Date:Tuesday October 9 2012
The start of the Japanese Grand Prix was yet another unfortunate incident for Lotus driver Romain Grosjean.
Under heavy braking for turn two, the 26-year-old couldn't slow his car down enough to avoid contact with the Red Bull of Mark Webber.
The resulting collision spun Mark Webber around and forced the Australian to fight back from the back of the pack following a safety car.
Having only just returned from a one-race ban following the crash in Belgium, many people in the paddock believed that Grosjean deserved another heavy penalty. But instead, the Lotus driver was handed a 10 second stop/go penalty during the race and in the eyes of the race stewards that incident has now been dealt with.
'I was just trying to avoid any contact. It didn't work. It was a stupid crash.' an apologetic Grosjean told the BBC after the race.
As a one off incident, you may wonder what the problem really is, chalk it up as a racing incident and move on, but the problem with Grosjean is really highlighted when you analyse his season.
In Australia he collided with the Williams of Pastor Maldonado, in Malaysia he spun out Michael Schumacher on the first lap, in Spain he punctures Sergio Perez right rear on lap one, in Monaco he once again collided with Schumacher on the first corner, in Britain he punctured Paul di Resta's right rear, in Germany he's involved in another collision and then of course the more recent incidents in Belgium and Japan.
Not all the above incidents you would squarely lay the blame on Grosjean, but the fact that he's been involved in so many incidents and collisions he has now picked up an unwanted reputation.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who wasn't even involved in the incident in Japan described the crash as 'classic Grosjean', while Webber was quite understandably a little bit more outspoken having been the victim of his latest blunder.
'It's frustrating. Maybe he needs another holiday.' Webber said immediately afterwards, clearly referencing his recent one-race suspension before describing him as 'the first-lap nutcase Grosjean'.
Webber went on to describe the former GP2 champion as embarrassing.
'The rest of us are trying to fight for some decent results each weekend but he is trying to get to the third corner as fast as he can at every race.
'He needs to have a look at himself. It was completely his fault. How many mistakes can you make? How many times can you make the same error? It's quite embarrassing at this level for him.'
So what's the answer?
Would another ban help? It would certainly take him out of harms way, but he'd have to return to the starting grid eventually.
Or should the Grand Prix Drivers Association step in and have a word as suggested by Sky Sports pundits Anthony Davidson and Johnny Herbert? Or is it just an indication that Formula One is just one step too far for the Lotus driver?
Date:Tuesday October 9 2012
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