Clip The Apex
In all my time watching F1 I don't think I've known public opinion change so drastically about a driver than it has about Romain Grosjean. He has gone from promising youngster to nutjob and then from next generation talent to quick midfielder but what’s going to happen next for Romain?
Grosjean's junior career started pretty much with success at every turn and he was taken on as Renault test driver and placed in GP2 in 2009. He won the first race of the season and was leading the championship before he was approached by a large Italian man who said to him;
"Hey we've sacked our second driver and we're all about to get in massive trouble for race fixing but we've decided to step you up to the F1 race seat. You'll be complete number 2 to Fernando Alonso and you'll be coming into one of the most complex F1 cars to drive ever without testing. Its your big chance"
The view on Grosjean's short stint as Renault number 2 is that it was pretty awful and that he was a waste of a good race seat. Its true that stint was littered with first lap accidents and getting in peoples way but it wasn't all bad because if you look at some of his qualifying times he was not all that far off the pace of Alonso which was very impressive to say he'd had no time in the car. Come the end of 2009 his rep had been destroyed and the team was completely changing management so his contract wasn't renewed. To rub salt into the wounds Renault took on his team mate from GP2, Petrov, who he had been beating hands down before he left to go to F1. That could very well have been the last we saw of Grosjean and he did go over to Sportscar racing and won a couple of races in a Ford GT1. He switched back to single seater racing later on by driving in Auto GP, where he won the title, and at the end of 2010 though he made the almost unprecedented move of going back to GP2 (Timo Glock is the only other person to step down a level) and instantly jumped in the car and got podiums. Grosjean landed the DAMS drive and dominated the GP2 Championship in 2011 winning it by 34 points (back in the days of 10 points for a win). Grosjean had come full circle back to GP2 ace and up and coming talent but reputations are hard to change when you're not massively in the public eye.
The year was 1986. I was still a young child and the world of motorsport had not yet captured my attention but a revolution in British motorsport got underway. Thanks to a new act of Parliament, Superprix was born.
It was a typical August bank holiday in Birmingham, torrential rain and a bumpy circuit around closed city centre roads meant F3000 racing was difficult and dangerous. Crashes on almost every corner and the tricky weather conditions meant the race was cut short and only half points awarded but even so the crowd enjoyed the experience and although the organisers made a loss the event would return again.
The following years brought the crowds to Birmingham seeking the thrill of close and personal street racing. Then the NIMBY's had their say. Led by MP Clare Short, the act of Parliament was opposed and 5 years after it's creation Superprix would just become a memory.
Fast-forward to 2014 and due to recent events such as London 2012 & the Tour De France Grand Depart public opinion has changed. In a bid to keep the mob happy David Cameron has announced a change in the law to be considered in the upcoming deregulation bill. This change in the law would allow such events like the Superprix to return to our roads. It would also allow events like the recent Jim Clark rally and other historic racing such as the London to Brighton Race to be competitive once more instead of being limited by current speed limits.
For the 28th time in a row we come to the Hungaroring for the Hungarian Grand Prix. That actually makes this the 3rd longest serving track on the calendar with Spa taking a break for 2003 and Silverstone not having the British Grand Prix in 1986. So rightfully should be given the ‘classic’ status as an event. It isn’t a phrase used very often for the track though as it greatly divides opinion amongst fans due to the difficult nature if passing on the track. Its often described as Monaco without the walls and whilst to some that is a negative tag for me, as I love Monaco, it’s a compliment. The twisty nature of the dust bowl that is Hungry is a great leveller for car performance or for at least mixing up the running order as due to the place barely having a straight the teams can’t just rely on horsepower to blast their way through. One of the reasons I personally love the track is because a driver who dials himself into the track can really make a difference. If a driver picks their lines spot on and finds the best spots on the tarmac for grip they can arguably get more of a gain at this track than on any other track all season.
Personally I fell in love with the Hungaroring after watching the tense battle of the Boutsen train in 1990. For me that was F1 at its finest as the best in the business at the time put each other under pressure and tried as hard as they can to find a way to the front. Boutsen held on with the defensive drive of his life but Senna came above the rest to take the 2nd spot although he and Berger both got away with basically punting Naninni and Mansell out of the race in moves now that would have the stewards jumping over themselves to slap on massive penalty’s. Speaking of penalty’s it would be amiss of me not to mention what, for me, was the overtake of the season by Grosjean last year that was ‘disallowed’ due to a dubious judgement of track limits.