Romain Grosjean to make fairy-tale return to F1 with special one-off Mercedes test
Exactly seven months on from his horrifying fiery crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean will make a sensational return to an F1 cockpit when he completes a one-off test for world champions Mercedes.
The 35-year-old Frenchman had been determined that his final act in an F1 machine wouldn’t be the crash that made his headline news around the world and left him with severe burns on his hands.
Forced to sit out the final two races of the season for Haas, Grosjean was recovering in hospital when he received the promise of an F1 test with Mercedes from Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff, to ensure he could end his Grand Prix racing story on his own terms.
True to that promise, Grosjean will drive Lewis Hamilton’s 2019 championship-winning W10 in a full-day test at French Grand Prix venue Circuit Paul Ricard on June 29 – seven months to the day since his crash.
Grosjean will also pilot the car for a series of demonstration laps ahead of his home race at the same venue two days earlier.
“I am so excited to jump back in an F1 car!” said Grosjean, who completed a seat fit and simulator session at Mercedes’ Brackley factory on March 30. “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. Read 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.”
Toto Wolff added that the inspiration behind the drive was to let Grosjean – who now races in Indycar – end his F1 career in a fitting way.
“We are very happy to support Romain with this special opportunity,” he said. “The idea first came when it looked like Romain would be ending his active career in Formula One, and we didn’t want his accident to be his last moment in an F1 car.
“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 remind 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.”
Lewis Hamilton also had some words for the man getting into his former steed, saying he was “really happy” to see the Frenchman getting back in an F1 cockpit. “When it happened, we were all praying for him and seeing him walk away from it and recover so well was a massive relief,” added Hamilton.
“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.”
It’s going to be an emotional occasion, so whatever you do, make sure you tune into the French Grand Prix on June 27.