Romain Grosjean has admitted that he realised during his final visit to the Formula 1 paddock that it was a place he loathed as much as loved.
The Frenchman saw his F1 career come to an earlier-than-expected end at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix when he suffered a terrifying crash on the opening lap. Grosjean’s Haas car split in two and burst into flames, leaving him with burns to his hands.
Grosjean - who had been left without a drive for 2021 prior to the incident - made a final return to the paddock one week later to thank the marshals and medical staff who had helped him, but realised that in many respects he would not miss the sport.
“I will miss some things, like the people I've been working with,” the 34-year-old told Motorsport.com. “My chief engineer at Haas, Ayao Komatsu, is someone I've worked with since 2009. He was with me at Lotus and then joined me when I went to Haas. And there are many other people I have worked with over many years who I will also miss.
“But when I left the Bahrain paddock, I said to myself, 'I hated that paddock as much as I loved it', and it's just that what I've missed the most over the years has been the opportunity to win races.”
Grosjean is set to compete in IndyCar for Dale Coyne Racing in 2021 and believes that it can help him to return to winning ways. “That's something I want to find with Dale Coyne. He's giving me a great opportunity here.”
Following his accident in Bahrain, Grosjean’s priority was to find something that he would enjoy doing in his post-F1 career.
“Obviously, I've never driven in IndyCar, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to have fun,” the former Haas driver said. “Everyone I know and have talked to - my engineer at Haas, Simon Pagenaud, Marcus Ericsson - has told me, 'You're going to love it. It's going to be great’.
“One thing I realised after my accident in Bahrain and seeing death so close is that I wanted to race something that I was going to have fun with.”