Romain Grosjean has denied he is ‘done’ with Formula 1 or that he is planning to call time early on his five years with Haas.
The Frenchman has known for over five weeks that his contract with Haas would not be extended for another season, having joined the American-owned team when they entered Formula 1 in the 2016 campaign.
Haas announced at the Portuguese Grand Prix that Grosjean and his team-mate Kevin Magnussen were being released, with a new line-up of rookie F2 duo Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin likely to be confirmed within the next few weeks.
Given how uncompetitive Haas have been this year with a car they have chosen not to develop, continually fighting at the back of the pack with Alfa Romeo and Williams, it has raised the question of whether Grosjean in particular may not complete the full season.
The 34-year-old is resigned to not getting another F1 drive and has cut a despondent figure – including during Q1 for the Bahrain Grand Prix when, after qualifying 19th, he said on the team radio on his way back into the pits: “I wanted to enjoy it. That car does not allow you to enjoy it.”
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) November 28, 2020
But afterwards, Grosjean insisted he remains committed and that he has no intention of heading back home to Europe before his likely swansong in Abu Dhabi.
“The motivation is still here,” said Grosjean. “You can’t not be motivated coming to Formula 1. It’s very special and there’s three [races] to go, so I want to enjoy it.
“Obviously you hope for a little bit of magic in quali but today it didn’t happen. How can you be happy when you’re P19? As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve got to the end of what I can do in terms of not winning races and not fighting for good positions.
“Am I satisfied? No. But am I motivated to go into the race tomorrow and try to do my best? Yes, definitely, and for the next two, yes.”
Magnussen will start one place ahead of Grosjean in P18 having already confirmed some competitive action for 2021 with Chip Ganassi Racing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – a series in which his father Jan also has experience.
“It’s not an unusual Saturday, really,” said the Dane. “Unfortunately, this is where we are and I think we didn’t have a bad qualifying with the car we have. Normal Saturday for us.”