Romain Grosjean has revealed that his private test with Mercedes is “still on the cards” after Toto Wolff reached out to him following his crash in 2020.
After 179 race starts in Formula 1 with Renault, Lotus and Haas, the Frenchman was set to bow out at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix over a year ago with the Haas team, having scored 10 podiums and 291 career points.
However, this was cut short following his horrific accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, when he collided with Daniil Kvyat and slewed across the track straight through the barrier, splitting his car in two and leaving him trapped in an inferno.
Thankfully and somewhat miraculously, he was able to climb out of his Haas car with severe burns to his hands and injured ribs – a remarkably fortuitous escape.
As a result, Pietro Fittipaldi took his place for the final two rounds of the season, and Wolff later offered him a chance to drive a Mercedes to give him the chance to get behind the wheel of an F1 car again.
In a YouTube video, the 35-year-old has revealed a special helmet he has had prepared for his outing, and he remains hopeful that he can take to the wheel of the Mercedes.
“I know everyone is asking about the Mercedes test, well there is the helmet. The test hasn’t happened yet, but we’ve got a helmet ready for it,” he said.
Wolff was left “disillusioned” with F1 after the contentious title decider in Abu Dhabi last year, in which Max Verstappen beat Sir Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 championship, and Grosjean appreciated that there would be understandable indignation at the eight-time constructors’ champions, so waited a while to message the Austrian again to enquire about his test drive.
“I sent a message to Toto after Abu Dhabi,” he revealed.
“I let a few weeks go by and then I sent a message to Toto and he did reply and it started ‘thank you’ and then the last sentence was ‘we need to get you in that car this year’. So yes, it’s still on the cards.”
Grosjean left F1 to join the Dale Coyne team in IndyCar last season, and took pole position at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis – his first in 10 years – while claiming three podium finishes en route to a 15th-placed championship finish.
He has joined Andretti for the 2022 season, and he admits that his United States schedule provides obstacles in getting to drive the Mercedes.
“There were a few things last year that didn’t make it easy. This year, I cannot go at the French Grand Prix because we’re racing in Iowa the same weekend,” he explained.
“But definitively, yes, Mercedes is keen to do it, I am keen to do it, even though my neck would be dying because I’ve lost part of the muscle there. We still want to do it and if it happens, great, but the main focus is now trying to win races with Andretti.”
Grosjean’s former Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen re-joined the team ahead of this year to replace the sacked Nikita Mazepin amid Russia’s war on Ukraine, and the Frenchman has previously revealed that he would have turned down the opportunity to return to Formula 1.