Does Grosjean need another holiday?

By Tony Dodgins (@TonyDodgins)

Romain Grosjean's elimination of Mark Webber at the first corner of the Japanese Grand Prix has prompted suggestions that the Frenchman needs another 'holiday' having just returned from a one-race ban for causing the first corner accident in the Belgian GP at Spa.

Grosjean's Suzuka contact was his seventh incident of a rookie season that is now 15 races old and prompted Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner to say: "He needs to talk to himself or his team needs to talk to him. He has cost his team a colossal amount of points, together with the innocent victims he has collected en route.

"At this level it's completely unacceptable to be having that number of incidents. The most important thing when you make a mistake is to learn from it and the disappointing thing about Suzuka was that it was a repeat incident. He doesn't appear to be learning.

"Hopefully he'll have a good look in the mirror or his team needs to get him under control. He's capable of doing it, he's obviously a quick driver, but so many incidents is unacceptable."

Speculation has begun as to whether any further incidents could even threaten Grosjean's future at Lotus. Horner has a valid view about lost points given that Grosjean has scored 82 this year as against Lotus team mate Kimi Raikkonen's 159, a strike rate of 52%.

In Grosjean's defence, however, as many as four of his tangles could realistically be viewed as racing incidents. Also, Raikkonen has been the most consistent driver on the grid, finishing every single racing lap of the season. And Grosjean's scoring percentage versus Raikkonen is far better than Felipe Massa's 35% against Fernando Alonso, for example. He has generally been quicker than Raikkonen too, outqualifying him at 10 of the season's 15 races to date.

Sir Jackie Stewart, an advisor to team sponsor Genii, has again made it clear that he is available to mentor Grosjean if required after having his first offer politely declined earlier in the year.

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier, meanwhile, said: "We have sat down and spoken with Romain. We understand what has to be done. I think in Singapore, to an extent, he was almost trying to overcompensate by focusing on staying out of trouble which, at the last race, had the opposite effect."

Grosjean claimed in Japan that he was so busy concentrating on having a clean first corner alongside Sergio Perez, that he misjudged his braking relative to Webber.

One of the problems Grosjean now faces is that his rivals, ruthless competitors all, can no doubt lean heavily on him in pressure situations such as the start, safe in the knowledge that he dare not risk another accident...

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Stories:: OCTOBER 10, 2012