Romain Grosjean ruled out oval racing after Bahrain horror crash

Indycar Racing News

Romain Grosjean had made plans for a full IndyCar season in 2021 with Dale Coyne, then reconsidered that decision after his Bahrain crash

Blazing wreckage of Romain Grosjean's car at the Bahrain circuit in 2020

Fiery Bahrain crash which left Romain Grosjean's Haas split in two made him reconsider IndyCar oval racing

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Romain Grosjean has said that he will not race on ovals in IndyCar as a result of his shocking crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Frenchman, who has been let go by the Haas F1 Team after five seasons, said events in Bahrain pushed him to significantly reconsider his 2021 plans.

“100 per cent,” he replied when asked if the accident made him decide to withdraw from racing on IndyCar’s super speedways. “We were in contact with Dale Coyne the week before Imola and we got on very nicely.

“He made an offer, I was going to do the full championship. Then obviously Bahrain happened.”

After feeling he was close to death in the worst crash seen in recent F1 history, the Frenchman said he was forced to reconsider.

“For a moment I thought I was dead. Being a father of three, I need to be sensible in my decisions and at the minute I don’t feel comfortable [racing on ovals]. Not especially for me, but for my kids and my wife, to risk ovals.”

When asked if he considered pulling out of the IndyCar deal altogether, Grosjean said there was a brief moment of contemplation.

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“The first text I got from my manager after the accident said ‘Let’s forget IndyCar.'” he recalled.

“After such a shock, you can understand but I still thought it was possible and wanted to do. Motor sports is always going to be risky. You just have to decide at which level you’ll accept.”

Grosjean says his family’s support and empathy with his passion for motorsport gave him the confidence to still take up a contract with Dale Coyne.

“During my recent times, in the last few years, for the kids and my wife, they understand that I am a racer at heart,” he said. “And that’s what I really love doing. And one day I will be done with this [racing], but it’s not quite yet.

“The other day, I was training my neck on the sofa with a very heavy Bell helmet that I have – 7.5 kilos or so. And my oldest son Sasha came and said ‘Ah daddy, you’re training your neck, I’m happy!’

“It was just it was a small sentence but it meant a lot for me, because he was happy that I was training to go racing again.”

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Quizzed on whether he might reconsider racing on ovals in the future, he didn’t totally rule it out.

“At least the speedways [are ruled out for now]. There may be options that I could look at – the short tracks, but the super speedways, I don’t think I can risk that for my kids and my wife.

Grosjean also spoke of recovering both mentally and physically from his accident.

“You go back to who you were,” he said. “There will be a scar on my hand & my brain, but not negative. More an understanding on where life goes and how quickly it can go away.

“The left [hand] is the one that is the most damaged – right is good to get some. On the left the skin is 98 per cent covering the hand now there.

“The left hand ligaments that were also pulled away, so I had to get surgery on it, but it’s quite stable.

The IndyCar debutant says it’s still unclear if he will ever properly get the use of his left hand back.

“Obviously, until you reach six months, it’s always difficult to know if you’re going to lose mobility or not. Some days go good. Some other days, like last Sunday, it’s more complicated and painful and difficult.”

The veteran of 180 GP starts says he would be open to doing a ‘Hülkenberg’ and taking on the Grand Prix super-sub role if necessary, but for now is fully focusing on his new ride stateside.

“I think it’s a closed book, but never say never,” he said. “If there are any good opportunities in Formula 1, I will be more than happy to, to jump in.

“I think one thing I learned this was my accident is that life is short. And I want to have the choice to say, say no to something.”