Today it was confirmed that Romain Grosjean is off to the United States to compete in the IndyCar series in 2021.
The Frenchman will only drive on street and road courses as part of the deal with Dale Coyne Racing, admitting he didn’t want to put his family through the stress of seeing him race on high-speed ovals following that shocking accident last year in Bahrain.
With three drivers missing races last year in Formula One and another three ending up positive for COVID-19 during the off-season taking the total to six, Grosjean was asked by Motorsport.com if he would potentially step in as a super-sub, much like Nico Hulkenberg did for Racing Point last year. He didn’t rule it out.
“I think it's a closed book, but never say never,” he said. “If there are any good opportunities in Formula 1, I would be more than happy to jump in.
“I've got the experience, and I think I can adapt myself to the car.
“We've seen with Pierre Gasly recently being positive with COVID, that COVID is still around, so there's always a risk that a driver may not compete in a race.
“Then, the most recent out of Formula 1 are Kevin [Magnussen], myself and Alex Albon, so we've got the experience and we know the most recent cars. So you could expect to get a call.
“But really, I think one thing I learned with my accident is that life is short and I want to have the choice to say no to something. And if it's being in Formula 1 to barely go out of Q1 once or twice a year, and having that, that chapter is closed for me.
“I'd much rather look at other places where I can go race and potentially try to win races.”
Grosjean’s time in F1 came to a scary end with that fiery crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix in late November; he was unable to complete his final two races with Haas and in the sport because of burns on his hands following the crash.
In the days after the accident, Toto Wolff hinted that Mercedes would offer Grosjean an opportunity to test one of their cars and Grosjean is ''very keen'' to be able to have a go in a Mercedes when the time allows him to do so.
“I'm still very keen on jumping in the Mercedes F1 car for sure. It's an offer that you cannot refuse, and just for me to have an understanding of the taste of that car and how it was working.
“At the minute, I think they're absolutely flat out in building the new car for the new season. So I won't phone Toto right now, but he can expect to get a phone call, eventually, and I ask him to have a go at it."
He added: “The offer really touched me in a good way. I was surprised that it was such a natural way of going for it and obviously I would love to do it.
New year, new challenge! Super excited to go racing with @DaleCoyneRacing this year in @IndyCar .— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) February 3, 2021
I'll be racing the Dale Coyne racing #51 with @RickWareRacing#r8g #indycar @MindMazeTech pic.twitter.com/Zhjcn3kgsN
Formula 1 Veteran Romain Grosjean Joins Dale Coyne Racing with RWR for 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Season https://t.co/CKvTR9LThG— Dale Coyne Racing (@DaleCoyneRacing) February 3, 2021