Romain Grosjean’s former race engineer Ayao Komatsu believes that the driver had the natural talent and speed required to be a great F1 star, and that it's shame he never realised his full potential.
Komatsu was a performance engineer with Renault when Grosjean made his debut with the team in 2009. He was then Grosjean's race engineer when he drove for Lotus in 2012.
Komatsu subsequently joined Haas as chief race engineer which extended his partnership with the driver, giving him a unique overview of Grosjean's entire Formula 1 career.
"Everybody recognises his natural speed," Komatsu told The Race website recently. "Everybody [also] recognises his lack of consistency and the lack of progress he is able to make because of sometimes the emotional side of things.
"It’s a shame," he added. "Somebody who has got such a natural talent – and not many drivers have such natural speed – not able to accomplish more results.
"Romain, because he’s so natural and he’s got speed in him, gets there straight away,” Komatsu suggested. “He doesn’t need many laps to get there.
"But once he gets there, Romain tries to find another extra tenth or half a tenth. He then sometimes overdrives and actually doesn’t go quicker, or makes more mistakes.
"He is so talented naturally," Komatsu continued. “If he could then take a bit more margin or take a step-by-step approach and improve consistency, he would have scored many more points.
"But I guess it’s difficult because he’s got the ability to push straight away to that level. If you take that away and make him more consistent then maybe his natural speed drops, so maybe you can’t have it both ways.
“Romain has done ten seasons in F1, not many people race that long," he pointed out. "And with all his problems, you could have said that Romain’s career could have been over five years ago.
"But because he’s got such speed and the potential and he produces the result when not many other people can, he survived this long.”
Unfortunately that run now appears to be at an end. After ten podiums and 391 points, Grosjean was scheduled to end his tenure in Formula 1 at Abu Dhabi after Haas decided not to retain either of their drivers for 2021.
But Grosjean's final F1 outing actually came two races earlier in Bahrain, when he was involved in a horrific accident at the start of the race that he was lucky to survive.
Grosjean is currently recovering from his injuries at home in Seitzerland and is yet to announce his racing plans for 2021.