Romain Grosjean, Renault, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Grosjean takes Petrov’s place alongside Raikkonen

2012 F1 season

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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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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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237 comments on “Grosjean takes Petrov’s place alongside Raikkonen”

  1. Am surprised at this – as I thought Petrov had done well this year.

    Pleased for Grosjean though – this says it all

    1. I agree. I didn’t see this happening, am pleased for RoGro, and bummed for Petrov and Senna.

      Can’t wait to see what this driver pairing can do next year. I hope the team can recover from the exhaust debacle and all the loss of personnel, to give these guys a competitive car.

      1. I’m bummed for Senna. He really didn’t get enough time in the car to really prove himself. I would have loved to see a Kimi – Bruno pairing.

    2. Another silly and rushed decision by renault.. They haven’t learned anything from Heidfield/Senna swap. Just wondering who’s gonna take Gosjeans place after first few rounds in 2012..

      1. What? Replacing an unspectacular meh of a driver (Petrov) with a driver thats been consistantly winning races and 2 titles, including the feeder series since his been out of the car.

        Seems like an eminently sensible choice to me. Raikkonen is the risk Grosjean is obvious.

        1. Oh yes how unspectacular his podium place in Australia was.

          1. So? Heidfeld got a podium in Malaysia, what does that prove?

          2. It proves that Nick was quick too. Given a good car they both got the job done.

      2. gro will be replaced with kubica, they hope so.

        1. A good flavor of pop tart then, as Kubica is the man!

    3. done well? hahaha, when? where? who? :)
      petrov, heidfeld and senna were all miserable.

    4. Tom M in Australia
      9th December 2011, 10:44

      this says it all

      “Oh shut up!”

      1. there we have, the best pass(es) of the year :)

        1. pffff. The 2011 GP2 grid was full of numpties. Grosjean was simply the best of a bad bunch just like Maldonado was. That pass could never happen in F1.

          You only have to watch the 2011 Monaco GP2 qualifying to see this is true. clowns.

          1. LOL
            Hadn’t seen that actually, that was good entertainment

          2. Wow. What a bunch of amateurs, especially Grosean

          3. That is hilarious. Like children in go karts. Lost children.

          4. That was really funny untill grosjean almost killed his team m8.

          5. I don’t think Grosjean should have been given another crack, personally. Kimi’s gonna take that guy to school. I honestly think sticking with Petrov would have been the better choice (but still not that good a choice). The verdict is still out on Senna, IMO. Hopefully Kubica recovers as soon as possible & takes his rightful place. Maldonado’s another one who doesn’t have the chops for F1 either. Hulk should be in that Williams.

          6. OMG! Those GP2 2011 Monaco qualifying highlights are unbelievable! Grosjean’s team mate was very very lucky there. What a bunch of numpties!!

    5. this says it all

      Typical GP2 drivers, do they not realise that exciting racing requires them to only make one, and only one, move?

      Who the hell wants to see drivers defending and attacking by moving their cars on the race track?

      GP2 is just barbaric, why they don’t even give a gentlemanly advantage to the attacking car I’ll never know. Hell, they even have the all drivers driving the same machinery!

      What rightminded motorsports enthusiast wants to see a level playing field, honestly? I just don’t get it.

      1. Graham228221, I respect your opinion but I don’t see your point. The above youtube video looked like exciting racing to me.
        Ref this is considered a classic F1 fight for the lead.
        But we’ll never see it again with the way the rules are heading. Pitty

        1. *sarcasm

        2. @Grammo I think @graham228221 was being sarcastic.

          1. :) I’ll put my foot back in my mouth

        3. Ref this is considered a classic F1 fight for the lead.

          That would be at least 10 drive through penalties in today’s F1. :-(

        4. Pretty sure the fight was for 2nd place, but your point is taken.

    6. I wouldn’t have bet on him getting the seat – but I’m happy he has!

  2. I would guess that Petrov and Senna´s sponsors money will go as well… bye bye to both of them…

    1. Surely that puts both of them in the running at Williams though with their sponsor money.

      1. some teams are hungry with Petrov’s $15 million.

        1. other lotus? to replace jarno perhaps?

        2. I think Williams would have been smarter to take Petrov over Maldonado. Pastor has money, yes, but Vitaly also has that plus he knows how to drive an F1 car. Vitaly and Rubens = money, pace, and experience. Perfect team-building lineup in my opinion.

