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Mat Coch writes:
While his Formula One career didn't take off the way he'd hoped, Romain Grosjean is one of the fortunate few to be handed a second chance. The 25-year-old Frenchman made his debut in 2009 after Nelson Piquet Jnr was fired for his role in 'Crashgate'. In seven races he failed to impress and was relegated to the role of test driver for 2010.
Despite the odds against him, he never lost hope or stopped believing that he'd one day return to the pinnacle of the sport. "I had the faith," he says. "If you don't believe in your dream it doesn't happen."
Stints in sports cars, AutoGP and a return to GP2 kept him race sharp, and a management deal with Eric Boullier kept him in front of the powers that be at Lotus. This weekend marks Grosjean's return to the sport, with the same team which once cast him aside.
"It does feel very different," he says of the environment within the team. "I feel the atmosphere today is much better."
Having remained active during his time away the biggest challenge will be adapting to the Pirelli tyres. "They've got their own philosophy and I need to adapt it," he admits. "I think it has changed from last year a little bit compared with the tyres so we all have to tune our driving style to make it as efficient as possible."
Not for the first time he'll be driving alongside a world champion, a prospect which doesn't seem to daunt the Frenchman. "You have to beat 23 drivers on the grid to achieve your main goal, so I'll try to do my best to do that."
With a full pre-season under his belt rolling out of the garage in practice tomorrow will not be the dawning of a new career, but it won't be the continuation of an old one either. Grosjean's description is simple: "let's say that it's my first real chance."
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