Now there’s a sentence I didn’t think I would say in 2012! After all, Romain Grosjean hasn’t had the easiest year. A race ban and numerous first lap disasters saw his reputation in tatters come November leading Australia’s Mark Webber to label him “a nutcase”. All in good taste I’m sure but one can’t help but notice the begrudged feelings of certain race fans.
Alas, it seems as if the previous season is now truly in the past – including his mistakes. His rather dominant performance at the Race of Champions saw him become the surprise victor outperforming both Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher. It is important to note that this win occurred outside of a Formula 1 where the cars are almost identical.
So am I suggesting that Grosjean is the next Vettel or Schumacher? No I’m not. However it is a possible sign of what 2013 could look like for the always smiling Frenchman. A clean slate and confirmed contract at Lotus gives Grosjean the opportunity for a comeback. Indeed, this particular driver is struggling to find the balance many don’t consider – the necessary equilibrium between being a flat out racer set on a win whilst combining that with the control and composure that keeps the championship hunt alive. Once that balance is struck podiums, like the ones we saw at the start of the 2012 season, may become a regular occurrence. We all saw Kimi Raikkonen’s win!
I know many fans are against his return; Kamui Kobayashi was forced to withdrawal from his bid for a 2013 seat after the announcement. However it can not be a surprise. Eric Boullier (Lotus’ Team Principal) is his manager and his dominant display in GP2 proves that the talent is there. It wouldn’t be much of an investment on their part if he was dismissed for the sake of a few mistakes.
Of course we could sit here and argue that Grosjean’s crashes may have changed the championship. And indeed it might have; Fernando Alonso may have picked up the three extra points needed to secure the title. However Formula 1 is not a sport that you look back on with hindsight considering the ‘ifs’ and the ‘buts’. Let’s look forward to the 2013 season and hope, for his sake, that lessons have been learnt.
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