          1. I really think that is the plan. Williams don’t want to show the shareholders that they are worried that the PDVSA money will be denied by the Venuzuelan gov. So they publicly confirm Maldonado while secretly signing Petrov as his replacement for anouncement when the news hits of the PDVSA exit.

          2. If Di Resta and Hulkenburg get the Force India seats then Sutil is a much better option for Williams if Maldonado stays.

            And Petrov and Barrichello didn’t exactly do a great job of developing their current cars this year did they? Petrov and Maldonado are pretty much interchangeable in what they bring to the team in my opinion. They have backing from sponsors but are both pretty average F1 drivers.

          3. @The-Last-Pope Oh, I so hope you’re right…

            (Sorry for the late reply!)

    2. I think Senna might return to a test driver role at Renault.

    3. Not only will their sponsor money go but i would think… they must have to pay petrov off because he was contracted for another year. Unless renault was able to terminate the contract for his “outburst”.

  3. Big news to wake up to! Good on Grosjean.

    And all this after waking up from the most bizarre dream where Keith was handing out F1 Fanatic medals……..!

    1. Did you have a dinner with Bernie?

      1. There’s definitely some Bernie influence there, isn’t there….

  4. I can’t reconcile in my mind whether I think Grosjean deserved a seat more than Petrov deserved to keep his seat. Grosjean really does deserve a second chance in F1, that’s for sure. I honestly don’t think this means Petrov is finished in F1 either.

    1. And what about Senna… does anyone see him getting a seat in a good team… We are talking about the second time he is out of seat in two years, and I will guess is not speaking well about his future as driver… I´m not one to talk about legacy but I don´t think the last namer is helping him either…

      1. So Kubica is now DEAD. Looks like the writing is on the wall….there is no new talk of his return, at all, other than maybe someday down road. Damaged drivers don’t come back. Such a shame.

        1. Not at all i suspect he’ll go to ferrari in 2013 he may not still have *it* that remains to be seen. Considering how good he was though it would be silly for any team to write him off with out even testing him.

          There was no way no how kubica was ever going back to renault after they signed kimi. They signed kimi because kubica gave them the finger in the first place.

          Sadly for bruno i think this may be it the guys 28 and you wouldn’t say he’s 2 seasons off becoming fernando alonso, not least because he probably wont even be driving next year. I do think it’s a real shame because he hasn’t had a proper run of it, from what ross brawn said after testing him in 2008 he was just as fast as rubens whilst having almost no experience in an f1 car.

          1. Kubica was overrated. Nick beat him in 2007 & 2009.

  5. This is actually excellent news for Lotus. Dumping Petrov means they don’t need his money so much, ergo the financial situation of the team is better than it was last year and two years ago. The only sponsorship coming with Grosjean is renewing the Total deal, so in fact its no new sponsorship.
    On the sports side, I think they made a good choice, though I wouldn’t like to see Petrov or Senna out of F1 for good. Marussia and Williams maybe?

    1. I wouldn’t oversee a Total sponsorship raise though.

      1. Don’t count your chickens. All teams need more money even ferrari and redbull. Eric boullier has been criticised for making foolish decisions already and this could prove to be the next one. Petrov was a solid driver last year he got a podium and points when the car was capable and he came with more money than grosjean. Grosjean is going to have to categorically out perform petrov to vindicate this move.

        Know what? i don’t think that’s possible unless renault have been working on 2012 since may. They were consistantly not even scoreing points towards the end of the season. Going from almost as slow as williams around 15th on the grid to out performing 6 of the top 8 drivers in the top teams to score a podium is going to be a huge if not impossible ask. Ferrari and mercedes look set to have much stronger seasons far ahead of renault on pace the absolute best renault can hope for right now with a season of normal races is 5th in the constructors and the last 3 points from each gp. Maybe a few more if sebastian has another crazy blow out on lap one or mark takes to the skys but still the podium will be locked out. They may even be over taken by force india they finished the season with a much faster car and with a cool 100 mill in the pocket. Sauber to were crazily strong considering the disadvantage they were at with their ebd, with the ebds gone in 2012 they should have a better season as well if they can correctly choose where and how to blow their exhaust gases.

        Short version 2012s gona be tough for renault kimi and grosjean they will probably be on maximum defense from australia all the way to brazil.

  6. Very glad to see Grosjean get a seat. He was excellent in GP2 this year and, as I wrote last year, his brief shot at F1 two years ago was about the most difficult scenario for an inexperienced driver to make their debut you can imagine.

