Bahrain, Chris Medlin, Roman Grosjean discussed on Motor Sport Magazine Podcast


Meeting top drivers, team managers and technical directors, asking them one simple question. What was the big break that led them to where they are today? I'm Chris medlin and in this episode, I'm joined by Roman Grosjean to discuss his rise to Formula One, getting dropped by Renault and having to fight back. The people that helped him return to the grid and the way his second chance in the sport panned out before that Bahrain crash, and his fresh start in the states. It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride that has been full of important lessons and experiences. So Roman, thank you very much for joining us. Let's talk to how you are, because you recently underwent surgery on one of your hands. What exactly was that for? And how did it go? Yeah. Well, I think it went all right. You know it was always planned that I would have a skin graft, at least on my index and trying to remove some of the wound just to make the skin a little bit better on the hand a little bit more flexible. I would say I was 9 5% okay, but it was still some restrictions. So we've decided with the surgeon to take the month of November off and try to make it look a little bit more pretty and also a little bit less painful of a day. Well, obviously that's Bahrain that caused that. And this podcast is about a big break and in some ways I'm sure you reflect on Bahrain as one of those and in other ways, maybe differently. But we'll get to that stage of your career later. Let's talk about when you're starting out first. We're going to go back a long long way. You had a successful karting career. But how tough was it to fund the step up to single seaters? Because that's often a big barrier to drivers. Yeah. Yeah, it was so, you know, I was lucky that my dad had made a good career as a lawyer. So he had some funds initially to pay for gold cards. And then I went to do a talent shootout from Lisa and Switzerland. And I warned that so I got CHF 50,000 in the day to raise in the Swiss championship the year after. Which I did, I think I got ten races. I got ten ports and win ten fasters lap basically. So a very successful year. And then I had to step up to Formula One two details in France and a little bit in Europe. And that's why my dad put a lot on table. Luckily wasn't the same digit as today, I don't think it could go anywhere. In 2020, the budget we had. But yeah, we managed to pay for two years. And the second year was French champion. And then I joined one other driver development academy that then was sorting out the financial side of it. Yeah, that seemed to be a very important step for you. But you had to convince ranner, obviously, that you were someone that they wanted to back. Let's talk about 2005 then your second year in French formula Renault. And you start the season with two podiums, but then you had a tough second pair of races. And then he headed to Pao. Then what happened? Can you remember? Well, there were yellow line drawn track and you were not allowed to it was the first one. I turned to the first one wiring and the yellow line would have the priority over the airplane because they didn't want any mass of the Alpine. And I think it was on Poland, didn't have a great start. But I launched an incredible overtake of a long gopi having on the outside of that corner. I reached a line first. There was a bit of a debate because long I was obviously not happy. But I followed the rules and one of my signature late break overtake that started there. And yeah, from that point, I think I won't few races. And managed to get the championship before even in the last race of the year. Yeah, you say quite a few races. I've got it done that you won ten of the next 11 and the only other one in that run, you would disqualified from. So I don't know if would you have won that ratio disqualified from or was that a I can't remember, but I know it was a good year and you know, then I went to see Ono. I went to see Red Bull Toyota and the day that the academy had built already a Swiss driver with Sebastian vehi Andi and they were now interested in French man because they couldn't sell Red Bull in France. Then Toyota was more interested into Japanese driver. And I wanted to see, oh no, and they told me there were no interested in the Swiss driver because I used to raise the Swiss flag of the day. And I told them I'm French as well. And they basically told me from no one. Only going to be French racing driver. And that's how I get into the program. And managed to step up all the way to Formula One. That must be quite strange being told you're going to be a different nationality of driver just for the team to be happy. But was that a sign of how important it was for you to do anything you could to get support from a big team? Or at that point, if you spoke to Red Bull and Toyota as well, did you feel like it was inevitable that a big Formula One team was going to be supporting your career? Well, it was I think it was inevitable. The formula €3 series of the day was €700,000 a year, I think, which is loads of money. And we couldn't afford it. So I had to have the backup from someone from an academy. That's when we went to see them. It's not having it would have been the end. And I would have probably tried to be an aerodynamic engineer in racing. But yeah, it was for me with key that I was entering one of those driver academy and they would help me become professional. So what would you say was so important in that time? Was it getting the backing of Renault in terms of talking to them and how did those talks go? Or do you think it was your performances before the open the door to those? It's definitely a performance that opened the door. Yeah. It was definitely winning. We had to talk a little bit the year before. And of 2004, but weren't sure that either a bit of an up and down season of one race as a rookie but also crashed twice in Paul also was second on third. So typical omega goes on first, he has a bit up and down and some good stuff, but also some learning and finding limits in the year after I just once the season started, I really dominated the championship. And I think they saw that. And it was always a case. It was always one year to learn one year to win. That went through formula three. And that was going as well in GP two until I got the phone call to good Formula One and didn't finish the 2009 GPU season. Yeah, that will happen very quickly. I mean, what do you think really put you on the team's radar for an F one seat originally? Do you think it was 2007 when you won the F €3 series, or was it maybe stepping up to bigger cars in 2008 when you did GP two agent? Well, I think it was a little bit of both 2007 was a key year with a lot of pressure because in my team 5 esteem, there were chemical biases with the third driver. Nico hulkenberg Willie Weber driver. And I was one of his 5 year boy adults. You can imagine that Willie was telling Niko if you don't win you out. I was being told if you don't win you out. And can you was probably told the same. So it was a very competitive year. We were always pushing ourselves to the maximum limit. And it was honestly it was one of my best year that I really enjoyed. Those cars were sensational. The team was great. So I won the championship and I stepped up to GP two for GP to Asia. And then we had a Luis Hamilton car from the GP two..

Coming up next