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Exclusive: Grosjean on Haas snub and reason for his oval U-turn

Romain Grosjean spoke exclusively to RacingNews365.com from the paddock at the Miami International Autodrome, where he reflected on F1 in 2022 and where his career will take him next.

Romain Grosjean may have spent the weekend wandering the paddock at the Miami Grand Prix, but the former Renault, Lotus and Haas racer - who stood on the podium 10 times - is not pushing for a return to F1. The 36-year-old, who fought for race wins during the early stages of his Formula 1 career, is now an IndyCar regular, four races into his second season in the spec series. Much like in F1, he is so far yet to taste victory in the US-based series, but has come close with podiums at Indianapolis, Laguna Sega and Long Beach. His mind could be changed, however, should he unlock his phone to discover a missed call from Messrs Wolff, Horner or Binotto. But for now, he plans only to enjoy Grand Prix racing as a fan still very much in love with the sport.

F1 has changed since Grosjean's exit

So much has changed since Grosjean left F1, robbed of a true send-off following his devastating crash in Bahrain. Mercedes have since promised the Frenchman a test in their car - for now, delayed by Covid - but the team find themselves with greater obstacles to overcome. The sport's regulations change has left Lewis Hamilton and his team fighting amongst the midfield, and even finishing outside the points. But for Grosjean, F1 has delivered on its promise to deliver better racing for the fans. Speaking exclusively to RacingNews365.com in Miami, Grosjean said: "They've done a good job. Honestly, I didn't know if it was going to work or not before seeing it on track. "I believe that the racing is exciting. They (the cars) can follow each other much more and that's definitely what we wanted to see, so they've done a good job. "I watch every race. I'm a fan of it. Do I want to come back? No, not unless I get the chance to be in a Red Bull, Mercedes or Ferrari, but I love watching it."

Was Grosjean sad to see Haas approach Magnussen and not him?

While Grosjean may have been forced to walk away from F1 early, his Haas teammate - Kevin Magnussen - was hot on his heels, with Guenther Steiner having decided to replace the duo with Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. Magnussen departed for sportscars, while Grosjean embarked on a fresh challenge in IndyCar. However, when Mazepin's stay with the team lasted only a year, it was Magnussen who Steiner turned to, not Grosjean. The Frenchman says he was not disappointed to have been ignored by Haas in their search for a replacement driver, and nor would he have accepted an invitation. "I sometimes speak to Gunther, once or twice a year," said Grosjean. "I sent him a message to congratulate him on the job of getting back forward on the grid, but otherwise now, I am very happy where I am. "I want to win races, right? A lot of people ask me if I would love to come back to Haas - and they do a good job - but I want to have the chance to win a race every weekend."

Grosjean said no to oval racing but has changed his mind

Following the crash that nearly claimed his life, Grosjean's IndyCar journey started with the racer only competing on road courses, and not on the more dangerous ovals. But after skipping back-to-back oval rounds at the Texas Motorspeedway along with the Indianapolis 500, Grosjean entered the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 in Illinois – so what changed? "My kids asked me to do them," he admitted. "Then I spoke to my wife and she realised how happy I was in IndyCar, how good it was for me, and that it's risky but maybe the rewards are bigger than the risks, so we decided to do it. "I shouldn't be here, so every day is a bonus. Life is just a bit nicer since then because I am happy and grateful to be alive. "It's not easy for my wife, but she accepts it. She watches the races and she accepts how cool it is in IndyCar, how much the fans love me and how much I am loving it as well. "As I say, on the risk or reward, it's much more on the rewards side."

What next for Grosjean as the month of May begins?

Grosjean's most recent IndyCar outing saw him make headlines when rival Graham Rahal fumed that the Frenchman had already "overstayed his welcome" after the pair banged wheels in Alabama. But as the most crucial month on the IndyCar calendar begins, Grosjean has set his sights on a long career in the United States – and Indianapolis is up next. "It's very competitive and very hard but the first win will come, I'm not too worried," added Grosjean. "I look at [Scott] Dixon and [Will] Power, they're over 40 and they're still doing a really good job. I am only 36, so I have quite a bit of time left in IndyCar. "I will do some endurance racing, I'd like to do that next year in IMSA, as well as IndyCar, and then we'll see..."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Monaco Grand Prix - Free Practice 2