    It’s surprising to see a moneyed driver like Petrov squeezed out with a year left on his contract (apparently he came very close to staying). But really, after two years I don’t think we’ve seen much from him to justify his place.

    That said, from the prominence given to a quote from the senior vice-president for corporate communications at Total in the press release, it looks like Grosjean has found some backing of his own.

    And, of course, who knows what consequences Petrov’s criticism of the team a few weeks ago might have had?

    Whatever else was going on, Petrov out and Grosjean in looks like the right move for Renault to me. Now they’ve got a world champion and a GP2 champion for 2012 – a promising blend of youth, talent and experience.

    Let’s not forget Bruno Senna in all this as well. I’d like to see him find a place somewhere for next year too.

    1. @keithcollantine As disappointed as I am for Petrov, you’re right. I don’t believe Petrov isn’t worthy of no seat whatsoever but yes, perhaps his time at Renault is past its best. Grosjean definitely deserved a seat. There’s no way you could justify giving Pic one without the GP2 winner having a shot.

      A bold move from Renault. No 2011 experience going into 2012.

      1. I too think that Petrov did pretty okay, though not great. But I have to agree @keithcollantine and @andrewtanner, Grosjean now having a seat is very good news, for all the reasons you gave above.

        I wonder if Senna will return to third driver role now as there isn’t much else available; and then Lotus to be will at least have one driver that has driven this years car in races, to be able to compare with the new one, as that seems to be the only slight damper on their future.

        I hope this means they found enough sponsorship to do without Petrov’s money (more from Total, some extra with Kimi?). As I said, I didn’t thjnk Petrov did very bad, but he was still fundamentally a pay driver.

        Grosjean and Raikkonen, another great pairing to look forward to next year!

    2. @keithcollantine Your argument that his first shot at F1 was tainted by a difficult environment is undermined by Grosjean admitting in the embedded video that he wasn’t a good enough driver in 2009. All the arguments you make about his GP2 skill and potential were exactly the same in 2009, the only difference was that at that point he was the GP2 Asia champion, and this year he is the “actual” GP2 champion.

      Let’s recap that season: It was out in the open, even before the season began, that Piquet was going to be ditched mid-season barring some sort of divine intervention, and that Grosjean was going to take his place. Grosjean spent the first half of the year sitting on the pitwall at race weekends, or on the team’s simulator. Yet when the inevitable happened, he was absolutely unprepared. He wasn’t physically fit enough, or mentally strong enough.

      The argument that “at his very best he wasn’t as far off his teammate as Petrov was” covers over the fact that when he wasn’t on his hot lap (which was most of the other laps of the race) he was physically unable to control the car, crashing and spinning in the most ridiculous and unexpected places. Petrov made some howlers, but how long has he been driving single seaters? 3 years, compared to Grosjean’s entire professional life. And unlike Grosjean, he improved over the course of half a year, started to come good at the end, and nabbed a podium in a car that didn’t have a lot of business being there.

      The argument is also made that “Petrov drove the R30 vs. the R29” which indicates that Petrov had more of an opportunity to do well and couldn’t measure up. However, it also means that if Grosjean couldn’t show a decent turn of speed in the R29, then Alonso couldn’t either. If it was down to GRO vs. ALO and PET vs. KUB in R30’s, I think Alonso would have ripped out an even bigger gap than Kubica did.

      You could argue he’s a talented champion replacing an unreliable pay driver. You could also argue he’s the son of a Swiss banker, who has been parachuted into a seat by his manager, who just happens to be the team principal, and is the benefactor of nothing more than nepotism, old money and entitlement by nationality. In F1, he was unreliable and a liability at worst, and mediocre at the very short periods where he was at his very best. I’ve watched Petrov drive badly and think “he can do much better than this”. I’ve never watched Grosjean and thought the same.

      Does he deserve another shot? About as much as Sebastian Bourdais does.

      1. @Hairs The Bourdais comparison is ludicrous. He had a year and a half to prove himself and plenty of testing beforehand. Grosjean arrived at short notice at a team which was in complete turmoil alongside probably the best driver in the sport.

        Why have they replaced Petrov with Grosjean? Because they’re more likely to turn a quick driver who occasionally spins into a driver who doesn’t spin, than turn a slow driver into a quick one.

        1. @keithcollantine My point is, all the pro-Grosjean argument comes along the lines of “look how well he did in other series”. Bourdais is a dominant multiple champion, against tough opposition, and is well respected across single seater, endurance racing, and other disciplines. Yet in F1, he couldn’t get the job done, and he was booted out.

