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Mercedes honours its promise to Romain Grosjean

NEWS STORY
05/05/2021

In an emotional return, Romain Grosjean will turn the wheel of an F1 car for the first time since his accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, when he drives Lewis Hamilton's championship-winning W10 at Paul Ricard next month.

The final chapter in Romain's Formula One story looked set to be his terrifying accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, when his Haas car pierced the barrier and erupted into flames.

While recovering in hospital, the Frenchman received the promise from Toto Wolff of an opportunity to drive a Mercedes F1 car and ensure his accident wasn't the end of his F1 story.

Honouring that promise, Romain will drive Lewis Hamilton's 2019 title-winning W10 in a full test-day at the Circuit Paul Ricard, on 29 June. Romain will also pilot the W10 for a series of demonstration laps at the French Grand Prix on June 27.

Romain's escape from the burning wreck of his Haas car captured worldwide attention in November and the 35-year old was fortunate to escape with only severe burns to his hands.

Despite his valiant efforts to recover, Romain was ruled out of the final two races of the season; it appeared the door was closing on a storied F1 career spanning 179 starts and 10 podiums.

Yet in the aftermath of his accident, Toto Wolff made a commitment to Romain that his crash would not be his final act in F1. True to his word, Toto invited Romain to the Mercedes F1 base in Brackley on 30 March to undergo a seat fit and spend time on the team's simulator in preparation for a specially-organised test at the Frenchman's home circuit on 29 June - seven months to the day since his accident. He will also take part in a series of demo laps ahead of the French Grand Prix on Sunday 27 June.

This season, Romain is competing in the IndyCar series for Dale Coyne Racing with RWR. The W10 he will be driving in France took 15 wins, 10 pole positions and set nine fastest laps between both drivers during the 2019 season, with Lewis winning the Drivers' Championship and the team taking the Constructors' title that year.

"I am so excited to jump back in an F1 car!" said the Frenchman. "It will be a special opportunity for me and to drive a World Championship-winning Mercedes will be a unique experience.

"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!

"I didn't get the chance to race in France in 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."

"We are very happy to support Romain with this special opportunity," said Toto Wolff. "The idea first came when it looked like Romain would be ending his active career in Formula One, and we didn't want his accident to be his last moment in an F1 car.

"I have known Romain since his days in Formula Three 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.

"Romain's accident reminds us of the dangers these guys face each time they climb into the cockpit but it's also a testament to the incredible steps this sport has taken to improve safety over the years. I know the F1 community will celebrate seeing Romain back on track."

"I'm really happy to see Romain back in an F1 car after his accident last year," added Lewis Hamilton. "When it happened, we were all praying for him and seeing him walk away from it and recover so well was a massive relief. I'm looking forward to seeing him again in France and welcoming him to the team for the weekend... although he better look after my W10!"

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by intrepid, 08/05/2021 19:13

"a splendid gesture, Toto, and an experience that Romain will ever treasure. I watched the accident and said to myself: "he'll never make it out alive." Great wind-up to his racing life story."

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2. Posted by kenji, 06/05/2021 0:55

"@ ChickenFarmerF1...Thanks for the response. I somehow seemed to have forgotten that it was published and it was remiss of me. Thanks for the reminder. I recall reading it and I was substantially underwhelmed by the lack of condemnation attributed to Grosjean's ill fated move across Kvyat's path!. Like most people I am happy about the fact that Grosjean escaped with minor injuries considering what might have been. That said, he should've been held to account more forcefully when taking into account what might have happened to other drivers by his extremely dangerous move. "

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3. Posted by Wokingchap, 05/05/2021 19:44

"Great news and i hope he thoroughly enjoys it."

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4. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 05/05/2021 18:03

"Let's hope with him racing in IndyCar this year he figures out better way to phrase things in English. I mean, I know what he meant with this quote from when he was recovering from the burns. But the phrasing makes it sound really inappropriate.

"Bloody hell, makes me super happy to have my right hand free from dressings. Loads of creaming all day long but it feels so good to see it in such good shape.""

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5. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 05/05/2021 18:00

"@kenji the report came out 2 months ago.

https://www.pitpass.com/69182/FIA-reveals-result-of-investigation-into-Grosjeans-Bahrain-crash
"

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6. Posted by Jet Jockey, 05/05/2021 12:11

"Very sporting from Toto and Mercedes to keep that promise... Hats off to them.
"

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7. Posted by Batman, 05/05/2021 11:56

"I'm still emphasizing this: the fire fighting was far from perfect. The first firefighter to arrive on the track side of the scene (crossing the track from the oposite side) took an eternity to brake the seal and begin the combat. It was an exasperating moment."

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8. Posted by kenji, 05/05/2021 8:55

"That is a great offer and one which will be well accepted by all fans. On a separate but allied subject...the report into the cause of the accident doesn't appear to have surfaced yet? I wonder why not..."

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