Grosjean: Hulk and I born at wrong time

Finley Crebolder

Who's next for the chopping block?

Romain Grosjean feels he and Nico Hulkenberg are part of a generation of drivers that were born at the wrong time to succeed in Formula 1.

Both the Frenchman and the German were seen as future World Champions in the early parts of their careers, but neither ever got the chance to drive a top car and therefore never won races, let alone titles.

The chances of them ever doing so now look slim, with Grosjean leaving the grid at the end of the season and Hulkenberg already absent from it, although he is hoping to partner Max Verstappen at Red Bull next season.

Grosjean himself feels that the pair, as well as a few other drivers born at the same time, were unlucky in that they entered F1 when older drivers filled the top seats and by the time said drivers had left them, younger ones were coming through.

“You know, if I think about it, maybe the 1986/87 generation was the wrong to be in,” he said on the In The Pink podcast.

“Paul Di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, myself, even Sebastian Buemi a little bit; we all came at a time when the top seats were taken, the old guys wouldn’t leave Formula 1 yet, and the young ones came after and we never really got our chance. That’s just the way it is.

“There’s not much you can control about that, and having 10 years in Formula 1 has been incredible. I think I’ve achieved what I wanted to. Obviously you always want to be a World Champion but you discover that without the right tools there is no chance.

“Hopefully that will change in the future, because I think it would bring Formula 1 to a much better place if it wasn’t just dominated by one team.”

The closest Grosjean came to winning races was in 2012 and 2013 while driving for Lotus. In those two seasons, he finished on the podium nine times and went close to victory on multiple occasions, looking strong in the latter campaign in particular.

After 2013, he only managed one more podium as financial difficulties sent the team into a downward spiral, and he says that is the one big regret of his career.

“Maybe the only regret I have is that Lotus went bankrupt in 2014 after a brilliant 2013 where we were on the right path, going somewhere well,” he said.

“I didn’t get an offer from a top team at the time, Kimi [Raikkonen] went to Ferrari and I stayed at Lotus and we just went downhill. It’s then very hard to recover when you’ve been at a team close to the back of the field.

“I know I could have won some races. There’s not regret in not winning one because I know every time I had the chance I did everything I could. As I say, the only regret is that after 2013 I didn’t get the chance to have a car that was that competitive.”

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