          Do you really believe Grosjean is a better driver than Bourdais? I don’t, and there’s no evidence for it. Is he a “quick driver who occasionally spins”? Alonso managed to get a pole in the R29, was there ever a sign of Grosjean doing that? Petrov actually moved his car *up* the race order with quick driving, which is something I don’t recall Grosjean doing a lot of, either.

          Pirelli wouldn’t even keep him on as a tyre tester when he had no other racing commitments! The one-season Lucas DiGrassi can hold down that responsibility.

          1. @Hairs I don’t think you’re looking at the entire picture, I think you’re just grabbing any stat out of context you think might support your argument.

            Yes, Bourdais was a multiple champion – in the only big team left in a series that was on its knees.

            Yes, Alonso took a pole position in an R29 – but not while Grosjean was his team mate and thanks to running very low on fuel at that race.

            Yes, he didn’t spend long as a Pirelli tester – unlike di Grassi, he was a tester before the 2011 season had begun and Pirelli said they wanted to give the role to multiple drivers at that time to avoid favouritism.

            Having watched both of them in an awful lot of races, most of them not F1, I certainly do think Grosjean is a better prospect than Bourdais.

          2. @keithcollantine But I’m actually responding to the stats you’ve provided to support your argument.

            All I’ve done is provide an alternative interpretation (one which comes to a different conclusion).

            Stat 1: He was closer to Alonso than Petrov was to Kubica.
            Pro (your argument): That means he did a better job, and in worse circumstances.
            Contra (my argument): Rookies can’t get the best out of a car, but experienced drivers can drive to their limit. Alonso couldn’t drive to his limits in the R29, as he repeatedly complained during the year, but Kubica could in the R30, hence the difference.

            Stat 2: The team was in disarray.
            Pro: Grosjean couldn’t be expected to get the car working properly, which explains his poor results. Team was mismanaged, losing staff and sponsors left and right.
            Contra: Petrov had a much steeper learning curve to F1, and was more of a true “rookie” than Grosjean ever was, with more to learn and more to do. Grosjean sat on the sidelines for half a year watching the team and didn’t prepare. Team is still mismanaged, losing staff left and right.

            Stat 3: There’s a difference between a quick driver who spins and a mediocre driver who is at his limits.
            Pro: Grosjean’s previous results prove he’s fast and his problems can be fixed.
            Contra: A quick driver is mentally strong and determined, dragging his car up the field even when he makes mistakes. Petrov was doing that in year one. Grosjean never did in F1, and with decades of experience should have done better.

            Stat 4: Look at his GP2 form.
            Pro: He can win, overtake, and is a champion. He’s got potential.
            Contra: As you pointed out in a twitter conversation with 5Live about Abu Dhabi, overtaking/winning in GP2 with reversed grids, a lower standard of drivers, and equal machinery is a completely different prospect than F1. People who he beat in GP2 are rated more highly than him in the F1 paddock, because they’ve got a different set of skills.

            I don’t think you can accuse me of not looking at “the bigger picture” when I’m actually looking at a picture you’re giving me from another point of view….

          3. Grosjean never did in F1, and with decades of experience should have done better.

            “He caught the motorsport bug relatively late and only started karting professionally aged 14.”
            Pretty sure that 9 years isn’t ‘decades’, unless he lied about his age and is actually in his 40’s.

          4. @matt90 Replace “decades” with “years” then, my mistake. The fact remains that Grosjean had years in the F1 feeder environment learning the way the cars drive, how the teams work, and how the business operates. Petrov, according to all the accounts I’ve read, had never even sat in a kart before switching to single seaters, and as multiple F1 drivers have said, the closest thing to the way an F1 car behaves is a kart. All this puts him at a significant disadvantage to Grosjean, and makes him more of a rookie, as I said, than Romain ever was.

            Even if you assume that Grosjean and Petrov started off at an equal base of “rookieness”, ask yourself this:
            Could you ever see Grosjean having the strength to hold off Alonso in an inferior car for 39 laps, even if it was Abu Dhabi? I think he’d have buckled under the pressure and made a mistake.

          5. @Hairs The only cohesive thing in your “alternative interpretation” seems to be a desire to cast Grosjean in the most negative light possible.

