Mercedes still seeking to make Grosjean’s long-awaited F1 test happen

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In the round-up: Romain Grosjean’s planned Mercedes Formula 1 test has not been abandoned, over two years after it was postponed.

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In brief

Grosjean’s Mercedes F1 test hopes not over

Mercedes announced in May 2021 that Grosjean would conduct a Formula 1 test with them at Paul Ricard the following month. Grosjean’s F1 career had come to an early end the year before following a shocking fireball crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix which split his car in two and left him nursing burns to his hands.

However the planned test had to be put on hold after F1 made changes to the 2021 calendar. With Grosjean racing full-time in IndyCar from the following year, and F1’s rules making opportunities to test limited, the date has not been rescheduled.

Grosjean has since lost his Andretti Autosport seat and his plans for next year remain unconfirmed. RaceFans understands Mercedes, having done a seat fit in overalls with Grosjean back in 2021 ahead of his planned run in their title-winning 2019 car, are still looking to make the long-awaited test happen.

Mercedes F1 team’s 2022 profits revealed in accounts

The annual report and financial statements from 2022 for the Mercedes F1 team have been released by Companies House, and reveal the team made a profit in their first title-free year since 2013.

In total Mercedes’ turnover of £474.6 million was an increase of £91.3 million over 2021’s numbers, and that equated to a big year-on-year jump in profits too with a climb from £68.8 million to £89.7 million. Therefore following 2022 the team had to pay out £75 million (up from £55.2 million the previous year) in dividends to shareholders due to their large profits.

Mercedes spent £35,097,000 on race car development during their title-winning 2021 season, which increased to £41,016,000 last year as they sought to make up ground on the dominant Red Bull.

IndyCar working on lighter aeroscreen

IndyCar president Jay Frye has provided an update on the work to lighten the series’ aeroscreen, a safety device surrounding the cockpit of the Dallara DW12 that was introduced to the car in 2020.

“It’s basically a version two of it [in development for 2024]. It will do the same thing from a safety perspective, which I think we’ve seen numerous times it’s come into play in a big way. So we’re very grateful for that,” Frye explained.

“Pankl PPG have done a really good job of lightening up the current version, so it’s going to be a lighter model. Which we’re trying to lighten up the overall car. There’s going to be some, one of the things with it, the original piece, was driver cooling. So we’re building some driver cooling elements to the new screen, so yeah it’s going to be good.”

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Comment of the day

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was one of many drivers to struggle with heat and dehydration during the Qatar Grand Prix, and he even threw up in his car before reaching the race’s halfway point.

But he was reluctant to say it was all to much to race in despite his gruelling description of how it felt.

“It’s not an option, retiring,” Ocon remarked post-race. “I was never going to do that. You need to kill me to retire.”

Not a fan of this kind of macho proclamations. If you are about to pass out, as Sargeant clearly was, you become dangerous for others as well.

You pass out on a straight before a chicane, don’t brake and you torpedo the car in front of you. Hell, even Lauda retired, so if he himself did, there’s no praise in saying that one wouldn’t.

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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29 comments on “Mercedes still seeking to make Grosjean’s long-awaited F1 test happen”

  1. Whoever scheduled Qatar in early October is to blame for the safety conditions, not the drivers who will do a job anywhere in the world. It’s not machoism, its getting on with a job no matter what. Especially when there are dozens of drivers who would be more than willing to race in these conditions.

    I don’t even blame Sargeant for quitting, I blame Williams for not demanding he stop. Leaving it up to him was the real joke. Williams are lucky Sargeant didn’t pass out or worse.

    1. The Qatar GP should’ve indeed never been scheduled for October’s first half in the first place, even as a one-off or stop-gap thing.
      Fortunately, that will remain a one-off & I also agree that Williams should’ve taken the matter out of his control rather than letting him decide whether to continue driving.

    2. If it weren’t for the tire limit, the conditions would not have been. We’ve raced in higher temps with even worse humidity. Please think before you post.

      1. Add that the Williams is probably one of the most physically demanding F1 cars to drive. Slower cars tend to be.

      2. Nick T. Yes, temps weren’t the issue per se, but humidity in a way because it was unusually high for a Middle East location.
        Yes, tyre limit causing more push-like stints combined with that affected matters, but even without stint length limit, drivers still would’ve felt the climatic conditions.

        1. Yes, but like I said, we’ve had many races in Malaysia especially with higher temps and humidity. Admittedly, though, Malaysia had huge straights to give the drivers a break. I think this is a situation of which the GPDA should be in charge of themselves rather than having some hard and fast rule set implemented. As I’ve said ad nauseum, I’ve got no problems with safety, but F1 is reaching theme park bumper cars levels of safety and risk aversion.

          1. I usually like your posts Nick. Guess we all have blind spots.

  2. Now that we no longer have in-season testing, it means we also no longer see teams spending time between races giving test drives to junior drivers. Back in 1990-something, Ayrton Senna had test drives with McLaren, Williams, and Toleman, before signing up for the Toleman team. These days, promising drivers have to sign a contract and then hope they’ll get to drive a car in one practice session somewhere during the coming year.

    1. These days, promising drivers have to sign a contract and then hope they’ll get to drive a car in one practice session somewhere during the coming year.

      These days, drivers have their entire junior career funded and managed by one of the big teams/manufacturers right from F4 or even earlier – are are very tightly locked in to that arrangement until they are either dropped completely or choose to defect themselves.
      As such, very few juniors now could even entertain the idea of testing for any team, never mind actually have the option presented to them.

