Grosjean eyes private F1 test if he can’t race in Abu Dhabi

Romain Grosjean hopes to find a way to do a private test in a Formula 1 car early next year if he is unable to take part in the Abu Dhabi GP.

Grosjean eyes private F1 test if he can’t race in Abu Dhabi

The Frenchman is still targeting a return at the season finale, but it depends on the progress his left hand makes in the coming days, with skin grafts still a possibility.

He made it clear that if he can’t race in Abu Dhabi, he would like to have a private outing to in effect get some closure on his F1 career, and get back in a cockpit for the first time since his crash in last weekend's Bahrain GP.

However, at the same time he hasn’t ruled out returning as a substitute race driver in 2021, should a vacancy arise.

“Jumping back in the car, it's been my life, and I would like to cross the finish line properly when I finish my career in F1,” he said in a Zoom call with media on Friday.

“I don't really want it to be over on that day. Even if the footage of having a Haas crossing at the back of the field will be less dramatic and probably less broadcast around the world, I would like to. If it doesn't happen, it's okay, I will have other opportunities to cross other finish lines in the future."

Grosjean stressed that one of his main concerns is that a premature return may cause permanent damage to his left hand.

“I won't take to risk losing mobility of my left index and left thumb for the rest of my life, just to go to Abu Dhabi.

“The story would be beautiful to go to Abu Dhabi. If I don't, I'll call every single F1 team and see if anyone would offer me a private test in January or so, to jump back in the car, and have 10-15 laps to myself.”

“The doctors say that is difficult to know yet [if] the right hand 100% will be ready [by Abu Dhabi]. The strength and the mobility in the left hand gets better day after day. The strength is here. The mobility, there's still a lot of swelling from the inflammation. So, this needs to start reducing. But grafts haven't been ruled out yet.

“I'm joking, I'm happy, but the pain of the last two days has been high. I'm quite strong with pain.

"I broke my right hand early this year, falling down in the kitchen. I haven't told anyone, but it was an open break, two bones I put myself in place, and went to the hospital, and the pain was okay. So I'm very strong with some pain. Fever, I'm not good. I've got 39 degrees of fever, I'm gonna die! But that type of pain, I'm okay. So we will see.”

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Grosjean also expanded on the treatment he has received in Bahrain this week.

“I think the body is recovering as quick as it can,” he said. “Burns are not an exact science. I’m quite good with knowing about burning nowadays, I’ve learned a lot!

"I went through some tough times when they started cutting the blisters with scissors, and then they started peeling off the skin. You see things that you don’t really want to see.

“So, it’s not an exact science, and I’m hopeful every day that it recovers better than it does the previous day. When will I have a final answer? I don’t know yet.

“Obviously I’ve got 60 years or so to go with my left hand, so one race is important to me, but not as important as living a normal life for the rest of my life.”

He admitted that aiming for Abu Dhabi return is helping him mentally.

“Obviously it’s a target that helps me to keep positive, and keep moving. The first step yesterday was to go to the track, and one of the first things I did was go to the car, and I looked over the halo and cockpit just to see if there were any strange feelings, panic, scare moments, and it was fine. Already that’s kind of a positive step.

“On Sunday night the first video call I did with my wife and kids, and my dad was there, I said, ‘I will race in Abu Dhabi.’

“You can imagine their reaction, they weren’t very impressed with me! And I won’t blame them, and I always understand that they don’t accept it.

“It’s very selfish, but it’s what I need, and it’s what I want to do. If it doesn’t happen, I’m alive, I will have plenty of opportunities in the future. I will have a superlicence in 2021, and we’ve seen that no one is safe from COVID. So let’s see.”

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