Grosjean takes Petrov’s place alongside Raikkonen

2012 F1 season

Romain Grosjean, Renault, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Romain Grosjean, Renault, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Romain Grosjean will return to F1 in 2012 as Kimi Raikkonen’s team mate.

The pair will drive for Renault, who are set to become Lotus next year.

The announcement leaves Vitaly Petrov, who signed a two-year contract with the team 12 months ago, without a drive.

Grosjean spent seven races with Renault in 2009, partnering Fernando Alonso. But he was not retained for 2010 and eventually returned to GP2. He won the feeder series championship this year driving for DAMS.

Grosjean said: “There?s a big grin on my face at the prospect of getting behind the wheel of next year?s car, and I feel very privileged to be given this opportunity.

“To be racing alongside a former world champion and someone who is hungry and returning to Formula 1 will be a great experience, and I?m sure will help raise my level of performance too.

“I feel that my successful season in GP2 has helped me mature a lot, and I am a much more complete driver than I was last time I was competing in this sport.

“Returning to Enstone as a race driver feels like coming home. I will not disappoint and I wish to thank all the people without whom this return to F1 would not have been possible. Total, [who have supported] me since 2006, and Gravity Sport Management, are first on this list.”

Team principal Eric Boullier said: “I?m delighted that Romain Grosjean will side [with] Kimi next year.

“Romain has shown a lot of maturity in the past twelve months both through his GP2 Series victory and his development as third driver with us. We were impressed when he drove for us in the first practice sessions in Abu Dhabi and Brazil.

“We are confident that drafting him in to one of our driver?s seats will help us in our rebuilding process. I would like to thank Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna for their contribution to the team?s performance this year and I wish them all the best for the future.”

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237 comments on Grosjean takes Petrov’s place alongside Raikkonen

  1. JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 9th December 2011, 16:44

    I feel sorry for Senna, I think he has proven that he has the talent and potential to be good given the chance. But with the line-up as it is at Lotus (Renault), perhaps he has a chance at Williams.

    Which, I think would be a little strange given that Williams changes its engine supplier to Renault, and correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t the Williams in 1994 powered by a Renault engine also?

  2. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 9th December 2011, 17:05

    Wow! Another surprise! So odd that Petrov won’t be on the grid with this team next year. I can see a contract being broken on the grid to get him and his money in however.

    I wish Grosjean all the best, and it’s going to be very interesting for this team next year. To announce two drivers that are ‘coming back’ to the sport as a line up after a significant time away is unusual.

  3. themagicofspeed (@) said on 9th December 2011, 17:25

    My fantasy calendar, would be:

    Ferrari – Alonso/Vettel
    Red Bull – Webber/Massa
    McLaren – Button/Rosberg
    Mercedes – Schumacher/Raikkonen
    Renault – Sutil/Grosjean
    Force India – Di Riesta/Hulkenberg
    Sauber – Kobayashi/Perez
    Toro Rosso – J E Vergne/Buemi
    Williams – Barrichello/B Senna
    Lotus – Kovalainen/Trulli
    Virgin – Algersuari/Alex Rossi
    HRT – couldnt care less.

    You’ll notice some drivers missing..
    Hamilton, Glock, Maldonado are missing, among others.

    As a Ferrari fan, i don’t ever want to see Lewis Hamilton or Timo Glock ever again…or Vitaly Petrov for that matter… not to mention the fact that judging by his attitude to rules and racing equitette, Hamilton belongs in Cadet Karts. Glock and Petrov on the other hand, are just championship wreckers (from my view, as a stubborn and opinionated Ferrari nut). Also, while ever Adrian Newey is still alive and Vettel is at Red Bull, Ferrari will never win anything ever again – solution = get Vettel in a’s a start..

    • themagicofspeed (@) said on 9th December 2011, 17:32

      fantasy grid sorry, not calendar. these are just what i would put on the grid, not necessarily everyone’s opinion of course.

    • Petrov and Glock didn’t wreck championships and I’m a huge Ferrari fan too. Glock actually gave Massa his best shot by not pitting and what messed Ferrari up was their own bad strategy (and their poor car after Spain and early mistakes in the year)

    • Estesark (@estesark) said on 9th December 2011, 21:40

      I think you’ve been quite conservative with your choices here. As a “stubborn and opinionated” Ferrari fan, you could have had something like this:

      Ferrari: Fernando Alonso, You
      Red Bull: Adrian Newey, an actual red bull
      McLaren: Jeremy Clarkson, James May
      Mercedes: Angela Merkel, Joachim Löw
      Renault/Lotus: Nicolas Sarkozy, Michel Roux
      Force India: Sachin Tendulkar, Shilpa Shetty
      Sauber: Sepp Blatter, Felipe Massa
      Toro Rosso: Silvio Berlusconi, Gianfranco Zola
      Williams: Pastor Maldonado, Frank Williams
      Lotus/Caterham: Fairuz Fauzy,
      Virgin/Marussia: Vladimir Putin, Mary of Nazareth
      HRT: Rafael Nadal, Shakira

      With no-one to challenge them, Ferrari could win every time, and wouldn’t that just be great? Perhaps you should go the whole hog and get rid of the other teams completely!

