Korean GP: Romain Grosjean to be retained by Lotus for 2013

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer

Lotus say they will retain Romain Grosjean in 2013 despite his series of first-lap incidents this year.

Grosjean served a race ban for causing a pile-up at the start of the Belgian GP, one of eight incidents in 15 races.

Team boss Eric Boullier told BBC Sport on Sunday: "He has been reassured about his future and that he is going to stay with us, but I cannot commit today.

"There is a situation with the FIA and the race-ban suspension so I have to do it at the right time."

Grosjean is under no specific threat of further punishment from governing body the FIA, nor is he officially considered to be on any kind of probation.

However, he was told ahead in Korea that he would probably be disqualified from the race if he had a similar incident to his latest crash, in which he simply ran into the back of Mark Webber's Red Bull in Japan a week ago.

Boullier said that the team backed the Franco-Swiss despite the problems he has had in close racing this year, which is his first full season in the sport following a half-season in 2009.

"He knows he has our support. If not he would not be here today," Boullier said.

"We have internal discussions. Everything is ready, the contract is ready and has been approved by the board. It is just a question of finding the possibility to do it."

Finn Kimi Raikkonen will stay on as his team-mate - his performances in his comeback F1 season after two years in rallying have activated a clause which automatically makes him under contract in 2013.

Boullier is Grosjean's manager as well as his team boss and he made the decision to bring him back into F1 after he was dropped by Renault, the previous guise of Lotus, after a difficult seven races as Fernando Alonso's team-mate at the end of 2009.

Grosjean went back to the GP2 feeder series, and won it in 2011. He has impressed with his pace this season, but not his spacial awareness on the first lap.

"He is a fast driver, he is talented, once he passes the first corner he is a proper racing driver," Boullier said.

"He deserves to be in Formula 1, we brought him back because we believe he has a future in Formula 1. I would be a bit foolish to bring him back and then get rid of him.

"There are many different reasons why he has had problems in the first corner. The first thing is to step back a bit and keep your line and just get through the first corner. Then you can race."

Although Grosjean's latest incident was only a week ago in Japan, Boullier said Grosjean had learned from his ban from the Italian Grand Prix.

"In the end it had a positive effect on him," Boullier said. "He understood it, he came to Monza on his own and he clearly wanted to rebuild himself."

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