‘Really happy’ Grosjean claims he would have rejected Haas call-up to replace Mazepin

Kevin Magnussen was chosen to replace Nikita Mazepin after his sacking amid the war Russia has started on Ukraine.

Former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean has revealed that he would not have taken the opportunity to return to the sport with Haas, insisting that he has now moved on.

Grosjean signed for Haas in 2016 having managed 10 podiums between 2012 and 2015 with Lotus, and scored points on 24 occasions with the American outfit, managing a best finish of fourth.

He was unable to see out the final two races of his Haas career in 2020 following his horrific accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix that year, and Pietro Fittipaldi stepped in to replace him.

It was perceived that the Brazilian would also be called up ahead of the 2022 season after the sacking of Nikita Mazepin amid the war between Russia and Ukraine, but the team ultimately chose to re-sign Grosjean’s former teammate Kevin Magnussen.

The Swiss-Frenchman reveals that, had the team called him instead, he would have decided to stay in IndyCar.

“A lot of people asked me if I would go back. I would not,” he said in a YouTube video.

“I’m really happy in the United States, really happy in IndyCar.”

The 35-year-old scored three podium finishes in IndyCar last year, and claimed a pole position for his Andretti Motorsport team.

He is keen to stay in a series in which he knows he can fight for rewarding results.

Article continues below

“I’m so excited every weekend that I can go in a race and get a shot at the win. I had an incredible career in F1, all the races are behind me, it’s such a huge part of my life,” he explained.

“But right now I’m on to the next chapter, and the next chapter is about winning races and trying to win championships. So I would not have answered positively to the phone call.”

At times, Grosjean’s relationship with Magnussen was slightly rocky. The pair came together on numerous occasions and they regularly pushed one another from a competitive standpoint, with the Dane out-qualifying him 39-38 in the four years they spent together.

However, they always maintained a great respect for one another, and Grosjean emphasised that he is pleased for his former Haas partner.

“I think it’s awesome, I’m so happy for Kevin,” he explained.

“He’s such a great guy. We didn’t always get on nicely, we kind of had a different view on racing with team-mates.

“We banged wheels a few times on the race track and we talked through what we were thinking [as] team-mates, and from there it was very smooth.”

Grosjean sympathises with the circumstances his old team found themselves in when they had to drop Mazepin as a result of letting go of now former name partner Uralkali amid the war in Eastern Europe.

“Haas were in this situation where everything was happening in the world, different decisions [were made], they stopped the sponsorship with Uralkali,” he added.

He hinted that if F1 were purely a world based on meritocracy, the Russian probably would not have been given the drive.

“I believe the reason Mazepin was driving for Haas was because he was bringing a huge sponsorship for the team,” explained Grosjean.

Mick Schumacher out-qualified the 23-year-old Russian 20 times in 22 races last season, but it was difficult to judge his performance given that he was considerably stronger than his competition.

He now has an experienced, proven racer alongside him and Grosjean recalls the 29-year-old’s ability to extract maximum performance out of the car regardless of the circumstances.

“I think for Mick Schumacher, he will have a team-mate that has a lot of experience in F1, that is very fast. Kevin’s strength is he can always drive the car the way it is,” he explained.

“He will do with it, it doesn’t need to be perfect for him to go fast. He will deal with the car. I hope Haas will give him a competitive car.”

The former Renault, Lotus and Haas man is not entirely convinced that the car will be a competitive one, but he hopes that Magnussen will be able to involve himself in the higher echelons of the midfield battle.

“I’m worried it won’t be that competitive, but who knows – I hope I’m wrong. I hope for Kevin he can get some fights at the front,” he stated.

Magnussen will kick off the third spell of his F1 career at this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.