Romain Grosjean to drive F1 car for first time since Bahrain GP accident in Mercedes test at Paul Ricard

Romain Grosjean will make an emotional return to an F1 car for the first time since his terrifying accident in the 2020 Bahrain GP in a special test for Mercedes next month.

The Frenchman will drive Lewis Hamilton’s 2019-title winning W10 in a full-day test at the Paul Ricard circuit in his homeland on June 29. He will also complete demonstration laps in the car two days beforehand at the French GP.

Grosjean suffered burns to his hands when his Haas car pierced the barriers and burst into flames on the opening lap of last November’s Bahrain race.

With the injuries ruling him out of what were already scheduled to be his final races in F1 after 10 years, Grosjean had said he would ask around the grid to see if he could have one final outing in a car – a wish that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff quickly said the world champions would fulfil.

Six months on and that Mercedes run is now confirmed.

“I am so excited to jump back in an F1 car! It will be a special opportunity for me and to drive a world championship-winning Mercedes will be a unique experience,” said Grosjean.

“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.”

Wolff said: “We are very happy to support Romain with this special opportunity. 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.”

Grosjean continues his racing career in IndyCar, where he scored a 10th place finish on his debut last month.

More to follow…

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