Grosjean to drive in practice at final rounds

2011 F1 season

Romain Grosjean, 2011

Romain Grosjean, 2011

Romain Grosjean will drive for Renault in two practice sessions before the end of the season, the team have confirmed.

The GP2 championship winner will drive in the first practice sessions at the Abu Dhabi and Brazilian Grands Prix.

Grosjean, who started seven races for Renault at the end of 2009, has been tipped to drive for the team in 2012.

Team principal Eric Boullier said: “Romain has been part of the [Renault] family since February and we feel this is an appropriate time to give him a chance to drive for us during two free practice sessions.

“Putting his skills to the test in two consecutive Friday sessions will offer him precious experience of driving the R31 during a race weekend and will make him a better driver.

“I?m sure that his feedback will be useful for the team, especially as he raced in F1 only two years ago. Since then, he has improved in every area and I?m sure he?ll do a good job for us. We will be able to do this without compromising our usual Friday set-up work in any way, and as of free practice two at both race weekends, Bruno and Vitaly will return to their cars.”

Grosjean said: “It will be a big responsibility for me and my priority will be to do the best job I can for the team.

“I know all the team?s mechanics and engineers, am familiar with the methodology and processes and I know the two tracks I?ll be testing on. I also feel that the racing I did in the GP2 Series this year will stand me in good stead fitness-wise.

“Finally, I did some F1 testing for Pirelli during the winter at the beginning of this year, so the tyres shouldn?t be too alien to me. I believe all the right elements are in place to make this a great experience, and I don?t feel too much pressure going into this.”

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27 comments on Grosjean to drive in practice at final rounds

  1. Ben Everard (@beneverard) said on 29th October 2011, 9:26

    Good, I think Grosjean deserves another crack of the whip.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th October 2011, 10:37

      I tend to agree with the 5Live commentators who pointed out that the best drivers – the Vettels annd the Hamiltons and Alonsos of the grid – have been absolutely switched on from the moment they stepped into the car. It’s like when Paul Stoddart descirbed Fernando Alonso’s 2001 Japanese Grand Prix as “fifty-three qualifying laps”, or when Lewis Hamilton finished his first nine races on the podium. It’s the X-factor that you see in a driver and straight away, you know he or she will go far.

      Romain Grosjean doesn’t have that.

      • To be fair to Grorjean, and I was very critical of him in 09 iirc, almost all of those drivers had testing before their débuts (I read somewhere that Alo didn’t) plus Grosjean was thrown into Renault when they were at one of their most fraught moments.

        • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 29th October 2011, 12:19

          @Steph Alonso had at least one – legendary – test at Minardi. They had asked him not to drive too hard, but when hè went on track, they heard their car going full speed in tha distance. When they confronted Alonso, hè said: ‘But I wasn’t going fast’…

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th October 2011, 12:27

        No he doesn’t. But that does not mean he does not deserve a chance to show us what’s in him.

        I think he deserves a chance to do so.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 29th October 2011, 14:52

        I still think that being in a team that was very much a prop for Alonso and ran a 2nd car just because they had to didn’t really give him a huge chance to shine.

      • snowman (@snowman) said on 29th October 2011, 16:11

        I agree with the commentators as it seems if the driver is going to be really special it shows straight away. Like Schumacher’s Jordan test at Silverstone where they thought the track was changed because he was that fast.

        But the thing is Grosjean doesn’t have to be anywhere near good as them to be better than Petrov or Bruno.

  2. phildick (@phildick) said on 29th October 2011, 10:26

    So it seems like he’s the most probable Kubica’s replacement.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th October 2011, 10:39

      Where are you getting that from? For one, Kubica’s future has not been decided. And two, Grosjean could get into the car in Abu Dhabi and again in Brazil and be horrendously off the pace. Renault are no doubt assessing him as a potential replacement for Kubica should Kubica be unfit to race, but this is by no means a guarantee of a race seat in 2012.

      • phildick (@phildick) said on 29th October 2011, 12:12

        That’s exactly what I meant. Perhaps my English is not perfect but I didn’t write that he would replace Robert. Only that >in my opinion< he’ll most probably have this seat if Kubica isn’t fit on time. I didn’t write there’s a guarantee. Where are you getting that from?

