Why did Romain Grosjean’s “dirty” reputation in F1 resurface in IndyCar? | F1
After stopping his F1 career at the end of 2020 following his fireball crash in Bahrain, Romain Grosjean moved to IndyCar.
Grosjean’s raw speed has never been in question, with the Frenchman finishing on the podium 10 times in F1.
While his speed was there, Grosjean often found himself in crashes, even getting a racing ban in 2012 for causing a dramatic multi-crash at Spa-Francorchamps.
His IndyCar career was less eventful but Grosjean started to ruffle the feathers of some of his rivals.
After the final IndyCar round at Barber Motorsports Park, Graham Rahal slammed Grosjean for his wheel-to-wheel fight.
“I think the drivers need to come together – all of us – because I’m not the only one who has a problem. It’s quite a number of drivers who have had run-ins with this guy,” Rahal said.
“As I said on TV, when the tables are turned, the refereeing had better be consistent…because it’s going to be reversed at some point. I’m not going to play nice. This guy has overstayed his welcome.
Rahal then referred to his F1 career: “I let you decide. But as another pilot on the show told me, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, and that’s sort of his reputation throughout his career in Europe and we’re learning fast his reputation here,” he added. .
“So for me if race control won’t do anything then they won’t do anything but when we go and kick it they better not do anything to me – which in the past I’ve been penalized for much less than that.
Is the reputation of “dirty” perceived by Grosjean fair?
We take a look back at some of the most memorable incidents of his F1 career.
F1 racing ban
After making his debut in 2009 with Renault, Grosjean returned to F1 for 2012 after winning the GP2 Series.
Grosjean and Lotus started the season strong with a third-place finish at Albert Park, but his form quickly faltered.
Struggling for performance, things got worse for Grosjean when he was suspended for one race after colliding with several cars at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Grosjean misjudged the run to Turn 1, colliding with Lewis Hamilton which resulted in carnage in the first corner.
It was a costly day for title contender Fernando Alonso, who could argue that Grosjean’s first-lap driving cost him the title from Sebastian Vettel at the end of the season.
‘Crazy first round’
Things did not improve for Grosjean as he was involved in another first lap collision, this time at Suzuka with Mark Webber.
Grosjean erred in Turn 1 on the opening lap, crashing into Webber’s Red Bull.
The Aussie was understandably unhappy after the race, describing Grosjean as a “first-lap lunatic”.
Grosjean had a better 2013 campaign but still tended to stumble, doing so three times in Monaco.
“I think Ericsson hit us”
One of Grosjean’s most embarrassing incidents came during the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Racing in the top eight in Baku, Grosjean lost control of his Haas dramatically under the safety car.
Grosjean spun of his own free will but initially his race engineer Ayao Komatsu thought Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson had rammed him.
“I think Ericsson hit us,” a radio message that became a social media meme for years to come.
Grosjean’s first-lap spin of the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix added to his difficult start to the year.
He lost control of his Haas at Turn 3 on the first lap, running back into the path of Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly – forcing all three cars out of the race.
Hulkenberg was unimpressed with the incident, saying Grosjean must have looked in the rear-view mirror for his error, as the stewards handed him a three-place grid penalty for the following round.
Teammates get tangled
Grosjean repeatedly tangled with Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen on the first lap of the British Grand Prix in 2018 and 2019, as well as a separate incident at the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix.
In the Silverstone incident in 2018, the pair were side by side at Turn 3 on the opening lap before Grosjean slid into his teammate, severely damaging the floor of Magnussen’s Haas car.
The incidents didn’t stop there for Grosjean as he crashed with Renault’s Carlos Sainz in Copse, with the stewards eventually ruling it out as a racing incident.