Birthdate: April 17, 1986
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Children: Simon, Sacha and Camille
Coming off nine consecutive seasons of Formula One competition in which he scored 10 podiums including two career-best second place finishes, both coming in North America (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada and Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas), Romain Grosjean is making his NTT IndyCar Series debut in 2021 with Dale Coyne Racing with RWR aboard the team’s #51 entry.
Throughout his time in Formula One, the Frenchman showcased the speed and consistency that was a hallmark of his highly decorated junior career where he collected multiple championships and numerous race wins.
The 2003 season marked Grosjean’s first foray into open-wheel racing after having started his career in karting in 2000. Racing in the Formula Renault 1.6 Swiss Championship, Grosjean steered his way to a clean sweep of 10 wins from 10 races to earn his first motorsport title. From there he graduated to the French-based Formula Renault 2.0 Championship, earning one win in 2004 before going on to launch another championship assault in 2005.
Recording 10 wins to claim the title that season, Grosjean’s next step was to move up to the prestigious Formula 3 Euro Series – a proving ground for numerous racers including many of his Formula One contemporaries such as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
Learning both the car and the circuits in 2006, Grosjean finished the season with one podium to his credit and a 13th-place classification in the points. Switching teams in 2007 and armed with a full year of experience, Grosjean’s second season in the Formula 3 Euro Series paid dividends. Recording six wins, Grosjean captured the championship with a round to spare and, in doing so, caught the attention of two major teams that would help advance his career.
KNOCKING ON FORMULA ONE’S DOOR
First, he was announced in 2008 as a test driver for the Renault F1 Team – the factory squad that had recently claimed back-to-back world titles with Spain’s Fernando Alonso. At the same time, he confirmed he would compete in Formula One’s official feeder category, the GP2 Series, now known as F2.
Racing for two-time GP2 Series champions ART Grand Prix, Grosjean’s 2008 season started on a high as he contested and won the inaugural GP2 Asia Series, held before the regular GP2 Series got underway. Four victories from five double-header rounds secured Grosjean yet another championship. He would go on to score two regular-season GP2 wins en-route to a fourth overall finish in the category in 2008.
Opportunity knocked in 2009 as his role of test driver with the Renault F1 Team suddenly translated into that of full-time Formula One driver. Given the chance to contest the final seven rounds of that season’s Formula One World Championship while partnering with Alonso, Grosjean’s debut came at the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain in August 2009. His best finish was 13th at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
While Grosjean maintained his relations in Formula One as a test driver for tire manufacturer Pirelli in 2010, he turned his talents to a variety of racing commitments. He contested the Auto GP Series with DAMS, ably steering his way to four victories and the series title. At the same time, he joined the FIA GT1 World Championship with Matech Competition. Showing his versatility driving a GT car as opposed to an open-wheel machine, Grosjean won in his first time out for the team and collected a second victory before the season was done.
DAMS also gave Grosjean the opportunity to return to the GP2 Series, which ultimately led to a full-time race seat with the team for 2011 – a platform that would propel Grosjean back into Formula One full-time.
His return to GP2 in 2011 bore immediate success. He once again claimed the GP2 Asia Series title before setting himself up for a shot at the GP2 Series crown – the one championship that had so far eluded his grasp. Grosjean didn’t disappoint, leading DAMS to the top step of the podium five times to finally be crowned GP2 Series champion with a 35-point lead.
FULL-TIME FORMULA ONE CAREER
Grosjean’s successes in 2011, combined with his test role with Lotus Renault GP, finally elevated him back into Formula One full-time for the 2012 season. Partnered alongside Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, Romain earned a race seat with Lotus F1 Team.
Qualifying third on the grid for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix behind former World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, Grosjean’s pace was showcased perfectly – a trait that would be evidenced throughout the season. His first career Formula One podium finish came just three rounds later as he claimed third at the Bahrain Grand Prix. A second-place finish in Round 7 at the Canadian Grand Prix remains his career-high, while a third podium finish in Hungary followed. Grosjean placed eighth in the driver standings at the end of the year, having scored 96 points in his first full-time season.
Grosjean matured behind the wheel as he competed in 2013, and his consistency impressed the sport’s observers as he built on the foundation he laid the previous season. Demonstrating an ability to extract the most from his machine and its tires, he raced his way to a total of six podium finishes that year, including a run of three straight in Korea, Japan and India. He equaled his grand prix career-best finish of second at that season’s United States Grand Prix. Seventh overall in the final driver standings, Grosjean’s points-scoring consistency led to a tally of 132 points for his best finish to-date in Formula One.
The 2014 season saw the introduction of a new engine formula, with turbochargers returning to the sport for the first time since 1988. The development curve was steep for many teams. Grosjean recorded two eighth-place finishes in Spain and Monaco, but regularly outpaced his teammate throughout the year.
There was renewed energy for Lotus F1 Team and Grosjean as they kicked off the 2015 season buoyed by a new power unit. Able to challenge at the front of the grid once again, points-paying finishes became a regular feature for Grosjean and he returned to the Formula One podium in August with a stellar drive to take third at the Belgian Grand Prix.
On Sept. 29, 2015 in a press conference at Haas F1 Team’s headquarters in Kannapolis, North Carolina, it was announced that Grosjean would bring his experience and ambition to Haas F1 Team – the first American Formula One team in 30 years.
Grosjean made his presence known immediately when Haas F1 Team’s debut season began. He finished a solid sixth in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and then followed it up with an even more impressive fifth-place result in the second race of 2016 at the Bahrain Grand Prix. When the season was over, Grosjean had scored all 29 of Haas F1 Team’s points to place it eighth in the constructor standings. It was the highest point tally for a new team in this millennium, for when Jaguar debuted in 2000 and when Toyota came on the scene in 2002, each entity managed only two point-paying finishes in their entire first seasons for a combined total of six points.
Grosjean backed up those drives in Haas F1 Team’s sophomore year in 2017, collecting eight top-10 finishes with a best of sixth in the Austrian Grand Prix. He scored a total of 28 points to maintain the team’s eighth-place standing in the constructor ranks.
In his third season with Haas F1 Team, Grosjean gave the team its best finish, scoring a fourth-place finish in Round 9 at the Austrian Grand Prix and went on to finish 14th in the championship standings with 37 points thanks to seven top 10 finishes.
Over the course of the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Grosjean picked up four top 10 finishes with a best finish of seventh at the 2019 German Grand Prix. The Frenchman would see his Formula 1 career come to an earlier than expected end with the world watching as he escaped a fiery crash in the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix on November 29, 2020.