            Nor am I impressed with you twisting words of mine from an unrelated discussion to try to claim I think a GP2 champion of Grosjean’s calibre does not deserve a chance in F1 – he clearly does.

            People who he beat in GP2 are rated more highly than him in the F1 paddock

            Did any of these anonymous alleged paddock-dwellers have names? Or, for that matter, the unnamed drivers they apparently think are better?

          6. @keithcollantine I need to answer these slightly out of order.

            Nor am I impressed with you twisting words of mine from an unrelated discussion to try to claim I think a GP2 champion of Grosjean’s calibre does not deserve a chance in F1 – he clearly does.

            At absolutely no point have I attempted to represent what YOU think. I take serious issue with this. Please point out in the discussion above where I have said anything even vaguely similar to “Keith doesn’t think Grosjean or a GP2 champion deserves a chance in F1”. I have not. Nor, by insinuation or suggestion, have I attempted to give that impression.

            I did not at all twist your words, nor is the discussion of what is possible in a GP2 race vs. an F1 race “unrelated”. As I went into, if we take the argument of “Past performance in GP2 shows he deserves a chance” then we have to look at what performance in GP2 actually means. Does it mean that all GP2 champions are F1 champions in the making? Does it mean that completing an overtake, or winning a race in GP2 is of the same difficulty as F1? Does it mean that the calibre of drivers competing in GP2 is the same as F1? Is running in a spec car series the same as being the driver of an F1 car, with all the additional technical work that entails?

            The reason why I brought the Abu Dhabi discussion into it is very simple, and it was not to “twist your words” at all, it is because I thought you made a very intelligent point. People were thrilled at the overtaking in the GP2 race at the track this year, and put forward the view that maybe it wasn’t all the track’s fault that F1 was boring on it. As you pointed out, there are many and varied reasons why GP2 is a better spectacle, and those don’t necessarily absolve the track of its flaws. For exactly the same reasons, I don’t think the argument “Did well in GP2” is a simple template for “Will do well in/is good enough for F1”, because there are many factors which a driver can lean on in GP2 for success that don’t exist in F1.

            The only cohesive thing in your “alternative interpretation” seems to be a desire to cast Grosjean in the most negative light possible.

            I’m not afraid to say “I don’t think he’s good enough for F1.” in reasonable, or hyperbolic tones depending on the situation – just as you are not afraid to complain about DRS in reasonable, or hyperbolic tones, depending on the situation. That doesn’t mean I’m being mean-spirited, or unfair. All I have done is make a counter argument, based on the same points of data, that you have used. Are any of my points invalid? If so, why? I have taken the trouble to go into the various arguments in support of Grosjean, and explain why I do not find them convincing. Why, in cases where both you and I are speculating about Grosjean’s potential performance either next year or in the R30, are my conclusions biased and unfair, while yours are not? Both are equally unprovable. If not saying something positive means I am guilty of having a desire to “cast Grosjean in the most negative light possible.” then surely anyone who fails to mention anything negative has a desire to “cast Grosjean in the most positive light possible.”? You have yet to actually address most of my conclusions, apart from to dismiss them all as mean spirited.

            Did any of these anonymous alleged paddock-dwellers have names? Or, for that matter, the unnamed drivers they apparently think are better?

            Kamui Kobayashi drew plaudits from team principals after his first race and year in F1, Martin Whitmarsh and Christian Horner to name two, and was given a race seat on talent rather than sponsorship. The same applies to Sergio Perez (possibly minus the sponsorship angle). Kobayashi was sitting alongside Hamilton in the FOTA forum as they were introduced as “the best overtakers in Formula 1”. At no point did Grosjean get that sort of response from anyone after his time in F1. You know this just as well as I do, as we are watching the same coverage and reading the same interviews, yet this comment looks like an attempt to insinuate that I am making things up. If I make a mistake somewhere, I am quite happy to admit it. What you think the benefit of this insinuation is, I don’t know. It does you no favours, nor am I the sort of poster who will back down meekly in the face of it. How far down the road of “stating the obvious” is it necessary to go?

            There are plenty of people arguing that “Grosjean didn’t get a fair shot in F1, he deserves the drive more than Petrov.” I argue “He was gifted a shot in F1 and squandered it by being unprepared and lacking strength, unlike Petrov, Kobayashi or Perez.”

