“Chocolate is my religion”. When Romain Grosjean got the call to say he would not retain his Renault seat for 2010, he headed to Paris and attempted to sign up to a cooking school. He was prevented from doing so, though, for being too old – he was only 24 – and that led to him rekindling his love for racing…
Grosjean made his debut with Renault mid-season in 2009, stepping in for Nelson Piquet, but was replaced by Vitaly Petrov for the following year’s campaign. The Frenchman reveals in a captivating column with our content partners, The Players’ Tribune, that he was caught off guard by the decision.
“I was expecting to get a seat with the team going into the 2010 season,” says Grosjean. “I felt I had raced well. I felt I was on the right trajectory. But - and you might know this - the politics in F1 are quite… prevalent, let’s say.
“I tried to keep to myself as a rookie - to lay low. But then I heard I was 'arrogant' and I had a 'big ego.' And the thing is, that just wasn’t true. I was just shy. I was just me! So some people didn’t like me I guess, and on January 31st, I got a call from Eric Boullier, the Renault Team Principal.
“He said: ‘Romain, I am sorry to say this, but yes, we have signed Vitaly Petrov to the seat for this season.’ I hung up the phone, thinking my F1 career was over. And right away, I began to pack.
“The thing about me is, I’m all or nothing. So when I got off the phone with Eric, F1 for me was no longer all… it was just nothing. And if I didn’t have a ride in F1, then where did I go next? I was a bit more of a dreamer, as you know, back then, than I am now. But I believed in myself. And I believed in myself so much that I thought that I was going to be able to change careers that day.