    2. 80s-something, right? (1983 to be more precise).
      By the 90s Senna was a WDC already.

      1. Edvaldo, 80s??? Oh gawd, I;’m even older than I thought

  3. Just let it go because viable opportunities timing-wise will seemingly never come, or at least not as long as he races & resides in the US.

    Perhaps FIA should likeiwse start working on a lighter Halo.

    Respect indeed to Alfa Romeo-Sauber mechanics for looking after a rival team driver.

    I agree with the COTD about the questionability in such a proclaim as something can indeed go terribly wrong, as probably would’ve gone with Sargeant if he’d forcibly tried to push himself to finish the race at all costs, for example, by literally passing out towards T1 or at the high-speed S3 corners due to heatstroke & extreme dehydration.

    1. Yes it’s a 2!

  4. ah, Romain. I’d be better to get that out of the way right away back then. No he has become even more of a clown hahaha. Maybe one lap in FP1 then..

    1. Exactly. Why reward him for being a massive safety risk? It was a nice sentiment in the moment, but come on…

    2. Coventry Climax
      11th October 2023, 21:27

      Mercedes now have a couple of cars from the last two seasons, that Romain can bin to his hearts content. Just make sure there’s noone else around, except for firemen and first aid workers.

  5. Ah yes the old Grosjean pity party. Amazing how it was oddly the best thing to ever happen to him re his profile, indy career & a free private merc test day lol. Merc probably can’t find an insurer willing to underwrite the inevitable 6 figure crash damage. You’d also need a fully staffed track for that man

    1. What I don’t like is, if you go back and read the comments when the test idea first came about, mercedes got good PR out of that, something they eventually didn’t do.

      Being used to mercedes’ ways back then, sandbagging, lying about their predicted performance and so on, I was immediately skeptical they’d keep the promise and here we are.

      I know grosjean was also the one who couldn’t make it back in 2021, but it’s now been so long it seems unlikely.

  6. UNpopular opinion Alert:

    Why would Merc, or any other team, seriously consider putting Grosjean back in an F1 car? It’s a miracle that he hasn’t killed anyone yet, and all the pity surropunding him is sidestepping the fact that he directly caused the Bahrain accident, as well as most of the other too-many-to-count incidents he’s been involved in. He has never been anything but a danger to himself and everyone around him, and now that the novelty of the “man on fire” has worn off, even Indycar is bored with him. He’s been on borrowed time since Spa 2012 and if I were a racer I would refuse to share a track with him.

    1. I doubt they’re planning on getting him back on the actual F1 grid.

    2. Why would Merc, or any other team, seriously consider putting Grosjean back in an F1 car

      I know that Mercedes, and especially Toto Wolf, aren’t always the easiest to like, but might, just might, the proposed one-off test drive simply be a nice human gesture towards a former competitor who left the sport in bad circumstances?

      Actually, I am a little bit disappointed that Haas didn’t (as far as I know) offer him a chance of a nice replacement good-bye drive and celebration somewhere to make up for the one he didn’t have at the last scheduled GP for the team.

    3. Because they have publicly made that promise (and then kept repeating it). We’re talking about a promo drive, I’m not sure why are you making analysis like this has anything to do with him coming back to F1 for good. After all, this is an old promise, made when he had already decided to join Indy. It’s different situation for him now, but that doesn’t change the context of this story.

  7. I don’t get the hatred almost for Grosjean and I never have done. Yes he made some bad mistakes but many, many drivers have over the years. People forget that earlier in his career, back with Renault for instance, he got some very decent results. He has 10 podiums in F1 and 6 in IndyCar.

    It just seems to be it’s the willfully ignorant or uniformed who criticise him with such vehemence. But there, the trolls love to have someone to pick on.

    I love how all of these armchair experts know exactly what it takes to drive at the highest level.

  8. Just let him have the clothes and memorabilia.

  9. So… Mr. Wolff:

    Your team made £91.3 ($112) million in profit for 2022– I don’t know if that includes TV money, but I assume it does. By my estimate that suggests you are likely to lose somewhere around $7 million per year with an extra team in F1– but you’ll also make an additional (unearned) $20 million USD the first year. And the TV money won’t be affected by a new team the first year– FoM had no problems screwing Haas out of any funds their first year.

    So you’re going to make MORE money the first three years Andretti is in F1, if not 4 years.

    Please explain your stance that an 11th team will cost the existing teams money? Preferably with, you know, numbers?

    1. Its irrelevant how much money a team already made, to simply answer the question whether one more team will cost money (aka reduce the income). If there are budgets which are split up to the teams, then one more team mathematically means, the share of the other teams gets smaller. Pretty simple, I’d say.

      1. Yes, slicing a pie into 11 pieces instead of 10 would make each slice smaller. But that’s only assuming the pie remains the same size. If adding the 11th team would mean the total size of the revenue would increase significantly enough compared to the current 10 team situation, then dividing this increased amount into 11 pieces might well mean that each of the 11 pieces is indeed bigger than when the original smaller amount was being divided into 10. This is what the current F1 teams appear to be missing, or deliberately pretending they don’t see.
        And, just for the record, the last F1 race that featured a full grid (26 cars) was 1995 Monaco GP. Ever since then, for almost 30 years now we the paying public have been shortchanged – paying the same full price to see less cars on the track. So every true F1 fan should be outraged by the existing teams blocking new entries!

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