          7. @Hairs


            I don’t mean to bump into this heated discussion, nor to cause any further heat, but I have to say I agree with Hairs point of view. But as DaveW below said, both sides have valid points, and therefore I am willing to give Grosjean the benefit of the doubt and I am very curious to see how he performs. In fact, given the situation, he will have a good chance to show some level of success up until Raikkonen gets up to speed (if he ever does). However, put Grosjean against Petrov and I have to take Petrov’s side.

            To add, reading all the comments I don’t see where Hairs has tried to

            “twisting words of mine from an unrelated discussion”

            . He has a difference in opinion and, I have to say, that opinion is perfectly valid.

            As for the following comment:

            If not saying something positive means I am guilty of having a desire to “cast Grosjean in the most negative light possible.” then surely anyone who fails to mention anything negative has a desire to “cast Grosjean in the most positive light possible.”? You have yet to actually address most of my conclusions, apart from to dismiss them all as mean spirited.


        2. I don’t think Hairs has some ulterior desire, just an occaisional excess of rhretoric.

          Both sides have valid points. However, in my view, Grosjean is likely not in the seat based primarily on talent and potential. At the end of the day, the only factor in favor of Grosjean is that he won the GP2 title. But we have seen that currency deflated since people like Hamilton and Rosberg were in that series. Maybe he has the telemetry traces of a genius, but we’ll never know.

          The idea that he had a tough situation in 2009 is not persuasive. That excuse would bring back a long list of apparently talented has-beens from Scott Speed to Bourdais. It doesn’t falsify anything. Yamamoto could make the same claim. And Hair makes a very importnat point that he was not roused in the middle of the night for a seat-fitting; he had every opportunity to prepare. The recent history of the sport proves that handling a bad car is a sign of excellence and he didn’t show it.

          Judgment for the defendant.

          As team decision, it’s not great. Petrov is not the next Alonso, but wiping out continuity in a team in need of both doesn’t seem very smart. Kimi could do with a driver in the team who knows something about the basic engineering approach, etc. He has a greenhorn next to him as he relearns the sport.

          I don’t expect much from either of the drivers. Kimi will be rusty, Grosjean will be slow/learning, and both will be working for ADD-patient Boullier who will be again on the prowl for a scapegoat if the team makes another bad car.

        3. The best driver in the sport that hamilton trounced in his first year keith?

          1. Trounced by 0 points?

          2. rookie vs double world champion who is considered to be the finest driver on the grid yes trounced by 0 points and 1 place in the drivers championship.

          3. oh sorry i ment double world champion who is considered to be the finest driver on the grid who tryed to force mclaren to use team orders against his team m8. Also tryed to have his team m8s car sabotaged, also black mailed the team and blocked the young rookie in qualy lol need-i-go-on?

      2. I think the point you are overlooking here @hairs, is what Grosjean learnt from not being successfull in F1 at his first shot at it in 2009.

        He was humbled by suddenly not being either fast nor reliable. He fell far down, then impressed in the GT sportscars, convincing DAMS/Gravity to give him a shot at GP2, where he did a couple of races last year. Evidently they saw something they liked and gave him the opportunity to go for the title with a mid grid team and prove he had learnt what it takes to build up to success.

        In my view, that shows he has a real potential to grow with Renault (Lotus) as they climb back towards success (their target, surely). Having an ex-WDC guy next to him will push him to keep that high level up.
        The fact Grosjean is TOTALly commited, just shows, how only the top4 teams do not look for a driver to more or less bring his own budget with him.

        1. @bascb It’s possible he may have, but it’s also possible he has the same faults now that he did then.

          1. Very much true @hairs, I would say we keep an eye on him then and see if he did learn, or not!

    3. Now they’ve got a world champion and a GP2 champion for 2012 – a promising blend of youth, talent and experience.

      Exactly. Happy days for Lotus/Renault then.

      It has to be said that the midfield silly season is better than it has been in a long time; alas, this cannot be said for the top teams. Massa getting the boot/Webber retiring or going to the midfield would make it interesting.

    4. I agree, They finally have found a good combination.
      (Putting aside that I feel for Kubica.)

      I think for Grosjean. This is his big chance to make it in F1. Kimi will be good, but compared to Alonso he is hardly a Goliath. And he will obviously take at least a few races to settle back in.

      I think Grosjean will know that if he beats Kimi. He’s in.

      It’s also nice to see talent beat money. (Unless Grosjean has money.) Then it’s nice to see money attract itself to talent.

