Michael Bailey, Formula One correspondent
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Romain Grosjean will complete Lotus’ 2013 line-up of the Formula One grid, the Hethel-backed outfit has confirmed.
The Frenchman will take his seat alongside former world champion Kimi Räikkönen for a second season.
“It’s fantastic for me to be continuing with Lotus for 2013,” said Grosjean. “It’s superb to have the support of everyone at Enstone. 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 One and my aim is to put these lessons into practice with stronger and more consistent performance on track next year.
“There are a lot of exciting developments occurring behind the scenes at Enstone and I am very excited with the prospect of the E21.”
Grosjean’s place in the team had been in doubt after a first full season lit up with quick pace and littered with big crashes – the one instigated at Spa earning the 26-year-old a one-race ban.
But Lotus will hope they get to reap the rewards of his 2012 experiences with a 2013 campaign heavy on the speed and light on the incidents.
Team principal Eric Boullier added: “Romain is a great talent and we are pleased that he is continuing with us for a second season.
“With the continuity of two exceptional drivers like Romain and Kimi we are well placed to build on our strong 2012 with even better results in the year ahead.
“Both drivers worked very well together in their first year as team-mates, and I think there is the potential of even better things from the season ahead. We were regular visitors to podiums in 2012 and we certainly intend to continue with this trend in 2013.”
All in all it has been a good end to the year for Grosjean, who won the Race of Champions on Sunday after dominating this year’s multi-discipline event in Thailand – making certain of victory with wins in the ROC Buggy and the KTM X-Bow.
“Champion of champions sounds pretty good,” said Grosjean afterwards. “It certainly feels pretty special to end my year like this. It wasn’t an easy route to the crown either; I had Sebastian (Vettel) in the quarter-final then Michael (Schumacher) in the semi-final, then Tom Kristensen in the final. Between those three drivers you’ve got 10 Formula One titles and eight Le Mans wins. To win against these guys is very special indeed.”
With Grosjean’s seat confirmed, Tuesday’s news British racer Max Chilton will step into F1 to partner Timo Glock at Marussia means only Caterham and Force India are yet to finalise their 2013 driver line-up.
Meanwhile, Lotus’ GP2 team has retained the services of Brit James Calado for the 2013 season of the F1 feeder series.
The 23-year-old finishing second in the championship behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas this year.