Crash Test Dummy of the Year: Romain Grosjean
23 December, 2012
Dec.23 (Grand Prix 247) Romain Grosjean gets the Crash Test Dummy title for 2012 – for far too many incidents, which nearly cost him his drive with Lotus.
Undeniably quick Grosjean was simply too accident prone, causing a number of high profile collisions and playing ‘cameo roles’ several others. His antics at Spa cost Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton heavily and influenced the title race dramatically. He was castigated for his role and slapped with a one race ban and missed Monza as a result.
He returned somewhat subdued, but still got involved in tangles, including one with Mark Webber that earned the Frenchman the tag of ‘first lap nutcase’ from the straight talking Aussie. Lotus have confirmed him for 2013 but they took their time and made him sweat.
Here is a short overview of Grosjean’s expensive 2012 season:
- At the Australian Grand Prix, Grosjean qualified in third position, but fell to sixth at the start and retired on the second lap after colliding with Pastor Maldonado
- At the Bahrain Grand Prix he finished third, earning his first F1 podium
- In Spain Grosjean started third, finished fourth and set his first fastest lap in F1.
- On the Monte Carlo streets his race lasted 100 metres as he clipped Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes and triggered a multi-car pile-up and prompted the Safety Car.
- At the Canadian Grand Prix, he collected his second F1 podium, with second place in the race.
- At Valencia, Grosjean was running second when the car’s electronics malfunctioned forcing the Frenchman’s first mechanical-related retirement of the season.
- At the British Grand Prix, qualifying did not go as well as it might have, as right at the end of Q2 he spun into the gravel at the final corner after managing to get into Q3. Things went from bad to worse the start of the race he was involved in an incident with Paul di Resta as the Force India driver clipped Grosjean’s front wing meaning that he had to pit for a new one and compromise his race.
- At the German Grand Prix, Grosjean started nineteenth due to a gearbox penalty and finished eighteenth after picking up a puncture on lap one.
- A week later, at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Grosjean qualified second and finished third in the race behind Hamilton and teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
- As mentioned, at Spa Grosjean caused a multiple car pile-up at the start of the race, with Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez all eliminated from the race as well as Grosjean. He was handed a one race ban post-race (the first driver to be banned since Michael Schumacher in 1994), as well as a fine of € 50 000. The FIA ruled: “The stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations, which had the potential to cause injury to others. It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.”
- Grosjean was replaced for the Italian Grand Prix by Lotus test and reserve driver Jérôme d’Ambrosio.
- In Singapore Grosjean finished seventh.
- At Suzuka he collided with Webber at the first corner of the first lap.
- In Korea and India he finished seventh and ninth respectively.
- At the Abu Dhabi night race he was caught up in a multiple car Turn 1 incident and midway through the race was victim of a Sergio Perez move that also eliminated Webber.
- In Austin he finished seventh at the brand new Circuit of the Americas.
- It was another torrid finale in Brazil for Grosjean as first he hit the back of Pedro de la Rosa’s HRT in qualifying and in the race his season ended in the barriers as he slid off, of his own accord, in the tricky conditions that prevailed on the day. He summed up the incident, “I’ve not had much luck this weekend and that’s definitely not the way I wanted to end the season.”
Grosjean finished the season eighth in the championship with 96 points, 111 short of his teammate Raikkonen.
Subbed by AJN.