Romain Grosjean is talking himself up as a future Ferrari driver. The Frenchman is in his second season with the American-owned Haas team, which uses Ferrari engines, and clearly fancies a shot at something bigger.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen is 37 years old and this could be in his last year in F1, meaning a spot might be available next year. Grosjean is certainly not shy putting himself forward for it.
“If there is an opportunity, if there is a seat, I believe I’m in a good position,” Grosjean said at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. “Who knows what the future holds?”
“Who knows what the F1 grid is going to be like next year? Then there’s the Kimi case, what is he going to do?”
Grosjean is one of the fastest drivers in F1 on single lap speed, but his career so far has been somewhat erratic. Although he has two second-place career finishes, he was also given a one-race race ban for reckless driving at the Belgian Grand Prix in 2012.
Not one to be daunted, Grosjean cites the example of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas as proof that getting a top seat is possible.
The Finnish driver, who also had not won a race before this season, was hurriedly signed from Williams by Mercedes after Nico Rosberg’s sudden decision to retire just days after winning last year’s F1 title.
“If you had asked Valtteri what he was doing I’m sure he would (have said): `Yeah, I’m going to go again with Williams,”’ Grosjean said. “Next thing you know, you’re in a world champion’s car. So it’s a phone call (away).”
At 31 years old, and with the last of his 10 career podiums back in August 2015, Grosjean is growing frustrated.
He has failed to finish two of seven races this season, with a best result of eighth place.
“You don’t get the chance to win a race,” he said. “It’s like you were starting the 100 meters race 10 seconds behind the others.”