Mercedes prepared to let Grosjean test one of their cars

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Mercedes is prepared to let Romain Grosjean test one of their cars if he is unable to take part in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi next week.

The Haas driver is absent from the grid this week due to the burns he suffered in his shocking crash at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix last Sunday.

His injuries mean his participation in next week’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is also in doubt. That race is due to be his final start for Haas, who he will leave at the end of the year, and he does not have a drive for the 2021 F1 season.

Grosjean said yesterday if he cannot race in Abu Dhabi, he will approach a team about a chance to test one of their cars in the new year.

“The story would be beautiful to go to Abu Dhabi,” he said. “If I don’t, I’ll call every single Formula 1 team and see if anyone would offer me a private test in January or so to jump back in the car and have 10, 15 laps for myself.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff confirmed the world champions would be willing to give him the opportunity.

“If we are allowed to do this and nobody else within his universe of teams that he raced would provide him with such an opportunity, we would do it,” he said.

Grosjean has driven with Mercedes power before, in 2015, when his Lotus team used Mercedes engines. He scored his most recent podium finish at that year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

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Grosjean scored his last podium finish in a Lotus-Mercedes at the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 45 comments on “Mercedes prepared to let Grosjean test one of their cars”

    1. A new challenger approaches! Toto keeping Bottas on his toes this week

    2. That would be great if he got to drive the fastest racing car in F1 to sign off on his F1 career :-)

    3. CLASS ACT BY TOTO

      1. I agree. Toto is the among the best ever F1 team principals.

      2. IF he, untypically, keeps his word?!

    4. Victor (@victorandrei1999)
      5th December 2020, 21:02

      That’s really nice from Mercedes! In a way, I am really sorry for drivers like Grosjean, Perez, Magnussen or Hulkenbrg who never had a real chance to show how good they really are, but I guess that”s the way this sport is. It is a bit strange to think that a lot of drivers come in F1 with great expectations after they have won in F2, F3 just to drive for 3 years and then leave the sport.

      1. Grosjean has been in F1 since 2009

      2. They all had a chance everytime they got in an F1 car!
        Just see Max vs Albon – Lewis vs Bottas, Russel vs Latifi – the better driver does the business and gets the best drives – the lesser drivers get to be the good drivers side kicks….Bottas

        1. See alonso though, sometimes skill isn’t enough to constantly get a good car, 1 bad decision, leaving mclaren and then he didn’t get again a worthy car.

          1. Alonso has his own personality to blame for lack of competitive drives. There is a very good reason most team principles don’t want him.

          2. @esploratore Alonso is perhaps a special case. He chased the dream of winning in red. The apparent pinnacle of F1, Ferrari. Always a highly coveted seat, even when they are on a downward trend. But he has also by that point gained a reputation for being a somewhat destabilising element in a team, some would say toxic.
            I also don’t think his reputation as a driver every really recovered from pretty much being beaten by rookie Hamilton, while he was the incumbent WDC.
            Decent driver, perhaps not a great team leader…

        2. Explain that to Perez.

    5. 15 laps in a Merc vs a race in a HAAS.\

      If I was RG I’d be pulling a sickie!

      1. János Henkelmann
        6th December 2020, 5:22

        Haha, must me tempting :D

    6. No,no, I’m sick of Grosjean now, every race he seems to find a new way to screw himself and the Haas team. Please, just no.

      1. How is he screwing Haas?

      2. You seem to be ignoring that he’s had several very reasonable races this year. This year alone, he’s been far better than the Grosjean back early on in 2018. I think people just see his awful luck in 2019 and his 7 retirements as all his fault – therefore he musts till be terrible. He’s not the best and I would rate him in the bottom 5 on the grid at the moment, but he still often shows very good pace and performances though it is a bit inconsistent. Both in Tuscany and Germany showed that he can be very good.

        1. His rookie season (2009), and the first half of 2018 are the only times Grosjean has been a bad driver. He made lots of mistakes in 2012 but made up for it with his pace, but the rest of his career he has been at least an average driver, and in 2013-15 he was one of the best. He probably is now in the top 5 worst drivers, but is definitely not the worst and is only slightly behind Kevin Magnussen. I think both Haas drivers are underrated (particularly Grosjean), and Haas will struggle a lot more next season with Schumacher and Mazepin, compared to now with Grosjean and Magnussen.

    7. Super nice gesture. I don’t want to see his last F1 outing end that way.
      (Toto knows how to marketing!)

    8. Mercedes should put on an invitational ‘turn up and drive’ event every year. I’d pay to see that, and I’m sure enough people to make the exposure financially viable would too!