      1. Talent beating money?
        2009 GP standings when Grosjean left:
        Hulkenberg: 57
        Grosjean: 45
        Petrov: 41

        Massive gulf in results, there? Petrov got into F1 with borrowed money and some sponsors. Grosjean admitted in the video above he is in thanks to money from Total and the “help” of his management team who also happen to be the owners and the team principal. That doesn’t strike me as a blow against “pay” drivers at all.

        Of the three, only one can argue they’re in F1 because of their talent alone.

        1. And that isn’t Hulkenberg, for now anyway, because by refusing to look for money and trying to rely only on talent he never actually managed to hold onto his seat. None are in F1 for talent alone. One is in because of a mixture of talent and money. The 2 others are not in F1 at all any more, not until Force India and Williams seats are sorted at least.

          And anyway, you’re ignoring the fact that that was 2009, this is now. Regardless of the quality of the field, Grosjean has gone back and proved himself since, but you aren’t considering the possibility that he has grown as a driver, you seem determined that he will only ever be as good as he was in 2009 for the rest of his career.

          1. I base my estimates of how he might perform in f1 next year on coped actually driving one. Why that’s considered less accurate than assumptions based on his driving in gp2, which is an assumption that fell flat on its face last time.

          2. my apologies for the gaps in the post, I’m using a phone and it’s not cooperating

        2. (Unless Grosjean has money.) Then it’s nice to see money attract itself to talent.

          If your going to tell me I’m wrong at least read my whole rant :D

        3. But, in his defence, all drivers have to mention the”money” when they can, that’s part of how they get it in the first place, isn’t it?

    5. Not as hard as ricciardos debut 11 races into the season driving for the joke shop team in a season where drivers as good as webber have only just got the hang of the tyres by the 19th round

    6. I don’t believe Petrov or Senna are worthy of a seat. Both are poor. Both making many mistakes you wouldn’t expect at F1 level.
      Grosjean – time will tell, at this point I’m open minded.

  7. I’m really glad to see this. Grosjean really didn’t get a fair shake at his F1 career the first time around and he’s shown this year in GP2 that he really deserves to be given a proper shot in F1. While Petrov has show some improvement this year, I don’t think he’s really done enough to justify keeping his seat at Renault over someone like Grosjean.

    I was concerned when it was announced that Kimi got a drive that Grosjean would be overlooked in favour of the financial backing that Petrov brings, but I really think this is a positive move from Renault.

    1. But how can you compare the performance of Petrov with the GP2 performance of Grosjean? The skill of Petrov (and Senna & Heidfeld) to put the Renault were it was could easily be higher than the skill Grosjean needed to win GP2. You just can’t know until they compete again in the same car.

      Personaly I would certainly go with Petrov for his expierence, IMHO it will be a huge disadvantage for the team not to have a driver with 2011 Pirreli tyre expierence. For a driver with a podium in 2011 Petrov has been very hard done by in this (just like Heidfeld).

      As Lotus, now they have chosen their race drivers they really need to keep them for a few years to maintain some consistancy. Stop using drivers and then throwing them away at the drop of a hat.

      1. Of course we did see Grosjean in an F1 car @the-last-pope, and while he didn’t challenge Alonso very much, in the circumstances of that being 2xWDC Alonso, the team having crashgate, him having hardly driven the car (any F1 car) before, he did really quite well. Combining that with an outstanding year in GP2, it says that he’s definitely worth another shot.

        1. Yes I agree that Grosjean had no chance in 2009, Really I do not even consider that an issue. My point is that the last time Petrov and Grosjean were competing in the same car (2009 GP2) they were very equally matched, both at times beating Hulkenberg. There is absolutly no proof that Grosjean is a more skilled driver than Petrov. The fact that Grosjean easily won the 2011 GP2 title only shows that the GP2 grid is less skilled/experienced than in 2009.

          1. I think the fact that Grosjean is now given the opportunity to step back up into F1, reflects the fact that Gravity, and Renault, think he learnt from his previous experience and is now a better driver then he was at the time @the-last-pope!

            Petrov was no revelation so far, if indeed he proved himself to be a solid driver and by no means undeserving to be in F1. But the team want more, so they try something new.

            I guess the team had a good offer from Total to support Grosjean and gave Petrov the opportunity to counter that amount. He must have decided not to, as they gave him until today to do so and were able to announce the news before that date.

      2. @the-last-pope Absolutely, there’s no way for me to directly compare the two. (although I’m sure Renault have some data for direct comparison given the limited testing Grosjean did for them). However, my feeling is that Petrov has not done enough to guarantee him a seat and Grosjean has done plenty to warrant being given a fair chance.

