Grosjean ‘finalising plans’ to test Mercedes F1 car

2021 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean says his plans to test a Mercedes Formula 1 car are at an advanced stage.

Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff extended an offer to Grosjean to test one of their Formula 1 cars after his crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix last year, which brought an early end to his final season in the championship.

Grosjean suffered burns to his hands as he escaped from the fireball crash. That left him unable to participate in the the Sakhir and Abu Dhabi grands prix, which would have been his final appearances in F1 for Haas.

He confirmed in a discussion with fans on social media Wolff had made him an offer to drive one of the world champions’ cars.

“I have had a phone call with them and we are finalising the plan,” said Grosjean. “I think it’s going to be mega.” No date has yet been confirmed for the test.

Wolff said last year Mercedes would give Grosjean a test if “nobody else within his universe of teams that he raced would provide him with such an opportunity”. Haas have previously indicated they will not be able to run a car for him to test as they do not have access to a suitable power unit. Formula 1’s rules tightly restrict how often teams can run their current cars outside of race weekends.

Grosjean raced a Mercedes-powered Formula 1 car in 2015. He scored his final podium at a grand prix in a Lotus-Mercedes at Spa.

He will drive for Coyne in the majority of this year’s IndyCar races and is due to have his first test for the team at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday.

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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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24 comments on “Grosjean ‘finalising plans’ to test Mercedes F1 car”

  1. I think that’s fantastic!

  2. Toto is making sure the car has all insurance papers in order.

  3. Would be nice.

  4. No access to a suitable PU seems weird given that all of their cars are Ferrari-powered, i.e., have a PU of their present PU supplier, so using a pre-2020 car should be achievable. Having a different PU supplier is why RB, for example, can’t use their hybrid era cars from 2014 to 2018, but this doesn’t apply to teams that haven’t changed suppliers. Nevertheless, a Mercedes car is definitely a more desirable option for a private test than a Haas car anyway, LOL. We shall wait and find out whether W10 would be the car used for the purpose since it’s the most recent one permitted for unlimited running as of this year.

  5. W10 or W11… if he gets one of those cars to drive… oh boy…. those are the most likely best handling cars of all the time… Can’t wait to see his thoughts if it would happen..

    1. It’s clear what he is going to say, “Bloody fast, fastest f1 car he has driven, thank you for this opportunity”.

  6. Coventry Climax
    21st February 2021, 18:25

    Nice for Grosjean, but Wolff is by no means a philanthropist. What he will get out of this is a comparison to his current drivers, and will help him decide whether Bottas is to be replaced with Russel.

    1. Bottas is just a failed talent…

    2. Coventry Climax I’m pretty sure this has nothing whatsoever to do with some driver comparison. This is just a kind gesture towards RG because he had said after his crash that he did not want that to be his final experience in an F1 car. He was asking for even just 10 or 15 laps. From anyone. Anything just to help put his fiery crash further behind him. How you think that could possibly help TW decide on keeping VB or hiring GR, especially when both those drivers are about to put full seasons in, and could be judged from that, is beyond me. But yeah I guess your comment might be a sign of all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories about to arise from this innocent, kind gesture.

      1. Have to agree there @robbie, probably little sporting gain, but meant and working as a nice gesture to give a scary experience for Grosjean and everyone in F1 a decent sign-off. Maybe something in this seasons Drive to survive and publicity, but it seems like it was just a genuine offer.

        More the pity for Ferrari they couldn’t do it, guess they are a bit preoccupied with their own concerns.

      2. Coventry Climax
        22nd February 2021, 23:17

        @Robbie: Believe what you will, that’s ok with me. I just find it hard to believe that Wolff makes ‘innocent, kind gestures’ without getting something in return. My opinion of him is clearly diiferent to yours. That’s allowed, hopefully? But do not accuse me of following or, even worse, making up conspiracy theories. I’m a pretty down to earth guy.
        Maybe it’s a sign of the times that the accusation comes so easily?

        1. Coventry Climax Fair enough but I do think TW has it in him to just get satisfaction out of doing a nice thing given the circumstances of RG’s accident and the fact that that was his last race. But sure, neither of us know him and you could be right and I could be wrong. But that’s about his personality. I certainly do not think I am wrong in saying there is absolutely nothing to your suggestion that somehow one stint in a Mercedes, probably not even enough laps to warrant a tire change and send him back out, for he has only asked for 10 or 15 laps, would be anything whatsoever to do with deciding on VB vs GR. I just found that to be outlandish, hence my conspiracy theory comment. It just made me wonder if someone, and it could be you, will say after this “fun day” for RG (as I see it) that it will have made for some unfair advantage for Mercedes, just as some folks seem to think a filming day is. And that would be ridiculous.

