World Champion Mercedes would be willing to hold a private test session for Romain Grosjean next year should an injury prevent him from returning to the cockpit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend.
Grosjean escaped from a horrific accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix last Sunday, in which his car was pressed into a protective barrier, burst in two and burst into flames.
He managed to get out of the wreckage in 28 seconds, but thus suffered burns on the backs of his hands and injuries to his left ankle. These injuries prevented him from participating in the Sakhir Grand Prix this weekend, being played on a different configuration of the same track.
His goal is to return to racing in Abu Dhabi, which is set to be his final race with Haas and possibly as an F1 driver, but said he would not risk his return to do so.
“I want to jump back in the car because that was my life and I would like to cross the finish line correctly to end my Formula 1 career,” Grosjean said on Friday.
“I don’t want it to end on a bad day, even though Haas’ footage crossing the line behind the pitch will be less dramatic and less broadcast worldwide [than my accident]I wish it.
“If it doesn’t, that’s fine. I will have the opportunity to cross other finish lines in the future. Doctors say it’s hard to know yet.
“The right hand will be 100 percent ready. The strength in the left hand is getting better every day – strength is, but mobility, there is still a large swelling from inflammation, so it must start to decrease, The [skin] transplant has not yet been ruled out.
– We’ll see. I will not risk losing the mobility of my left index finger and thumb just to go to Abu Dhabi.
“It would be nice to go to Abu Dhabi, but if I don’t, I’ll call each Formula 1 team and see if someone would offer me a private test in January to jump back in the car and have ten or 15 laps to myself.”
F1 regulations allow private testing on cars more than two years old.
Speaking Saturday night, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he would allow Grosjean to return to the track in the F1 car if neither of the other teams were able to do so. “If we were allowed to do so, and no one else in his world of teams that he raced for would give him that opportunity, we would have done it.”
Grosjean does not have a racing contract in F1 for next year after Haas decided to replace him and his teammate Kevin Magnussen with Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher from 2021.
He said from the moment he first thought about it after the accident, he knew he would like to come back for the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi if possible.
“From Sunday night, the first video call I had with my kids, wife and dad, he was there. I said I would be racing in Abu Dhabi and you can imagine their reaction, they were not impressed with me and I won Don’t blame them, Grosjean said.
“I always understand that they don’t accept it, but I say it’s very selfish, I need it and want to do it. If it doesn’t, well I’m alive, I will have tons of other options in the future, I will have a super license in 2021 and we saw [this year] no one is safe from COVID-19, so we’ll see.