Team: Lotus F1 Team
Car No.: 8
Best Finish: 3rd (Belgium)
Fastest Laps: 0
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 11th
Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)
Romain Grosjean’s recent history in Formula 1 has been one of trial and tribulations. After finally shaking off his ‘crash kid’ reputation with a superb year in 2013, Lotus has since failed to offer a car capable of consistently fighting at the front of the field.
Nevertheless, Grosjean managed to make the most of the improved E23 Hybrid this season to regularly feature in the top ten, even towards the end of the season when development on the car had long since ceased.
His star turn in Belgium was a real stand-out moment for the Enstone team. On a weekend that had seen bailiffs appear at the Lotus garage and with a court date looming for the team, Grosjean put all of this behind him to charge to a third place finish, marking his first podium in almost two years.
All year long, Grosjean battled hard and took Lotus far higher up the field that it could have thought possible. Haas has scored a real coup by securing him for its debut season in 2016, while Lotus (soon to be Renault) will now have to look to Pastor Maldonado as defacto team leader. Uh huh…
Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)
Every year there is always one driver who seems destined to leave his longtime home and find out how life on the other side will be. And so it is that Romain Grosjean will have that opportunity in 2016, following a second successive season of attempting to make the most out of a midfield-at-best chassis at Lotus.
The thing that hampered, perhaps, Grosjean this year was a distinct lack of time in the car compared to anyone else on the grid. Grosjean was usually going into a weekend with at least one fewer practice session than anyone, courtesy of the necessary financials provided by reserve driver and past GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer who ran nearly a dozen FP1s. A welcome third place at Spa was no less than what he or the team deserved, always attempting to soldier on and keep a brave face despite the financial challenges.
As Grosjean moves away to Haas F1 Team next year, he’ll be hoping it matches or comes close to Lewis Hamilton’s shift from McLaren to Mercedes, or Sebastian Vettel’s from Red Bull to Ferrari… and not Fernando Alonso’s departure from Ferrari to McLaren.