    3. Yes, very curious what the angle is. Of course it’s cheap PR to say ‘we’re such a good team’, but why would they need it? Feeling bad about something?

      Also a bit nasty for Grosjean if you think about it. “This is what you could have had, but will never have”. We rather took somebody from the back of the grid than you.

      1. @balue I just think that when something happens such as a fiery crash like RG had, it reminds the whole paddock that they are a family when it comes to never wanting to see anyone hurt let alone killed. When they stopped that race, and for those initial moments, they all would have had their hearts in their throats. Then they would have all breathed a collective sigh of relief when it was discovered he’d be ok. When something like this happens it is no longer about teams or competing or one-upping the others. It is a reminder they are all there doing a luxury thing and loving it and getting very rich from it, and then suddenly one of their own almost dies and it puts everything into perspective. I haven’t a single doubt this is simply TW and Mercedes accommodating a friend to help him take another measure to get past something that might still be giving him nightmares for all we know.

        An angle? Cheap PR? Feeling bad? Nasty? This is what you could have had? Come on, give me a break. That’s just too cynical.

        1. @robbie Not really. In a way it’s similar to after Billy Monger’s crash when he was dragged through the F1 paddock for photo-ops, even though everyone knew other crash victims like Kubica could not even go near a track, the feeling of loss was too great. “Here’s what you’ll never have now Billy, isn’t it great?”

  7. “Nice for Grosjean, but Wolff is by no means a philanthropist. What he will get out of this is a comparison to his current drivers, and will help him decide whether Bottas is to be replaced with Russel.”

    I think it’s just nice PR, really. It’s a classy touch from Toto. I get the feeling it’s a classy touch that he didn’t quite envisage he’d have to pay out on, but nevertheless, it’s still a classy touch.

    1. It seemed also a bit of a challenge to Ferrari at the time, so yeah might not have thought about the bill coming out of his budget, indeed

  8. Solid Link from Toto to Romain. I hope this opportunity brings a sense of closure for all the has happened. It’s good for all to see and how close he was to fate that day.
    I hope he beats the hell out of it and shows us all once a driver always a driver. Have a blast and know where your heavy foot is. Could become an eyeball stretcher

    1. Lol good comment.

  9. I always was a bit perplexed why Ferrari didn’t offer him a run in a few different cars at Fiorano. It would be a very easy PR win for the Scuderia as Grosjean is a popular fellow and was for a few years in the mix for a drive with the prancing horse.

    It also would be worth throwing him in the simulator a few times over the next few years as he is rated so highly for speed (less so consistancy). I think people underestimated how fast he was/is in a F1 car but just lacked a bit of consistancy and racing awareness versus the greatest.

    But hey Mercedes know how the game is played – so come on down Roman and have some fun. Take note rest of the grid!

    1. Being given a ride in either last seasons Ferrari or last season Mercedes?
      One point is to say that the Ferrari maybe still isn’t at all what it used to be. So that’s kind of a goofy offer to me. At least Toto can only become greater for his generosity, his Racecar and his promise of being given a chance to shine behind the stunning Black Lives Matter MERC
      High marks to Toto. I think it’s a great way to try and say goodbye to F1.

    2. fiorano is laden with armco

  10. Coventry Climax, whilst you suggest the idea that Wolff wants to run this test to get a comparison with his current drivers, that doesn’t really seem to make much sense when you take into account the FIA’s testing restrictions.

    Firstly, given that the FIA has imposed quite strict limits on running a car that has been built for the current year or the previous year, those regulations would probably block Grosjean from testing a car built in either 2020 or 2021. The most recent car that Mercedes might be allowed to give Grosjean a test in would be their 2019 car, but even that would only be under quite heavily restricted conditions.

    Secondly, because the FIA wanted to clamp down on the possibility that teams might use events running historical cars to collect data, the teams are also highly restricted in the type of tyres that they can use and are also heavily restricted on the data they can collect. The FIA’s regulations are designed to prevent teams from using those events outside of the official tests from teams using them to make that sort of comparison.

    Thirdly, what value would a limited number of laps from Grosjean serve for Mercedes, especially when the FIA’s regulations are designed to make those tests less representative to begin with?

    Given that Russell has been working with Mercedes for multiple years now, Mercedes can already draw on their knowledge of several thousands of km of testing that Russell has done for them, feedback from the race in Sakhir and are likely also getting some degree of feedback and information from Williams about him. Would a handful of laps, which would probably have to be in an older car on unrepresentative tyres, from Grosjean really make that much of a difference? I think that Mercedes are very unlikely to change their position based on that alone.

    1. Exactly. Just not sure if your common sense opinion on this will matter to some, no matter how much of a slam dunk you have made it.

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