Romain Grosjean believes Formula 1 is a “show” not a sport, because the reliance on having a good car means it isn’t “fair”.
The Frenchman has started 164 races in his F1 career, scoring ten podium finishes in the process.
Since joining Haas in 2016 he hasn’t been close to winning a race though, and there was even criticism from some who thought he didn’t deserve his new contract with the team for 2020.
But in Grosjean’s mind the fact that drivers need a competitive car from their team to win races means F1 is not a “sport”, instead it’s a “show”. He went as far as saying F1 is like “asking Roger Federer to go with a ping-pong racket to Roland Garros”.
As quoted by Motorsport.com, when asked if he had accepted at 33 that he will probably retire winless, he said: “Could happen. I mean, I was already lucky to be 10 times on the podium. I should’ve won, I believe, two grands prix [Europe 2012 and Germany 2013], and things didn’t come my way.
“I think, we call Formula 1 a sport, is it a sport? I am not so sure. It’s a show, but a sport is supposed to be fair and Formula 1 is not fair.
“It’s very physical to drive a Formula 1 car, it’s hard, it’s demanding, it’s a lot of effort going [in] from everyone, but it’s like asking Roger Federer to go with a ping-pong racket to Roland Garros. He won’t have a chance.
“And would you call tennis a sport if they were not coming all with the same rackets, or if the court was wider on one side than it would be on the other side?”
A more F1-related example that Grosjean used was the situation of Daniel Ricciardo – he left a race-winning drive at Red Bull to join Renault for 2019, and despite having seven career wins to his name, P9 in the Drivers’ Championship was the best he could manage.
“I mean, look at Daniel Ricciardo. If you only take his time at Renault, he hasn’t even scored a podium,” said Grosjean.
“But he’s been winning races [with Red Bull], he’s a great driver, and he’s been on the podiums. It all depends what you’ve got between your hands.”
As a director for the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, Grosjean served as a spokesperson for the drivers while F1 was drafting up the new regulations for 2021.
The rules will be far more restrictive and cost-controlling than the current ones, but Grosjean is ready to make a quick decision on retirement if he loses the love for F1.
“Yeah, could well happen that I won’t win a grand prix. I will do my best to get some opportunities in the future, there’s obviously a lot of drivers out of contract at the end of the year, there could be drivers also retiring,” he explained.
“I think that [retirement] is a decision that, I believe for me it will come quite quickly, if I see maybe [after] half-season or three-quarters of a season that I don’t have that very passion anymore, that I don’t really want to be travelling the world and being far away from my family, then I could see me retiring and going somewhere else.
“It could happen to other drivers [too], there could be opportunities, you never know.”