    9. Very glad for Romain Grosjean that Mercedes stepped up to help a driver like this.

      Not my favorite team, but this is first rate.

    10. This would be a bit of a marketing win for Mercedes. Cynical, I know, but F1 is a cynical sport.

      1. “a cynical sport”, @gabf1 – which is a big part of the attraction for me. ;-)

    11. Sweet sweet PR. “Oh, have you heard about that guy who had a horrific crash a week ago? He´s driving Mercedes now!” Hard to find a bigger bunch of cold blooded vultures.

      1. @pironitheprovocateur win-win situation so what’s the problem?

    12. I’d gladly exchange 15 laps in the fastest car ever to a whole weekend of that pain in the butt Haas.

    13. I think Toto recognises its import that Grosjean’s given a chance to ‘climb back on that horse’, as part of his recovery.

    14. Yes, that’s nice of him ofc.

    15. I would need to understand the commercial arrangement here but I am going to be cynical here either way.

      If Grosjean is paying for it our his own pocket then no problem but it would be a bit rich to proactively claim any positive PR (although other third parties would bestow it on them but that is outside their control). If MB are paying then questions should be asked why other retiring drivers (eg Magnussen) are not given the same opportunity, having a horrific crash shouldn’t be the criteria that MB give you an free opportunity to drive one of their cars.

      1. Davethechicken
        6th December 2020, 9:04

        I think the difference being Grosjeans career would have ended abruptly and unexpectedly, depriving him of his last race and goodbye to F1. His last action in an F1 car being the accident.
        Magnusson will presumably drive in Abu Dhabi and have his fanfare.

      2. […] having a horrific crash shouldn’t be the criteria that MB give you an free opportunity to drive one of their cars

        Why not, actually?

        Apart from any cynical PR-related considerations, being nice to someone who has had a terrible experience, and helping him to close that chapter in a better way seems to me to be as good a reason as any other I could think of.

      3. Pironi the numpty
        6th December 2020, 11:44

        “having a horrific crash shouldn’t be the criteria that MB give you an free opportunity to drive one of their cars”

        No, the criteria for having a free opportunity in one of their cars should be if they want to offer it to you or not, nothing more nothing less. There is no criteria; MB can offer a drive to whoever they want provided it is within FIA rules, and if they don’t want to offer the same to Magnussen that’s his tough luck, but then I haven’t seen Magnussen asking, but then he hasn’t potentially lost his last two races after a horrific accident.

        Besides, who are you to determine what the criteria should be?

        1. How Toto spends the company money is up to him, however the shareholders of the company have an expectation that all company money will be invested in a way that generates the best return on investment. This is a pretty standard set of criteria for running a business, not my own.

          I struggle to see how paying for Grosjean (who has delivered virtually nothing to the MB team professionally) to test an old car provides best value as he will not be in the car long enough to provide good enough feedback. Therefore you get left with cynical PR.

          Unless Grosjean ponies up the cash himself, the best business decision is to either test future talent or invest in car performance.

    16. If Grosjean wants a test he should pay for it, although to be fair he implied that he would saying he would approach teams for a test.

      F1 teams don’t do a huge amount of testing as it is, any testing budget should be allocated to younger drivers of the future rather than giving an experienced driver without a standout career a send off essentially on the basis of pity. F1 is a cutthroat business at the end of the day, not a charity.

      1. And where in the rules book is it written that at the end of the business day, one cannot take the Cutthroat hat off and do someone a good deed?
        Don’t forget Toto’s own personal experience at the Nurembergring.:)

        1. I didn’t say it was in the rulebook, merely that if MB want to spend their own money testing that they try to invest in future potential and get a return rather than what will just be seen as a cynical PR ploy.

          Ultimately Toto has be deliver best value for the company shareholders, if he thinks that investing company money in this brings more value to the company that investment elsewhere (ie improving car performance) then so be it. However based on my current knowledge (ie not much) of their affairs I would disagree with that.

      2. And , by the way, since when Alonso is a younger driver of the future?

        1. This is a completely different issue, ask the FIA or engage another thread that discusses that specific topic.

    17. Not surprised at all to hear of this gesture from classy TW, and I would suggest when it comes to things like RG’s accident the whole paddock who all know each other to some degree or other, becomes one big family. It will not surprise me if every team extends an opportunity for RG. He will have his pick as to a last ride in a car so he can put his accident behind him. TW hints at this when he speaks of RG’s ‘universe of teams.’ I wonder if RG’s first choice might be with Haas though.

    18. Great news!

      Tough competitors, but with heart!

      Go Romain!

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