This time last year Romain Grosjean had earned a reputation as one of the most reckless driver's on the F1 grid. Now he is being tipped as a future star following a number of impressive performances - so how good is he?
Certainly Grosjean remains a divisive character among F1 fans, most find it hard to think he is worthy of a seat at a front running team like Lotus after his actions last season.
Indeed he became the first driver in around 20 years to be banned for reckless driving after the first corner crash in Belgium which nearly saw Fernando Alonso seriously injured.
At the start of this year Grosjean had appeared to calm down his driving style but also lost some of the speed that he had shown the previous year. There was also a brief return to his 2012 ways following a number of crashes at the Monaco Grand Prix.
But the German race around a month later seemed to be a turning point for the Frenchman as questions over his future began to circle.
Though he would again be beaten by team-mate Kimi Raikkonen at the Nurburgring, he produced his best performance of the season taking third behind the Finn and race winner Sebastian Vettel.
From then only poor reliability in Singapore has stopped the Frenchman who seemed on course for a podium that night at Marina Bay, however, he recovered from that disappointment and claimed two well deserved podiums in Korea and Japan this past weekend.
Indeed last year Mark Webber described Grosjean as a "first-lap nutcase" following the pair's collision in Suzuka but after battling with the superior Red Bull's throughout the race this past Sunday, Webber was much more complimentary of the 27-year-old.
"We're not here to blow smoke up his arse," said the always-blunt Australian, "but in the end he's doing a very good job this year."
Indeed with team-mate Raikkonen now leaving Lotus for a return to Ferrari in 2014, Grosjean is set to take over as team leader at the Enstone based team next season.
"I need to get the written permission of my board but then we'll see," Lotus boss Eric Boullier said.
Certainly Grosjean is a contender for most improved driver of the year but does that mean he is ready to push on and lead a possible championship-contending team?
Maybe that's a little over-reactive given his recent strong performances however if he can maintain this form all the way to Brazil then few would doubt his abilities, also it would depend on who the team decide will replace the departing Raikkonen.
Currently Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa appear in the running and both would have good reasons why they should be on an level playing field as Grosjean.
What is good to see however is that after all the turmoil in 2012, that he admitted left him seeking help, Grosjean is now able to find that balance of the raw speed which he has while controlling his aggressive tendencies.
This recent run of results and praise from those who were so critical will only act to boost Grosjean and while it may still be a little too early to say he could be a future star, even future world champion, he is certainly proving he has the ability to get there.
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