Romain Grosjean has admitted only one fellow F1 driver sent him a message of support when he lost his seat at Haas – and that was George Russell.
The Frenchman and his Haas team-mate, Kevin Magnussen, are being released at the end of their contracts this season, with Grosjean having revealed he was told by team principal Guenther Steiner it was for “financial reasons”.
It means the 34-year-old’s Formula 1 career, which began in 2009 with Renault, is probably over and he has revealed he is looking to continue racing in either sportscars or potentially the IndyCar series in North America.
Grosjean has been involved in numerous on-track scrapes during his time in F1 with his driving style not endearing him to every opponent.
This year, his defensive tactics in the British Grand Prix were described as “sketchy” by Daniel Ricciardo, while he also incurred the wrath of Carlos Sainz at Silverstone.
But clearly Russell has no issue with his more experienced rival and vice versa, with Grosjean responding to the Briton’s message of good wishes by reciprocating after the Williams driver had spun into the wall behind the Safety Car at Imola recently.
Ps: I'm free for 2021 https://t.co/MKpOND6LTr
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) November 3, 2020
“I’ve had a good relationship with George,” Grosjean said.
“When the announcement was made that I wasn’t going to be with the team next season, he was the first and only one to send me a WhatsApp message. That really shows he’s a great guy.”
Grosjean also knows how it feels to make a mistake similar to Russell’s in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which potentially cost him his first ever Formula 1 points.
“I know how painful it is to crash under a Safety Car period, especially when it’s going to be your first point of the season,” said Grosjean. “I believe it was the same for me at Baku in 2018.
“In the lower part of the field, you really need to work the tyres a lot. I’ve said it many times, if I was doing Baku again I’d probably do the same thing as I did three seasons ago.
“George didn’t do anything crazy but he just lost the car. It was a tough day for him but he will have plenty more (good days) to come.”
Grosjean’s message to Russell after the incident read: “Man, I know the feeling. Will take some time to forget it, but what you do is mega. Keep pushing.”