Your dreams were your ticket out.
To that same old place that you laughed about.
Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they're turned around.
Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (Who'd have thought they'd lead ya)
Back here where we need ya (Back here where we need ya)
Unless TV stations in Geneva did a mean line in early-1970s American sitcoms, it's pretty likely that Romain Grosjean has never heard the theme music to 'Welcome Back, Kotter'. (To avoid being pensioned prematurely, I should point out that I only caught the repeats myself).
Grosjean's surprise return to the GP2 paddock at Hockenheim last weekend was always going to be fascinating. The 24-year-old left GP2 mid-way through last year to replace Nelson Piquet at Renault F1; a move he had long been primed for as Renault's star French-speaking up-and-comer. It didn't work out, and not only did he lose his seat, but he lost it to his 2009 GP2 team-mate Vitaly Petrov.
Yet in Germany he was back at the behest of DAMS, and for a quite a few people it was going to be a touch awkward.
Jerome d'Ambrosio naturally sits at the top of that list; the Belgian putting on a commendably brave face considering that he'd been parked for the weekend so that Grosjean could be brought in to figure out whether the reasons for DAMS' poor performance this year lay with the team, car or driver. One can only imagine what he felt as he watched a car that in his hands had been resolutely midfield suddenly start producing purple sectors.
It would also have been a touch delicate for Renault, which had split with Grosjean at the end of last year - potentially ending his F1 career after seven races - only to see him brought in to sort out what is essentially Renault's junior team in GP2. The cars are painted identically to their F1 counterparts, and d'Ambrosio and team-mate Ho-Pin Tung strut around wearing the same gear as Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov. (Grosjean pointedly spent the weekend decked out in the colours of DAMS rather than Renault, although it was obviously impossible to repaint his car).
And finally, it can't have been particularly easy for Grosjean himself. His single-minded ambition last year arguably came at the expense of his GP2 title campaign, which had started strongly but was derailing by mid-season as the prospect of an early F1 switch diverted the Franco-Swiss driver's attention.
Grosjean is not someone who went out of the way to befriend his rivals, and there were a few people in the GP2 paddock who took a mildly sadistic pleasure at the way his F1 career unraveled. From a journalist's point of view, he is not the easiest guy in the world to build a rapport with. But on the rare occasions that he lets his guard down slightly, you get a glimpse of a friendly, funny, intelligent guy. Those who work closely with him can't speak highly enough of him.
Being a good bloke doesn't give you an automatic right to race in F1, but Grosjean is also a seriously good driver. You only have to look at what he's done since becoming unemployed - AutoGP, FIA GT1, ice racing - and he has proven to be a formidable force in all of them. His appearance at Hockenheim came after not having driven a GP2 car for more than a year, and over the balance of the weekend he was probably the fastest guy on the track.
There's no way of knowing yet what the next step will be - for Grosjean, for d'Ambrosio, or for DAMS. A lot will depend on whether the car keeps doing purple sectors when the Belgian gets back behind the wheel in Hungary this weekend.
But it's difficult to imagine that the story ended with Grosjean's accident at the end of the Hockenheim sprint race last Sunday. There's more to come from all of this yet.
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