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Romain's roller-coaster year ends on a high // Grosjean wins the Race of Champions and gets a new contract too

Published by Christine

Grosjean takes a breather
Grosjean takes a breatherCredit: LAT Photographic

Lotus have finally revealed their full driver line-up for the 2013 season, confirming Romain Grosjean alongside Kimi Räikkönen. The news comes as the icing on the cake for the French driver, who spent his weekend in Bangkok, winning the Race of Champions. In fact, he didn't just win but toppled Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher and Tom Kristensen to earn himself the trophy, which really is bordering on champion of champions status.

The good news comes at the end of a long and emotional year for Grosjean (and his fans). After starting the season with two retirements in a row, he then found his way onto the podium three times - in Bahrain, Canada and Hungary. The following race in Belgium proved the undoing of all his good work, as the first lap crash and the subsequent penalty saw him with a one-race ban for the Italian Grand Prix.

With his name attached to many first lap incidents, and a one-race ban to boot, Grosjean's F1 stock fell quite considerably. However, the Lotus team always appeared to support him. Team boss Éric Boullier was quick to point defend his driver at the time, suggesting that he could only learn from the experience.

Quiet riot

Learn he did, although the ban wasn't to be the end of his incident-heavy season. The season ended quickly and quietly for Romain, with his teammate Kimi Räikkönen confirmed for another year but no word on the second seat. It's taken Lotus three weeks from the last race in Brazil to make this announcement, and it's not too much of a surprise. There haven't been a heap of rumours of other drivers attached to the seat, and, with their previous support of Romain, it always seemed likely Lotus would give him another chance.

Where the rubber meets the road
Where the rubber meets the roadCredit: LAT Photographic

The question we will be asking this year is if he really has learned from his mistakes of 2012. There have been some highs and plenty of lows, and it's the mark of a good driver to take all that has happened on board and build on it for the future. He says he has.

I’m really looking forward to rewarding their faith when we take to the track in Australia. I learnt a lot in my first full season in Formula 1 and my aim is to put these lessons into practice with stronger and more consistent performance on track next year.

- Romain Grosjean

I'm sure I'm not the only one to hope this is the case, and not just some pre-season PR talk. When Romain is good, he's got the makings of being very good, it's just a matter of taming the unpredictability and the tendency to put himself in dangerous positions. I'm glad he's been given a second chance - most drivers deserve that. Let's just brush over the fact it's actually a third chance.