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Formula One

Grosjean Left Wondering What Could Have Been

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Sometimes in life, there is the feeling that you try so hard for something and put so much effort into one moment, and it just doesn’t pan out in the way you want.

That’s probably something similar to how Romain Grosjean felt after the lap to the grid with around 30 minutes to go until the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

He had given Haas their best-ever qualifying finish of seventh on Saturday afternoon, finishing ahead of two Force Indias. He started seventh before in Japan, but on that day, he was promoted one place up the grid because of a grid penalty. This was the best performance in pure speed.

The French Haas pilot spun and ended up off track on Sunday afternoon and out of the race in the rain before the five lights go out and the race even starts.

It is the first time since Lucas di Grassi at the 2010 Japanese GP that a driver crashed out on the sighting lap. Drivers’ cars have stopped before a race in recent years; however, this is one of the only cases of driver error that come to mind. This meant that Grosjean fails to start a race for the second time in 2016 after not starting in Singapore.

HERO TO ZERO

Grosjean held his hands up to the error in a downbeat mood after the incident.

“Well I’m sorry for the fans, for all of Haas F1 Team,” Grosjean said.

“We’ve gone from hero to zero in less than 24 hours. What can I say? I wasn’t even flat out. I was barely faster than Gutierrez, and then the car just spun.”

He says that the crash was just one of those unfortunate moments in motorsport.

“It was just bad luck. There was really no grip at that point. I picked up the wheelspin, spun and crashed. I feel so bad for the crew. It was a big impact, something like 30G. It happens fast in Formula One, but I’m okay physically.”

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN?

He will surely be trying to think what could have been.

The random mistake sums up Haas’ season in a way. They are brilliant in moments, but they have had bad luck, like their recurring brake problems or Esteban Gutierrez being the butt of the joke of being the usual pilot stuck in 11th place and one position away from points.

This race should have been an opportunity for the team to win more points. Anything can happen in the rain in Formula One, with Sauber claiming their first points of 2016 and Manor having two cars in the points for most of the first half of the race.

If Grosjean has a good start, he may have been in with being in one of the top five positions, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen crashing out, and drivers starting in front of him on the grid making interesting pit strategy calls.

Then again, he doesn’t have the best of recent records in the rain. In two other rain-affected races in 2016, he finished 13th in Monaco and did not finish in Britain. He crashed out at Austin, TX in 2015. No real heroic wet weather races come to mind when thinking of him. Maybe nothing of note happens in this scenario.

SO… WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

Haas as a team has 29 points in eighth place in the Constructors’ Championship, 21 ahead of Renault with 43 remaining in the season. They are also 34 points behind Toro Rosso but would need to be on the podium for the first time to pass them in the championship.

This may be something on the mind of team staff during the season finale.

Unless a miracle happens in Abu Dhabi, they will finish in eighth in the championship and have the best performance for a wholly debut team since Jordan in 1991.

Jordan finished fifth in the Constructors’ Championship that year as one of the few teams in the last 25 years that have established from nothing rather than teams like Mercedes or Red Bull who were just successors of other teams like Brawn GP and Honda, and Jaguar and Stewart, in the past.

They will have a much better opening year than Team Lotus, Virgin Racing or HRT in 2010, or Toyota in 2002 or other teams such as Simtek in the 90s.

EMAIL CAMERON AT cpatersonf1@gmail.com

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Cameron Paterson

Cameron Paterson has been a watcher of Formula 1 since 2007, a casual television watch evolved to watching and reading anything related to something with wheels and an engine. A fan of writing, it was a no-brainer about what to do to try and get into motorsport, consistently discussing things about this great sport since 2016.