Mercedes confirm plans for Grosjean’s first F1 test since Bahrain crash

2021 F1 season

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Mercedes will give Romain Grosjean two opportunities to drive one of their world-championship winning cars next month.

It will be his first chance to drive a Formula 1 car since the shocking crash in Bahrain last year which forced an early end to his grand prix career. Grosjean suffered burns to his hands in the crash which prevented him contesting what would have been his final two races for Haas.

He was fitted for a seat at the Mercedes factory in March and familiarised himself with their systems in the simulator.

Mercedes announced today Grosjean will drive the W10 Lewis Hamilton used to win the world championship in 2019 in a series of demonstration laps on June 27th during the French Grand Prix weekend at Paul Ricard. He will also have a day’s running in the car on June 29th.

“The idea first came when it looked like Romain would be ending his active career in Formula 1, and we didn’t want his accident to be his last moment in an F1 car,” said Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff.

“I have known Romain since his days in Formula 3 when he won the championship. 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.”

Grosjean said he was eager for the “unique experience” of driving a world-championship winning Formula 1 car.

“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. Reading 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.”

Grosjean started 179 races in his Formula 1 career and finished on the podium 10 times. His last podium finish came with Mercedes power in the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, for Lotus. He is competing in the IndyCar series for Coyne/Rick Ware this year.

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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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32 comments on “Mercedes confirm plans for Grosjean’s first F1 test since Bahrain crash”

  1. A nice gesture. His run on the GP weekend will be a pre-race demo run a la Mick in Mugello or Alonso in Abu Dhabi, albeit he drove throughout the event rather than only on race day itself. I correctly assumed W10 would be the car of choice as the most recent one eligible for unlimited running this year.

  2. Does Toto manage Grosjean too?

    1. Toto manages everything in F1 ;)

    2. someone or something
      5th May 2021, 12:58

      No. There is no obvious connection between Grosjean and Mercedes. Just a nice gesture and some PR.

  3. What a car he will drive. That’s the W10… What a track, and in his home country.

  4. A PR win for Toto…

    1. Class, as usual from Merc AMG.

      Reply moderated
  5. I still don’t get what this is about.. Give mr. crasher one of your cars for fun? It’s bizarre

    1. Selling Mercedes to French F1 fans and Grojean fans which is the whole point of corporate sponsored teams in all sport. It is a great move by Toto.

    2. What a mean comment. It’s a nice gesture to a popular driver. Your comment says more about you than anything else.

      1. @phil-f1-21 Maybe ‘mr. crasher’ was maybe crassly formulated, but it was in reference to Grosjean being notorious for his crashes. That’s what people will remember him for. Perhaps I should have said “Give a driver notorius for his crashes one of your cars for fun?”, but then there isn’t really much difference.

        1. Hopefully @balue Romain will be less likely to crash in a non competitive demonstration and test day. He was involved in several incidents in his more recent seasons but I still think his perceived tendency to be very crash prone was a bit exaggerated.

  6. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
    5th May 2021, 12:32

    @balue I knew someone would have something negative to say about this. There’s always someone. It’s a throughouly feel good story and win win to both parties.
    We need to stop being negative all the time on the internet.

    1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend questioning something isn’t ‘being negative’

    2. Agreed.

      Regardless of whether Wolff/Mercedes gets anything from this, it is a really nice gesture, that cannot come wholly free of cost for Mercedes.

      Also Mercedes is picking up something that really should have been Haas’ job to do; slightly disappointed in Steiner on this one.

      Reply moderated
      1. We know now that relations was very sour even more then we saw on Netflix.

    3. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
      5th May 2021, 15:15

      @balue questioning something is not the same as being negative.
      But your tone is negative, mean spirited towards Grosjean and completely unnecessary.
      Maybe you have some work to do to learn to question something without coming across negatively. There’s too much negativity in the world already.

      1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend The only one being negative now is really just you

        1. Shades of future planning to stop all this procrastinating.

        2. @balue I’m with @pmccarthy_is_a_legend on this. Your opening comment was very negative. Perhaps you missed the nuance of this when you say you don’t get what this is about and that it is bizarre. You have missed the psychological aspect of this. The family aspect of this.

          The whole point of this is that RG did not want his fiery crash to be his very last experience in an F1 car. I would add that my understanding initially was that it was not long after the crash, as in within a day or two, it was RG who had reached out to any team that might consider and be able to put together a little run for him at some time…just 10 or 15 laps was all he was asking for…so that that could become his last experience in an F1 car, not his crash.

          That this article has TW reaching out to him first while he was in the hospital is a bit different than I had envisioned, as I thought that RG reached out to any and all teams first, and I also thought that we heard TW on Sky say that if another team didn’t step up, then he/they would try to put something together.

          But suffice it to say nonetheless, this is a touching thing for TW to do for RG, not only to give him a few laps in front of his own people, but then a proper day when RG can really put in some good laps on a track, and make that his last experience in an F1 car with which to then proceed with the rest of his life. I think it is touching, heart warming, shows what a family F1 can be in spite of their rivalries, especially when something so dramatic happens that affects them all, and this is so healthy not just for RG, but for TW and Mercedes to reach out and do such a giving thing.

          The only thing bizarre is someone calling this bizarre.

          1. @robbie I’ll be blunt then. At the core this is a cynical PR ploy by Wolff, and it’s actually insensitive. It’s like ‘hey, now that you’re out of F1 and have probably lost your mojo, come and feel what you missed out on and will never have!” It’s the same when they dragged Billy Monger for a photo op. “This is your crushed dream, isn’t it great to see?” To me that wasn’t a feel good story, it was a feel bad story. Borderline exploitation. Remember Kubica admitted he could not even go near any race tracks following his accident, the sense of loss was too great.

            Grosjean would never appear ungrateful so would always accept this offer, but even if he is genuinely excited about it, or have vague hope of a role at Mercedes, it was never a given that he would feel this way. Then there’s the real risk Grosjean might crash. What message is that?

            I just don’t like hypocrisy and fakery. The ones Wolff really should give a run is for example his simulator or reserve drivers Davidson and Vandoorne. Even in a 2 year old car that would be a nice gesture to them for loyal service, as well as being useful to the team. How do they feel when it’s not them yet again, but some random dude so that Toto can stroke himself?

          2. @balue I’ll be blunt then. You suck.

          3. @robbie No you suck

  7. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    5th May 2021, 13:10

    As I recall at the time Toto didn’t have time necessarily to think of how much PR the team would get but off the cuff said if Romain couldn’t race anymore and no other team comes forward he would arrange for a test with Mercedes.

  8. ian dearing
    5th May 2021, 14:01

    Giving Grosjean some demonstration runs during the GP weekend is good PR. Giving him a full track day with the Merc on top of that is just plain good.

    1. Yes, potentially a winning move all round, especially for Grosjean.
      The heading for this article, “Grosjean’s first F1 test since Bahrain crash”, seems a little out of tune with the aspect that it is touted as a good-will gesture.
      Is it a Test or just a PR run.? A bit of both I would venture.

      1. @rekibsn Personally I think this is strictly a good-will gesture, and nothing to do with a test nor PR. This is entirely to give RG a positive experience as his last experience in an F1 car, and to help ensure his last memory in F1 is that, and not his crash. And the bonus for TW and Mercedes? They go away with such a warm feeling from having done such a good deed for a good guy.

  9. It would be mildly amusing if he was faster than Bottas …

  10. Obviously everyone knows I hate mercedes, so finally something wolff does right!

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