        Of course, if Grosjean doesn’t perform adequately having been given a decent chance to prove himself, I’ll be amongst the first people advocating for another promising Rookie to be given his seat.

    2. he’s older than Sebastian Vettel

      1. And? At 25 he’s not exactly over the hill. @Tifoso1989

        1. But he is older then a double world champion and showing no signs of being able to match him even if you gave him the same car. If you thought the qualy difference from seb to mark was shocking this year you have no idea how much bigger the gap could be if grosjean was in that car lol.

          1. and showing no signs of being able to match him even if you gave him the same car.

            I think the reason he isn’t showing those signs at the moment is mainly because he isn’t driving an F1 car now, or at all until after christmas, and hasn’t driven one for 2 years. It is difficult to match a double world champion in pace if you’re on foot…

          2. I don’t think age is a really good criterium there @theBrav3, Vettel is still younger then Hill was when he got his first drive. And just look at Mansell, or Button who only got better with more experience.

            Indeed, Schumacher who is 42 is arguably still a better driver than some of they guys who got to drive this year.

            It just means, that RG will probably not have an F1 career spanning over 2 decades.

          3. @matt90 take a look at the video of him almost killing his team m8 in gp 2 monaco qualy this year. It’s a few comments upwards. For any of the f1 guys it would be a walk in the park getting pole and certainly navigating their way round monaco with out loosing a front wing twice and getting air. D’ambrosio made less mistakes in an f1 car round monaco than any single driver in that whole gp 2 field.

            Bas i agree with you age isn’t the be all and end all. I would be the first to say what a brilliant job schu is doing (as i have many times) at double the age of the average f1 rookie. I think people forget when they watch him drive so brilliantly aggressively that (sorry msc) he is an old man. An old man whose still giving a mid 20’s rosberg a run for his money. I believe that even if people don’t realise it now, in 10 years time he will be even more highly regarded for his 2010 11 and hopefuly 12 and 13 seasons than his original career. However the reason he’s able to do that at 40 is because he’s been doing it since 22 years old same as rubens and to a lesser extent pedro. Who i might add has driven more test laps than many drivers have done race laps in their entire career, he knows how to drive an f1 car i’ll tell you that for free! As for hill drivers were generally older at that time but i think he’s under appreciated. I think damon was one of the finest drivers f1 has seen whilst being at a disadvantage of not having a proper root into f1. Nowadays though It’s a different sport. You get f1 drivers who aren’t legaly allowed to drink in some countrys and in the ever wise words of mikka haikkinen. “To understand the name of the game…. you’ve got to start young.”

            Lewis and grosjean are almost the same age but lewis has had 5 seasons in f1. The confidence of winning the championship and beating a double world champion in his first season. grosjean will never be able to make up that experience deficit, the only way he can ever be a champion is if like damon he was born to do it and i’m not sure he is. As for JB he came into the sport very young, he made mistakes which to be honest were probably made from trying to over drive the car. non the less he was given 9 years to make every mistake in the book and by the age of 29 with the right team be a driving god. By the time grosjean is 29 if he’s still in f1 he will have had half the experience jenson has and lewis will have. Infact he will be in his 5th year which as lewis showed this year even at that point, even if you are one of the most highly regarded drivers. Even after 5 years you can still have a terrible season. He will have to be an otherworldly talent to finish his career and be talked of in the same breath as any of the above.

          4. I don’t understand, that is completely off the point that you were making before and that I replied to.

            But yes, that was a terrible move by Grosjean. And I point you to Vettel just last year taking out his team mate and Button. And Hamilton this year. These are called mistakes.

            And I really don’t understand your age point either.

            By the time grosjean is 29 if he’s still in f1 he will have had half the experience jenson has and lewis will have.

            Why does it matter if he’ll have half the experience Lewis will have? He’ll have as much experience as Hamilton does now, and he’s a 17 times winner. Are you saying he shouldn’t enter the sport just because everybody his age has been racing a few years?

          5. Matt i made the point that he f’d up in a gp 2 car because they’re suposed to be much easyer to handle. If he ended up ontop of his team m8 in a gp2 car whats he gona do in f1? Jump the barriers and kill marshals or spectators? Maybe go for a swim in the harbor.

            “Are you saying he shouldn’t enter the sport just because everybody his age has been racing a few years?”

            I have never said that about any driver ever period. So kindly don’t insinuate such things.