Formula 1

Romain Grosjean should replace Jenson Button at McLaren

Grosjean would fit all of McLaren's requirements (©GettyImages)
Grosjean would fit all of McLaren's requirements (©GettyImages).

Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso even Sebastian Vettel, all have been suggested as lead drivers for McLaren in 2015.

The thing is, however, while all three put a very strong case forward none of them are who I would approach if I was team CEO Ron Dennis. 

Of course Vettel & Hamilton maybe the same age, give or take, but for me if McLaren want a new leader, look no further than Romain Grosjean.

Lotus troubles

The Frenchman is enduring a torrid year at Lotus as huge staff cuts and financial problems, allied to the worst engine on the F1 grid, has left the team that was second to Red Bull late in 2013, floundering towards the back of the midfield.

While there has been glimpses of the man who was the only viable threat to Vettel and Mark Webber last year, Grosjean has largely been a big fish in a very small pond unable to show what he is really capable of.

Reunion with Eric Boullier

So if Grosjean is struggling to show off his talents in a car stuck in the midfield why would he be better off at the team who, for the last two seasons, has also flattered to deceive?

The reason is there are already signs that under new sporting director and the man who helped turned Grosjean's career around, his manager Eric Boullier, is already beginning to work his magic with McLaren.

Updates have been coming through faster and a modernisation of the processes at Woking have helped the team to some better results.

This is what Boullier does and what he is renowned for, taking a team with not the absolute biggest budget and still produce a race winning operation.

So give him an entire winter in the McLaren team and, along with the knowledge and the work partnership the pair already have, Boullier and Grojsean back together could be just what McLaren need.

Lack of baggage

When signing a big driver there is always the atmosphere that comes with it, whether it be the aura surrounding Alonso, the fame and glamour with Hamilton and the Germanic approach of Vettel.

With Grosjean, however, here is a driver that was on the way up last year and the setback of one poor year at Lotus should not setback the increasing expectations people had of him.

But because he is yet to peak or really achieve there is no ego, no baggage, Romain remains a grounded driver and that is also exactly what McLaren needs.

A raw talent

While of course any need to look for a new driver for 2015 is highly dependent on if Jenson Button decides to hang up his helmet, but in Grosjean there is a driver that can offer speed and still room for improvement.

This is why I believed the team was wrong to eject Sergio Perez last year as, while they obviously wanted Kevin Magnussen in F1, there was still chance to nurture the talent Perez possesses.

Meets Honda's requirements?

The key point in whether a Grosjean/McLaren partnership could work is whether Honda feel he has the 'star' power.

The Japanese car maker is approaching their return at full pelt so therefore feel the team need a driver worthy of the history the McLaren/ Honda partnership has, this is why names such as Alonso and Hamilton are being brought up.

While Grojsean may not be at that level, for a new supplier coming in a year after the sport entered a new era, Honda need to do a lot of convincing to any prospective new driver and whereas the biggest names may not take that risk, given his current status and despite Lotus switching to Mercedes engines, Grosjean may be prepared to take that leap.

As I say this currently remains a precursor to what may become a story later in the year, and if Button stays on then this will wait for another year, but it is an interesting thought to hold as the sport heads into the summer break and the peak of 'silly season'.

Topics:
Formula 1

Article Comments

Trending

Read more