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?

 

  1. People are being harsh on him, I agree he does need to sit down and be spoken too but for those calling for him to be sacked are being a bit silly. As said in the article, he hasn’t caused all his accidents and that really needs to be pointed out to be people, the guy is quick and as soon as his driving calms he could be something special. People seem to forget that Maldonado has caused some stupid accidents in the past couple of years which have been intentional, all his fault and sometimes worse than what little accidents Grosjean has caused.

  2. Avatar of EmTheEmu

    I agree that people are being too harsh on Romain, but at the same time the criticism’s justified. To me he seems to be lacking some spacial awareness at the start of races, being over-eager and focusing too much on getting past the driver in front of him. By now he should really know when to push and when to back off. Nothing that can’t be ironed out with more experience though, and he’s clearly a talented driver when he can stay out of trouble, so I hope Lotus stick by him despite the reputation he’s developing.

  3. If I were Renault, I would consider looking for another driver. Grosjean has spent the last 5 years in F1 and GP2. How much longer are the team expected to wait for him to mature and gain experience? He must be a very slow learner if Renault are expecting his driving habits to change dramatically after all this time.

    In the meantime his mistakes are costing the team valuable points (not to mention costing valuable points for whichever drivers he tangles with). Raikkonen has scored almost twice as many points in 2012. Renault are only 24 points behind Ferrari in the Constructors and I can’t help thinking they’d be ahead if a competent, consistent driver were in Grosjean’s seat. Renault are arguably the 3rd best car on the grid, and it will be a massive shame if they don’t get a race win this year. I don’t think a driver who blows point-scoring opportunities on such a regular basis deserves a seat in a top team.

  4. The kid is lightning fast, he will dial our the errors and win a WDC one day.

    People are being harsh, just remember Hamilton spent most of his time bashing into Felipe last year and no one mentioned him getting banned.

  5. Professional driver or professional hazard? At this level these events should to be happening with such regularity. He has been given many a slapped wrist and told to get a grip, then hit with a ‘one race sabbatical’. At what point does he begin to understand that races generally are not won at turn one but huge penalties to team, championship chances and lives can be wrecked. The GPDA need to call him in and tell him how it’s going to be if he wants to stay in F1 and his team need to manage him properly, as the costs they are incurring must be soaring, with lost points in the championship, car parts and fines. If he continues to behave like this thy will begin to strt thinking whether hey need the hassle. It is true he is a great talent BUT this first lap mist that he gets caught up in has got to be lifted immediately.

  6. I think people are too harsh, Webber has every right to be frustrated at the end of another long weekend but Grojean despite his first lap calamities has been quite impressive showing real speed, I dare say he is faster than his teammate but at the end of the day points result in prizes and Kimi has finished every lap this season hence why Kimi has around double the points tally – if he can just settle down and get out of this mental slump (and ALL top drivers go through something like this at some point in their career) he’ll be one of the top drivers contesting for the WDC assuming Lotus continue to build on what has been a pretty solid car for next season.

    I’d be much more concerned about the likes of Maldanado rather than Grojean during the weekends.

  7. Liability. They should give Grosjean a 10 place “penalty” for the remaining races of the
    season. And I say “penalty” because it would actually be a favor. Look at it this way: since he would start at the back of the grid, he would face less pressure and have the peace of mind to master the starts, thus helping him to learn and regain his confidence. Since the championship contenders would be at the front of the grid, the
    “penalty” would reduce the chances of him dangerously “eliminating a leading championship contender”, thus reducing the chances of getting another harsh penalty (e.g., ban or worse). Also, he would have free choice for his tyres, so he would have a more flexible race strategy. Since he has a fast car and he is a fast driver, he would
    overtake the slower mid-field cars, thus providing the viewers with entertaining overtaking manoeuvres. Because of the flexible strategy and fast car, he would end up earning points, which is preferable to his present predicament. And if he doesn’t end up in the points, he could always blame his “penalty”.

    But seriously, it’s quite surprising to see such a nervous F1 driver. And to think that he snubbed the advice of Sir Jackie Stewart

Let us know what YOU think...