Once labelled a ‘first lap nutcase’ by Mark Webber following a collision at Suzuka in 2012, Romain Grosjean’s career looked like it would not progress.
Despite showing flashes of brilliance, he had also shown times where he was not aware of his surroundings and caused numerous lap one collisions.
Stagnation was a real possibility for Grosjean.
Instead, Grosjean put his head down, focused and got on with what he needed to do. Often matching or outperforming Kimi Raikkonen, Grosjean turned his career around so much he’s now one of the highest rated drivers on the grid.
A shock move to the brand new Haas F1 Team followed for the 2016. So far, after four races, it seems like it could have been a choice to move away from Renault.
Grosjean has scored points in three out of four races for Haas, including a fifth place in Bahrain. Renault, meanwhile, have struggled. Kevin Magnussen has its only points so far this season, scored in the Russian Grand Prix.
But could the move be beneficial for Grosjean in the future too?
Haas came into Formula One taking as much as they could from Ferrari, including one driver in Esteban Gutierrez.
It led to Haas being called a B team or customer car and, while everything was within the rules, it did lead to some criticism.
The link-up between Haas and Ferrari could, however, give Grosjean a chance of driving for the Scuderia in the future.
It’s a huge difference from four years ago when Grosjean was given a race ban for his part in the collision at the Belgian Grand Prix in 2012.
It’s something that he has clearly learned from and, in his time with Lotus he picked up 10 podiums, as well as scoring points on a regular basis.
He also could have got his first win at the European Grand Prix in Valencia but for an alternator problem (although it’s worth pointing out he inherited the lead because Sebastien Vettel had a similar problem).
Even when the car has not been so good, such as 2014, Grosjean has shown his talent by outperforming his teammate.
In 2014, for example, Grosjean beat Pastor Maldonado 15-4 in qualifying. It was 5-5 in races where they were both classified.
It was a different story in 2015, though. Grosjean beat Maldonado 17-2 in qualifying and it was 5-1 to Grosjean when both cars finished.
It’s clear that Grosjean has learned from previous mistakes and is now one of the highest-rated drivers on the grid.
The move to newcomers Haas for 2016 could lead to a Ferrari opportunity sooner rather than later and it would be hard to begrudge Grosjean that seat over the likes of Nico Hulkenberg or Valtteri Bottas.
Grosjean’s dominance over Esteban Gutierrez (4-0 in qualifying, 2-0 in races where both have finished) only enhances his claim for that second Ferrari seat alongside Vettel.
He should be considered one of the candidates to replace Raikkonen should Ferrari not renew his contract.
In fact, he should be the number one candidate.