A brief biography of Haas driver Romain Grosjean, including his career history and Formula One statistics
It's often said that drivers only get one shot to make it in Formula One, but if that's the case then Romain Grosjean is the exception to the rule as his route to the Grand Prix starting grid was anything other than straightforward.
Although Grosjean drives under a French license, he was actually born in Switzerland. He was a relative latecomer to motorsport and only started karting in 2000 aged 14, but within three years he had moved on to single seater racing where he won all ten rounds of the 2003 Formula Lista Junior championship. The following year he moved to French Formula Renault, and in 2005 he clinched the title while also competing in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup. After that he transferred to Formula 3 Euro Series, and once again he clinched the title in his second season in 2007. That paved the way for him to move into GP2, where he picked up the GP2 Asia title in his first season with ART while also now acting as test driver for the Renault F1 team.
Grosjean finished fourth in the main GP2 championship that year, and was mid-way through a promising sophomore season when suddenly everything changed. The Renault F1 team had abruptly parted company with Nelson Piquet Jr., and it was Grosjean who got the call-up to make his first race start in the European Grand Prix at Valencia and for the six remaining races that season. Unfortunately Grosjean struggled - his best result was 13th in Brazil - and Renault decided not to retain him for 2010. It seemed that he had missed his chance of a lasting Formula One career.
Instead, he tried his hand at Auto GP, claimed two FIA GT wins and competed in the Le Mans and Spa 24-hour races. He also made a limited number of outings back in GP2 with DAMS. Feeling that the GP2 crown was the 'one that got away', Grosjean committed himself to taking care of that unfinished business with a full-season with the team in 2011, and it was a sight to see as he picked up five wins and five further podiums on his way to a crushing championship victory. That got him noticed again by his old team in F1, now running under the Lotus name, and he got his second chance at the top level of motor sport in 2012.
Although he finished on the podium three times during the year, he also developed a reputation for some rash mistakes - most memorably causing a huge first-lap pile-up at La Source in the Belgian GP that saw him receive a one-race ban. Gradually though he settled into the role and in 2013 he finished on the podium a further six times. After that, Lotus' flagging financial fortunes saw a decline in the team's performance: Grosjean managed only one more podium appearance before deciding that it was time for him to move on, making the bold decision to join brand new team Haas for 2016. Against expectation he finished in the points in three of the first four races, but much of the season was inevitably beset by the normal teething problems of a new operation.
For 2017 Grosjean will stay with Haas and partner Kevin Magnussen.