Romain Grosjean – first lap nutcase?

Published 7th October 2012 - Written by Craig Norman

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In 14 races of this 2012 season a recurring theme seems to be happening at each and every start – everyone looks for Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman has now been involved in SEVEN first lap incidents in FIFTEEN races this season.

Mark Webber took his frustrations out on the Lotus driver after the race.

Photo: Lotus F1\LAT

“I haven’t obviously seen what happened at the start but the guys confirmed that it was first-lap nutcase again, Grosjean,” said the Australian.

“And, yeah, the rest of us are trying to fight for some decent results each weekend but he’s trying to get to the first corner as fast as he can at every race.”

Webber said the crash was “immensely frustrating” and referred to Grosjean’s ban for causing a crash at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix, saying: “maybe he needs another holiday”.

“He needs to have a look at himself, obviously, it was completely his fault,” Webber continued. “You know, how many mistakes can you make? How may times can you make the same error? First-lap incidents, it’s quite embarrassing at this level for him.”

Romain has already served a one-race ban for the pile-up triggered in Belgium, and has had numerous penalties handed to him because of some of his actions. In Japan, he was awarded a 10s stop-go penalty, a very old school punishment which is deemed the most serious stewards can give without disqualifying the driver from the race.

Photo: Lotus F1/LAT

But, the man is fast. In the races he hasn’t crashed out of he’s ended up no lower than 7th, and has nabbed 3 podiums on the way. That’s exactly the same amount as Sergio Perez, and he’s just landed a McLaren drive for 2013.

The other thing to look at is that while Grosjean’s been involved in first lap accidents, not 100% of them are his fault entirely – it takes two to tango, ultimately.

He was rightly punished for Spa, but apologised for that almost immediately. Same in his first lap contact with Michael Schumacher in Malaysia. Spain was a racing incident, when his Lotus just kissed Perez’s rear tyre. What happened in Melbourne, Monaco and at Silverstone were not his fault at all.

In all taken in context, obviously. If you have more accidents than most, you get a reputation for being reckless (just ask Pastor Maldonado). And that, it seems, is a problem he has to bear from now on.

When an incident happens, for example, when Fernando Alonso nearly put Kimi Raikkonen off the track at the same start in Japan, the drivers are exonerated thanks to their better reputations. Kimi’s front wing caused a puncture on the Ferrari, “eliminating a leading championship contender” – let’s not forget, that’s exactly what Romain was banned for in Belgium.

 What are your thoughts?

Is Romain Grosjean a liability, or a scapegoat?


Craig Norman
Badger GP Editor

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