‘Never say never’: Romain Grosjean admits he could RETURN to F1 if US giant Andretti seals a spot on the grid – as he opens up on 140mph fireball smash that nearly killed him… and his new life in America
- Romain Grosjean opened up before running in his first ever 24 Hours of Daytona
- He spoke about the Bahrain crash, his life in the US, and racing in IMSA events
- Click here for all your latest international Sports news from DailyMail.com
Romain Grosjean was focused on his debut entry into the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, but admitted that he doesn’t want to write the final chapter of his Formula One career just yet.
The Swiss-French driver spoke about his time with the IronLynx racing team – and the neon green Lamborghini Huracan that he set off in – just before taking the start in the iconic endurance race in an interview with GQ.
He admitted that his team’s car wouldn’t be the fastest – something he got used to in his days at Haas – and opened up about that dramatic fireball crash, his IndyCar career, and adjusting to life in America after the popularity of Drive to Survive.
Romain Grosjean opened up to GQ about his racing exploits in the US and that horror crash
This weekend, Grosjean raced in his first ever Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in a four-man team
In the race that finished up this weekend, Grosjean and his team finished third in their class – behind a Mercedes AMG GT3 from WeatherTech Racing and a Lexus RC F GT3 from Vasser Sullivan.
Grosjean admitted that getting passed by different cars was just a part of the sport and the ability to get overtaken without losing too much time makes it a challenge.
‘It’s the beauty of endurance, that there’s a lot of different classes and a lot of different categories,’ Grosjean explained. ‘So yeah, there are cars that are 10 to 15 seconds faster than we are a lap, and they’re coming in fast.
‘It’s also an ability—to not to lose time whilst being overtaken by a faster car. Because it’s great to be a tenth faster than everyone else on a lap. That means you gain one second over 10 laps. But if you lose one second every time you’re overtaken by a car, it’s pointless.
‘So it’s finding the right balance of where you can be overtaken, how you don’t lose time, how you play that card the best you can. So it’s definitely a challenge, but it’s also the beauty of it.
Grosjean’s team finished 36th overall and third in their class on the Florida coast
Grosjean also touched on the fireball crash on the first lap of the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix that marked the end to his F1 career.
He said that his legacy amongst fans in the United States seems to stem mostly from that incident, but he chooses to not let it define his outlook on his career.
‘The way I’m known, especially in the U.S., it’s through that accident because a lot of the U.S. audience is very new to Formula 1 and came through Drive to Survive,’ Grosjean admitted.
‘The way I see my career is a bit more than that. It’s 180 grands prix, 10 podiums, the best finishing position Haas has ever had in Austria.
‘So yeah, the crash is definitely part of my career, part of my life. And I’ve got the scar from my left hand that’s going to be here forever. So it’s a good reminder that’s here, but it’s just not that.
‘It’s a bit more than that. And I see it as just part of my journey, like any podium. It’s just something crazy, but turned out to be good.’
Just over two years ago, Grosjean escaped from a fiery wreck at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix
Speaking more on that crash – and it’s place among newer American F1 fans – he says he’s accepted that the show’s popularity means that many new fans will mostly know him for the wreck and not his exploits.
‘I don’t care. It’s part of my career; it’s part of my life,’ he said. ‘Especially in the U.S., because the audience is very new to Formula 1, a lot of people remember that accident, and they have never seen my podiums back in 2012 and 2013.
‘I almost won three races in Formula 1, and it never really happened for outside reasons. But it’s quite funny. I met some people that know of me since the Lotus days in Formula 1 and say they’ve been watching it all.
‘And I watch a lot of younger people, younger audience, they have only seen Drive to Survive on Netflix. So they talk about Guenther Steiner and ask how he is in real life, and of course the accident.
‘But I think the accident, it’s one of those things that kind of marked the world. It was pretty much on every TV you could switch on. It was very impressive. That’s the way I see that: “phoenix.”’
‘It’s the rise from something bad. It’s not necessarily related to the fire, but it’s how you can rise from something that could destroy you but use it in a positive way and rise from there.’
The wreck left Grosjean severely injured, but he recovered and went back to racing in 2021
Grosjean enjoyed some success in his first season with Andretti Autosport in IndyCar – finishing 13th in the standings and grabbing a podium at Long Beach.
While he says that he isn’t actively searching for an F1 seat, Grosjean says things may change in the future.
‘One thing I learned last year is to never say never,’ Grosjean said. ‘I told my wife I would never live in the U.S. and I would never race in a U.S. series and I would never do the Indy 500, and I’ve done the three of them.
‘So I think it’s just: You never know what the future is like. Now, I enjoy being in IndyCar. I enjoy being able to do Lamborghini IMSA for the endurance races. It’s the right balance for me.
‘For sure, Formula 1 stays the pinnacle of motorsport. So yes, if it was a team to win, yes. For sure, Andretti would have a lot of work if they make it Formula 1, just the way Haas was.
‘Right now I would say I prefer to stay in IndyCar, but again, you never know. When things are done and concrete and in front of you, sometimes your mind changes.’
While Grosjean says that he’s happy with his ride in IndyCar, he’s keeping the F1 door open
Grosjean also opened up about his new life living in Florida, saying that the popularity of Drive to Survive means he gets recognized more often.
‘Michael Schumacher used to come here on vacation because no one knew who he was. And right now, I think it’s the country where I take the most selfies and pictures and autographs,’ Grosjean joked.
‘We lived in Switzerland. People in Switzerland don’t ask much, so it was very quiet there, which is nice. But yes, Chicago, New York. We’ve visited Washington and these big cities.
‘And every time, we’re surprised by how many selfies and pictures I do. Even in front of the Statue of Liberty, and I was like, “Oh, come on. This is the Statue of Liberty. Who cares about me?” It’s quite funny.’
Grosjean says that he gets more recognized than he used to as he adjusts to the United States
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