        P.S. Good luck in achieving the F1Fanatic’s Biggest Number of Comments Award ;)

  3. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 29th October 2011, 11:13

    Surprised this hasn’t happened sooner, I expected him to be in the moment he won GP2 for evaluation. But doesn’t this also mean he can’t do the special GP2 race at Abu Dhabi, or is it special rules for a non-championship race?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th October 2011, 11:19

      Surprised this hasn’t happened sooner
      Renault were also expecting to make a decision on Kubica sooner.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 29th October 2011, 11:41

      Probably he wouldn’t have competed in the GP2 final anyway, as it gives non-championship points and its aim is to evaulate young drivers.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th October 2011, 11:43

        @fixy Wouldn’t he be ineligible anyway under the rules? The championship is over and he is a GP2 champion so presumably he wouldn’t be able to race.

        • Fixy (@fixy) said on 29th October 2011, 12:00

          @keithcollantine I don’t remember such a rule: for instance Leimer, who competed in GP2 this year, will take part in the final round. But as the target of the race is to get young drivers tested in front of the F1 teams and used to a GP2 weekend, it is unlikely that ,after all the GP2 experience he has and the near-impossibility that he will be in GP2 again next year, he will race then.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th October 2011, 12:05

            @Fixy But Leimer hasn’t won the championship. What I’m saying is former GP2 champions can’t return to the series.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th October 2011, 12:21

            But the race in Abu Dhabi is considered a part of the 2011 championship, even if there are no points on offer. Because of its non-championship status, teams are willing to run unknown drivers, kind of like the GP2 Asia series.

          • Fixy (@fixy) said on 29th October 2011, 12:29

            @keithcollantine I admit I wasn’t aware of such a rule, but as @prisoner-monkeys says the race is considered part of the current season, so Grosjean theoretically could drive, but probably won’t as teams wish to evaluate drivers for 2012.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th October 2011, 12:37

            Unless DAMS find someone who they feel will be The Next Big Thing in GP2 and decide to put him or her in the car alongside Grosjean as a test of their abilities since Grosjean cannot compete in 2012.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 29th October 2011, 15:05

            I also thought he’d be eligible as it is still the 11 season. Would be silly to have a non-championship season finale without the actual champion. Otherwise why was he allowed to race at the last event having already won the series?

            To be honest, I didn’t even know the rule existed though. It seems quite sensible.

  4. geminict said on 29th October 2011, 12:48

    Grosjean deserves more than to test given Senna’s appalling form he should be given his race seat.

    • Dizzy said on 29th October 2011, 14:48

      He isn’t doing an appauling job, He’s outqualified his team mate several times & has shown solid race pace including scoring points at monza.

  5. matthewf1 (@) said on 29th October 2011, 13:01

    My guess is that for next year it will be:

    Kubica or Grosjean for one seat (ie Boullier’s pick)

    and

    Senna or Petrov for the other seat (ie the pay driver)

    My guess would be that Kubica won’t be the same or 100% fit in time, so Grosjean will get the nod. I would go for Petrov for the other seat, I think he’s made a big improvement this year. He seems to be developing into a very good qualifier.

    As for Grosjean not being good enough, it’s too hard to say I think, I mean he first came in to partner Alonso. Just looking at the driver’s standings for this year, I mean Alonso is ahead of a Red Bull in his Ferrari for goodness sake. Now that’s impressive.

    • geminict said on 29th October 2011, 13:29

      In terms of raw qualifying speed Grosjean was closer to Alonso than Petrov was to Kubica. If Kubica is not able to come back Grosjean and Petrov would probably be as good as they could expect, although Adrian and Rubens will be looking for seats. We can count Adrian out and Rubens is unlikely to be any faster than Petrov (he is no faster than Pastor) and the team is in deep financial trouble so it will need sponships.

  6. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 29th October 2011, 14:12

    Good thing he deserve an opportunity probably this will put even more pressure on Petrov & Senna to perform well.Good job by Renault.

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 29th October 2011, 17:59

    Sounds good to me. Assuming they will allow him to do some qualifying-like runs it will be interesting to see how he compares to his team mates.

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