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 10th December 2011, 10:22

      perfect topic for a forum – i suggest you copy and paste this on the forum or move it there.

  4. If Sutil does not get a racing seat for next year…I will not be impressed. I don’t think Grosjean deserves a Lotus seat when there is Glock, Sutil and Kovalainen in slower cars but besides that I cant wait and see what he can do.

  5. I think Grosjean is in a very good place right now. His F1 debut was very difficult, but this time he can definitely surprise.
    Raikkonen has been out of F1 for 2 years. And Schumacher showed us that it can be very hard to jump in a car and perform better than your younger team mate.
    Obviously F1 in 2012 will not be very different compared to 2009, and Grosjean in 2012 will not have the amount of experience that Rosberg had in 2010, so I don’t think that Grosjean will be faster than Raikkonen, as Nico was against Michael.
    But the tyres are different, and Grosjean knows them quite well. We saw this season that some drivers struggled to get used to the Pirellis and if this happens to Kimi, Romain will be in a very good place.

  6. sid_prasher (@) said on 9th December 2011, 19:29

    We need a 13th team I think :)…too bad for Senna – I thought he did better than Petrov in the chances he got…

    Fingers crossed for Sutil now…maybe he should stay back at FI and then FI can rotate whoever makes lesser points in every race…

  7. Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 9th December 2011, 20:48

    I cant work this out one bit,This is surely a step back for Renault(now Lotus).

    The worst part of it is that there’s no valid reason behind Petrov being replaced by Grosjean rather than Raikkonen replacing Senna and Petrov still maintaining his seat.

    Other than Petrov’s outburst,which was understandable & honest or obviously MONEY along with Sponsorship.I really feel for Petrov,who’s done little wrong & simply couldnt deliver without a strong package.Life can be really unfair at times but we move on & let go

  8. Shane (@f1champion18) said on 9th December 2011, 20:58

    Grosjean will need to seriously up his performances from 2009 if he wants to stay at Renault! I’m still not convinced he’s a very good driver, and I think the only reason he is there is because of the French connection within the team.

  9. I hope Grosjean turns out to be good. It seems Genii capital asked for results in terms of points, which didnot happen with Petrov, Heidfeld, Senna—-so all are out. Now time for Kimi & Grosjean to perform or likley they will also have same fate next year.

  10. Dan_the_McLaren_fan (@dan_the_mclaren_fan) said on 9th December 2011, 22:02

    The title of the article should have been “Grosjean re-takes Petrov’s place alongside Raikkonen”. Technically, Petrov took Grosjean’s seat in 2010

  11. sbl on tour (@sbl-on-tour) said on 9th December 2011, 22:03

    well I hope grosjean goes well too, but he,ll probably be out on his ear at the end of the season, anyway why should I care about Boullier and his lot as he/they have taken over from Torro Rosso as my least favourite teams.

  12. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th December 2011, 23:04

    French racing drivers are like buses. You spend forever waiting for one, and then two come at once.

  13. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 10th December 2011, 6:03

    I’ve been thinking about something else that has come up recently and might have influenced Petrov and Renault: the Russian elections.

    When Petrov entered Formula 1 in 2010, he did so with the backing of the Russian government. Vladimir Putin even test-drove a Renault show car. It was part of his “macho image” campaign designed to show him off as a strong leader for Russia ahead of the upcoming presidential elections. He drove a Formula 1 car, shot a polar bear with a tranquiliser gun, and even invented his own signature move for judo bouts (he is quite possibly the only world leader who can defend himself without the need for a bodyguard).

    Putin was expecting a landslide victory in the elections, but the Russian public didn’t oblige him. Instead, he and his United Russia party have been forced to form a minority government to stay in power. The public have some confidence in him, but not enough to entrust running the entire country to Putin and Putin alone. Because Putin’s power depends wholly on the public, that power – like all political might – is entirely transient. It can change at a moment’s notice. And with Putin’s position weakened, the financial support Vitaly Petrov receives is not as secure as it has been for the past two years. I doubt this would have affected his standing with Renault, but it might influence his value with other teams unless he can find some private backing (of which he already has some).

