’86-’87 generation were overlooked by top F1 teams · RaceFans

by Nov 23, 20200 comments


Romain Grosjean says he was part of a generation of drivers who were overlooked for places at top Formula 1 teams.

The Haas driver confirmed last month he will not remain with the team for the 2021 F1 season. Grosjean told the In The Pink podcast does not expect to find a drive with another team.

“I think next year definitely I won’t be racing in Formula 1,” he said. “Never say never but it looks like the grid is a full and there isn’t any seat. Does that mean that in the future there won’t be any seats opening? I don’t know. But for now I know that most likely or 99.9% I won’t be racing in Formula 1 next year.”

Following a short-lived debut with Renault in 2009, Grosjean returned as their full-time driver three years later. However the team, later renamed Lotus, ran into financial trouble. While his team mate Kimi Raikkonen moved to Ferrari, Grosjean moved to the new Haas outfit in 2016.

Grosjean made his F1 debut in 2009

“Maybe the only regret that I have is that Lotus went bankrupt in 2014,” said Grosjean. “After a brilliant 2013 we were on the path of going somewhere well, and I didn’t get an offer from a top team at that time. Kimi went to Ferrari and I stayed at Lotus and we just went down. It’s very hard to recover when you’ve been in a team that is close to the back of the field.

“Then I took the Haas challenge, which was a great experience as well. But sadly the last two years we didn’t quite get up to speed or engage second after a great start. I guess that’s the only regret.”

Grosjean acknowledged there were also areas where he could have improved. “Yes, I have made mistakes,” he said. “I have spoken too much sometimes, but I always say what I what I feel. I admit when I’m wrong after. But I know I could have won some races.

“There’s no regret in not winning a race because I know every time I had a chance I tried as much as I could and I did everything I could. I would say maybe the only regret is that after 2013 I didn’t really get a chance to have a car that was competitive and carry the momentum.”

Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
2021 F1 drivers and teams

Grosjean believes he is one of a number of drivers who missed the chance to join top teams because of the time they arrived in the sport.

“If I think about it, maybe the ’86/’87 generation was the wrong one to be in. Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, myself, even Sebastien Buemi a little bit. We all came at a time when the top seats were taken, the old guys wouldn’t leave Formula 1 yet and the young ones just came after and we kind of never really got our chance. It’s just the way it is, there’s not much you can control about that.

“Being 10 years in Formula 1 has been incredible and I think I’ve achieved what I wanted to. Obviously, you always want to be world champion, but you discover that with without the right tool, there’s no chance.

“Hopefully that will change in the future because I think it would bring Formula 1 in a much better place if it wasn’t just dominated by a team – which is doing an incredible job, absolutely beautiful – but also a bit sad for the racing part where they are just too strong for the others.”

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