For the next few weeks, as we await the return of racing, Motorsport Week will delve into the archives to search out the first time that our grid of 2020 F1 racers stepped into top-level machinery in a public forum.
Back in the mid-2000s, during Renault’s previous spell with a works Formula 1 team, it operated a junior scheme, which included the likes of Robert Kubica, Lucas di Grassi and Heikki Kovalainen.
Also associated with Renault was rising star Grosjean and in 2008 he became the manufacturer’s test driver, getting behind the wheel of the R28 during in-season running.
His first official outing came at perennial test venue Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and he eventually made his debut a year later when Renault axed Nelson Piquet Jr, forsaking a genuine challenge at the GP2 title in order to grasp his Formula 1 opportunity.
Grosjean was let go when Renault withdrew at the end of 2009 but was thrown a lifeline in GP2 mid-2010, which led to the 2011 title and a second chance at the team, now under its Lotus guise, in 2012.