Romain Grosjean will not take part in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next week, bringing his Formula 1 career to a premature end.
The Haas driver survived a huge crash last weekend in Bahrain and hoped he would recover from the burns to both his hands in time to race in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
However, he will leave Bahrain on Sunday evening to return home to Switzerland to receive ongoing medical treatment, which means he will not travel to Abu Dhabi with Haas, with Sakhir Grand Prix replacement Pietro Fittipaldi (below) continuing to drive in his place next weekend as well.
It was set to be Grosjean’s last race for the team after losing his drive for 2021, and by extension would likely end his F1 career as well with no obvious route back.
Grosjean had said he hoped for a “beautiful story” by racing in Abu Dhabi but pledged not to compromise the long-term recovery of his left hand.
He said he would like to drive an F1 car again so that his final memory is not of his crash and would pursue a private test if he cannot race – with Mercedes offering him that opportunity should he require it.
“It is with great sadness that I will not be able to do my final race in Abu Dhabi and be with the team there,” said Grosjean.
“We’ve tried as much as we could with the doctor to recover and to repair my hand, but the risk of racing is too big for my recovery and my health.
“So, the decision was made that I’m not going to race. It’s one of the hardest decisions of my life, but it’s obviously one of the wisest.
“I will miss the team, but I will be supporting them as ever.”
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) December 6, 2020
Grosjean joined Haas for its first season in 2016. He had become a multiple podium finisher in the first part of his F1 career with Lotus.
The Frenchman was a key part of Haas’s early success although a run of errors blighted his 2018 campaign, which was the most competitive of Haas’s short time in F1.
Haas’s slump in form in 2019 and 2020 has reduced Grosjean to sniping for lower-midfield positions.
“I’m naturally very sorry that Romain will miss what was going to be his final race with Haas F1 Team,” said Haas team boss Guenther Steiner.
“But we are all in agreement that he has to take the best course of action regarding his treatment and recovery from last Sunday’s incident.
“Romain has shown exceptional bravery and amazing spirit over the last few days – we know how badly he wanted to be able to return to the cockpit of the VF-20 in Abu Dhabi. And we all would have loved him to have been there too.
“Romain believed in our Formula 1 project at the very start, he committed to drive for us before we’d even built a car.
“There is no doubting the determination and sheer effort he has put into helping us to achieve what we have as a young team in Formula 1.
“We will forever be grateful for that belief and commitment. It is those qualities, his drive and ambition, that I’m sure will aid him on his recovery.
“On behalf of Gene Haas and myself, together with the whole Haas F1 Team operation, we wish Romain well and a return to full health.”
GROSJEAN IN F1
First race: 2009 European Grand Prix
Best result: 2nd (x2)
Best season: 7th, 2013