Romain Grosjean will get to drive for Mercedes, completing demonstration laps ahead of the French Grand Prix before a full test day as part of a promise made by Toto Wolff.
The Mercedes team principal responded to a question following Grosjean’s terrifying accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix last year, saying that if no other team gave the Frenchman the chance then he would offer up a test to ensure his final experience in a Formula 1 car was not his crash. True to his word, Wolff has pushed ahead with that offer and Grosjean will drive Lewis Hamilton’s 2019 championship-winning W10 at the French Grand Prix on June 27 before testing the car in full at Paul Ricard two days later.
“I am so excited to jump back in an F1 car!” Grosjean said. It will be a special opportunity for me and to drive a world championship-winning Mercedes will be a unique experience.
“I’m very grateful to Mercedes F1 and to Toto for the opportunity. The first I heard about the chance to drive a Mercedes was in my hospital bed in Bahrain when Toto was speaking to the media and made the invitation. Reading that news cheered me up a lot!
“F1 didn’t get the chance to race in France during 2020 because of COVID so driving a Mercedes at the French Grand Prix in 2021 and then completing a test at the Circuit Paul Ricard, my home track, will be so special. I can’t wait for the day to arrive.”
While Wolff is glad to be able to give Grosjean the chance to drive an F1 car again, he says he’s also interested to see what the former Haas driver makes of the W10 given his experience.
Things you love to see. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/xoYiihMCAM
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) May 5, 2021
“We are very happy to support Romain with this special opportunity,” Wolff said. “The idea first came when it looked like Romain would be ending his active career in Formula 1, and we didn’t want his accident to be his last moment in an F1 car.
“I have known Romain since his days in Formula Three when he won the championship. He enjoyed a long and successful F1 career and we wanted to make sure that his final memories would be at the wheel of a championship-winning car. I’m excited to see what Romain’s feedback on the W10 is.
“Romain’s accident reminds us of the dangers these guys face each time they climb into the cockpit but it’s also a testament to the incredible steps this sport has taken to improve safety over the years. I know the F1 community will celebrate seeing Romain back on track.”
While Grosjean has already been racing again in IndyCar this year, Hamilton says it will be special for the drivers to see the Frenchman back on track in F1 machinery after the scary experience of Bahrain.
“I’m really happy to see Romain back in an F1 car after his accident last year,” Hamilton said. “When it happened, we were all praying for him and seeing him walk away from it and recover so well was a massive relief. I’m looking forward to seeing him again in France and welcoming him to the team for the weekend — although he better look after my W10!”