F1: Lewis Hamilton extends Mercedes contract
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Romain Grosjean is set to make a remarkable return to the cockpit seven months from the date of his horror crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix, which saw his car engulfed in flames.
Motivated by the idea of ensuring his last act in Formula 1 would not be the accident that made headlines around the world, the driver will be back behind the wheel when he completes a one-off test for world champions Mercedes.
Grosjean endured a miserable end to the F1 season, forced to watch the final two races from home as he continued his recovery from the incident that left him with severe burns on his hands the promise of an F1 test with Mercedes from Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff, who he has since thanked on social media.
The former Haas driver took to Twitter to say: “What an opportunity!!! Thank you so much to Toto and the whole @MercedesAMGF1 to make it happen. A last ride in front of my home crowd at the @gpfrancef1 in a @f1 car, what could be better? #r8g #f1 #enjoytheride”
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Wolff is a man of his word, and Grosjean will drive Lewis Hamilton’s 2019 championship-winning W10 in a full-day test at French Grand Prix venue Circuit Paul Ricard later this year on June 29 – precisely seven months on from the crash that saw his car penetrate a steel barrier at 137mph, split in two, and burst into flames.
Grosjean will also pilot the car for a number of demonstration laps before his final home race at the same venue two days earlier.
Speaking after he completed a seat fit and simulator session at Mercedes’ Brackley factory in March, Grosjean claimed: “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.
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“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. Read that news cheered me up a lot!”
Grosjean continued: “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.”
The Frenchman was due to retire at the end of last season anyway, but was hoping to enjoy one final appearance at the season-concluding round at Yas Marina Circuit. On Doctor’s orders, he called time on his career two grand-prix’ earlier than expected.
Many feared the worst at the time of Grosjean’s crash, which was one of the most dramatic in recent F1 memory.
The driver managed to walk away from the accident, and issued an update to his worried fans in the immediate aftermath on social media, where he said: “Hopefully I will now work on what is coming next, where am I going to go racing, where am I going to go winning races!
“I would like to thank everyone for the messages, the support and the love. It has been incredible to see in such a difficult time.”
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