Haas F1 Announces Lead Driver
Haas F1 Team Announces Lead Driver
(KANNAPOLIS, NC – SEP 29, 2015 – RIS) In a press conference at the new Haas F1 headquarters, team principles Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner announced the team's first driver: 29-year-old Romain Grosjean. Currently in his fifth season with the Lotus F1 team, Grosjean has competed in 78 Grands Prix, with ten podiums, most recently at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.
Regarded as a team leader and potential world champion, the Frenchman will get his first drive with Haas F1 Team at the March 1-4 preseason test at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. A second test at Barcelona is planned for March 15-18 before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix April 3 in Melbourne.
"What Gene Haas and everyone at Haas F1 Team is building is impressive, and I'm very proud to be a part of it," the new driver said. "Formula One is incredibly competitive and the only way to succeed is by finding new ways of doing things. This is a new opportunity with a new team that is taking a very different approach to Formula One. I believe in their approach and they believe in me. While I am committed to giving my absolute best to my current team in these last five races, I am very excited for what the future holds at Haas F1 Team."
Guenther Steiner, team principal for the Haas F1 Team said: "in addition to being an experienced Formula One driver, Romain is very technically minded. He gives strong, specific feedback as to how the car performs. As we develop our car in testing and throughout the season, his insight will be crucial."
Gene Haas, team founder and chairman commented that: "we wanted an experienced driver capable of developing our car and our race team into one that can score points and better itself each race and each season. We found him in Romain Grosjean. I've been involved in motorsports for a long time and learned early on the most crucial component is the driver. Romain has strong credentials and he will be an important asset to Haas F1 Team."
A race winner and champion in every series he has competed on his way to Formula One, Grosjean advanced from karting in 2003 by sweeping the entire ten-race season in Swiss Formula Renault 1.6, followed by a second title and ten race wins in the 2005 French Formula Renault 2.0 season before he moved up to Formula Three in 2006 and the full Euro Series schedule. He drove in two British Formula Three races that year too, taking poles, wins and setting the fastest lap in both races. His second season in Formula Three Euro saw Grosjean take four poles and six wins on his way to the championship. He advanced to GP2 in 2008, with four wins in 10 races and the inaugural GP2 Asia Series crown.
Also in 2008, Grosjean was Formula One test driver for Renault and the next year, Renault named Grosjean to its race seat alongside two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.
After a few years of GP2 and FIA GT1, Grosjean was named to the race seat alongside 2007 Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen in the Renault team rebranded as Lotus F1 Team for 2012. His first podium came in the season's fourth race at Bahrain, followed by a second place three races later in Montreal, and a third podium in the 11th race of the year in Hungary.
The 2013 season was an an even better one for Grosjean as he scored six podiums, highlighted by a second-place finish at the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
2014 saw the introduction of a new engine formula, with turbochargers returning to the sport for the first time since 1988 with a steep development curve for many teams. Grosjean recorded two eighth-place finishes in Spain and Monaco, but regularly outplaced his teammate throughout the year.
Fourteen races into 2015, Grosjean has returned to the form he displayed in 2013, evidenced by his podium at this year's Belgian Grand Prix.
About Haas F1 Team:Haas F1 Team will debut in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in 2016, where it will become the first American-led Formula One team since 1986. Founded by industrialist Gene Haas, Haas F1 Team is based in the United States on the same Kannapolis, North Carolina campus as his championship-winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, Stewart-Haas Racing. Haas is the founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America, and he is chairman of Haas F1 Team.
Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.