Grosjean on leaving Haas and F1: 'I thought, this team is going nowhere'


Speaking in the new Motor Sport podcast, Romain Grosjean has revealed the moment he knew he was finished with F1, as well as elaborating on the joys of IndyCar

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Grosjean has revealed the moment he felt he was finished with F1

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Romain Grosjean has revealed the despair he endured towards the end of his time in F1, saying he felt his Haas team was “going nowhere” in 2020, as well as describing the pleasure he has derived from his new life in IndyCar.

Speaking in the first instalment of the new Motor Sport podcast series ‘My Big Break’, Grosjean said the downward trajectory of the Haas team – and his grand prix career with it – forced him to abandon his lifelong F1 dream and look elsewhere in his search for success.

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“I was done from the first race in 2020,” he told Chris Medland. “We had not done any testing in four months, we went out in the first Free Practice, first lap I lost the brakes in Turn 3 and in the race again I lost the brakes.

“I thought ‘You know what? That team is going nowhere. There is no opportunity, nothing you can show with that car.’

What seemed like a hopeless situation led to an existential motor sport moment for Grosjean.

“It’s quite funny, I was sitting right here, talking to my wife at 7pm, and one day I said ‘I’m not carrying on with Haas.’

“By the time I’d finished my sentence, Guenther [Steiner, Haas team boss] called and told me that he needed funding, he needed pay drivers to keep it going, but for me I was gone already and finished in F1.”

After ten years in the glamorous yet sometimes demoralising world of F1, Grosjean felt he needed a fresh start. He found this in IndyCar, driving for the minnow Dale Coyne Racing squad. The Frenchman revealed that he went to unusual extremes for a driver of his standing to make this deal happen, and that he has enjoyed this fresh approach to racing.

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“To put together the deal to make it with Dale Coyne and go from there [meant] being far from my family, making probably zero money, and going racing, fighting, going back to the roots, which I enjoy,” he said. “No personal trainer with me, doing my own flight, picking up the rental car, going old school and driving my bus. And actually, I really enjoyed it.”

The new lease of life brought Grosjean a stunning pole position on the Indy road course, a runner-up position in that race and the next on the same track before surging through the field to claim third at Laguna Seca. Those performances, whilst driving for effectively a back of the grid team, mean he has been snapped up by heavy-hitters Andretti Autosport for 2022, running a full season after competing on road and street courses only this year.

“It’s a completely new chapter,” he said. “Even in my wildest dreams, I don’t think could have gone as good as I planned this year – from enjoying the driving pleasure, the pole positions, the podiums to the support from the fans. It’s been incredible.”