The GP2 Series took on a different look in 2011, and that wasn't just because a new car and tyre supplier were introduced. The stakes are always high when young drivers are within touching distance of the Formula 1 paddock, but never before had such a wealth of experience been on show at the front of the grid.
Or in other words, never before had so many been sat in the last-chance saloon. Very few of the drivers at the front had the excuse of a lack of experience, and many of them had very important people who they had to impress if they wanted to keep their career going in the right direction.
That certainly applied to Romain Grosjean, who entered the season as the title favourite after winning the truncated Asia Series at the start of the year. The Frenchman was as experienced as anyone at this level, but this was to be his first full season in GP2 since 2008.
The brief for Grosjean was simple. Renault F1 team boss Eric Boullier has been managing his career since the aftermath of his short and painful stint in grand prix racing with the same team at the end of 2009, and he wanted to see that the 25-year-old Frenchman was a changed man.
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