    Perhaps the best move for him is to join Marussia, because a Russian driver in a (proper) Russian team would attract a lot of Russian sponsors. But it would probably come at the expense of Charles Pic; Timo Glock’s contract allows him to leave if he receives an offer from a top-four team, but Marussia are unlikely to give him up. If Marussia wanted Petrov, they’d have to find a way out of Pic’s contract.

    • Not only Putin’s party got majority of the seats (at least for now, courts pending), but there wasn’t presidential elections yet. And there he will win by landslide. Results of parliament elections was predicted.

      I don’t see how our elections could influenced Petrov’s contract.

      • themagicofspeed (@) said on 10th December 2011, 12:17

        It would make better commercial sense to ditch Pic (who is he anyway?), and have:

        -2 drivers with 2011 experience
        (1 driver with a lot of experience and a GP2 championship under him (Glock)
        -1 Russian driver who is reasonably quick, can bring sponsorship with him and attract more sponsors from Russia, and be an ambassador for motorsport in Russia (Petrov).

        Surely it’s a no-brainer for a struggling team like Marussia?

        If i’d been in a position to decide the drivers for 2012, i would have kept the 2nd seat open until Petrov’s future was decided, and then snapped him up when he lost his Renault seat.

        It’s too risky giving a race seat to a GP2 driver with very little F1 experience, in a team that needs strong drivers with sponsorship potential – which is exatctly what Petrov could provide.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th December 2011, 16:23

        Yeah, I bet Putin will now be very carefully planning to make sure he does win by a landslide @mr-prayer!

        He did “win” the elections now, even though he very probalby did not have enough real votes to do so in these election, but a bit of election rigging did the trick there ;-)

    • Pavel (@pchun) said on 10th December 2011, 17:42

      I’ve been thinking about something else that has come up recently and might have influenced Petrov and Renault: the Russian elections.

      I suppose decision to prefer Grosjean’s money over Petrov’s money was more commercially driven. Those Lada stickers on Lotus cars looked ridiculous taking into account widely different marketing niches of those manufacturers.
      May be there is some connection with deteriorating situation in Russia. But I doubt considerations of that sort could play decisive role in this case. Anyway Petrov’s position looked stronger than Maldonado’s for that matter. He wasn’t sponsored through 100% -government owned enterprises (like PDVSA). Government support for him isn’t popular in Russia but it didn’t cause anything even remotely approaching public outrage either (at least I didn’t hear of any opposition politicians in Russia trying to turn it into politically sensitive problem like in Venezuela).
      But I bet political considerations can return Petrov or some other Russian driver on the grid in 2013/2014 (to Marussia specifically). Russian government is heavily committed to the success of regional development programs in Southern Russia (Winter Olympics and Sochi grand prix in particular). Russian driver in Russian team on the grid of first ever Russian grand prix – sounds like a great selling point for Fomenko if he is interested in extracting some support for his team from Russian government.
      But I’m afraid for now that’s the end of it for Petrov in F1. Kosachenko has already spoken to Russian sites about some “new program for Petrov to be announced” and extended her gratitude to everyone who supported them during these two years. Presumably they are bowing out from F1 to move into some other category.

  14. Doubt it said on 10th December 2011, 10:09

    Timo Glock’s contract allows him to leave if he receives an offer from a top-four team, but Marussia are unlikely to give him up.

    That’s some contract. Anyway, why would Marussia unlikely to give him up? Glock has 4 years in F1, Petrov has 2. Glock is paid to drive while Petrov is bringing the money in.

    To me, the choice is clear: dump Glock hire Petrov and use Petrov’s money to develop the car. If the next year’s car is slow then Glock won’t make much of a difference (as he’s proved it in the last two years).

  15. themagicofspeed (@) said on 10th December 2011, 12:09

    I think it would be brilliant sense, to ditch Alguersuari and have Vergne and Buemi in Toro Rosso. Vergne impressed in the YDT at Abu Dhabi – his best time would have been good enough for 5th place on the grid, so he’s got pace – and although a bit of a live wire, fundamentally Buemi is a good racer – he has made more overtakes this year than anyone else, if i remember correctly. Alguersuari hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since his debut – neither though has Buemi so that’s a hard choice to make.

    • STR should stick with their current drivers. Vergne’s time in the YDT were irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. Ricciardo last year set a time that was 1.3 seconds than Vettel’s pole time! And look where he’s ended up. The jury is still out about his ability.

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