Romain Grosjean will drive a Formula 1 car for the first time since his accident at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix when he drives Mercedes’ 2019 title-winning car next month.
Grosjean miraculously escaped from a 37g impact – which tore his Haas F1 car in half – on the opening lap in Bahrain with severe burns to his hands.
Due to the severity of the burns, the Frenchman was ruled out of the final two races in 2020 which were set to be his last appearances in F1 before heading to Indycar in 2021.
Grosjean spoke of his determination to not let his fiery crash be the final chapter of his F1 career, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff revealing he would be willing to hand the 10-time podium finisher a run in one of the team’s championship-winning cars.
And in an announcement on Wednesday, Mercedes confirmed Grosjean will take the wheel of the W10 in a one-off test at Paul Ricard on June 29 – seven months to the day after his accident.
“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,” Grosjean said.
“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.”
Prior to the test, Grosjean will also drive a series of demo laps in front of his home crowd at the French Grand Prix on June 27.
Having invited Grosjean for a seat fitting at Mercedes’ factory back in March, Wolff said the inspiration behind the idea was to let him end on his own terms.
“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,” Wolff said.
“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.”
Lewis Hamilton, who drove the W10 to his sixth world title in 2019, said he looked forward to seeing Grosjean back on track.
“I’m really happy to see Romain back in an F1 car after his accident last year. 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!”