Sir Jackie Stewart again offers mentor role to help Romain Grosjean
By Berthold Bouman
Triple Formula One World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart has again offered to lend a helping hand to Romain Grosjean and give him advice after the French Lotus driver was again involved in a first-lap incident during the Japanese Grand Prix.
Grosjean received a ten-second stop-and-go penalty after he had pushed Red Bull driver Mark Webber into a spin at the first corner. Webber was furious as his race was ruined and he called Grosjean a ‘first-lap nutcase’ and after the race commented, “He needs to have a look at himself. It was completely his fault. How many mistakes can you make? How many times can you make the same error?”
Thus Stewart, who is an ambassador for Genii Capital, who own the Lotus team, again offered his help, saying, “I would love to help Romain, because I think he has enormous potential.” And the Scotsman added, “Any more accidents could jeopardise his chances of driving for Lotus next season, let alone the very best teams. I actually think he could have won one or two Grands Prix this season, but at the moment his potential is being overshadowed by the number of accidents he’s having.”
And indeed, Grosjean’s boss Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier has also warned the 26-year old driver he has to make sure to stay out of trouble during the final five races of the season, but when asked whether Grosjean could be ousted he said, “No, not yet. But I expect to see an improvement.
“Romain is privileged enough to be driving a car fast enough to qualify at the front of the grid. If you look at his career, he was always a little bit hot — a hot-headed driver. But I thought if he got some confidence, then he would cool down.”
Boullier has in fact ended up in a somewhat awkward position, as he is not only Grosjean’s team boss, but also his manager and Boullier was responsible for Grosjean’s return to Formula One.
Stewart had already offered his assistance in July, but Grosjean chose not to take up the offer to coach him. “He had already had a few accidents then and I thought I might be able to help him avoid them in the future,” Stewart said.
But if Grosjean changes his mind, Stewart would be more than happy to help him, “I’d been a young entrant into Formula One myself and had also run a fairly good driver development programme at Stewart Grand Prix, when I’d helped drivers like David Coulthard, Juan Pablo Montoya, Gil de Ferran and Allan McNish.
“When the time comes and he wants to do it, I will always be there for him because of my relationship with the team.”