prix one year later and laid the foundations for his ascent to become a title contender by 1994.

Formula 1
Sep 10, 2021