Haas boss Guenther Steiner has told Sky Sports that he hopes Romain Grosjean will be “physically and mentally ready” to finish his Formula 1 career with the team at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP – but will give the Frenchman and his family time to decide.
Grosjean, who was on Wednesday discharged from hospital after his violent accident at the Bahrain GP, will miss this weekend’s second race in the Gulf state but, as he continues private treatment for burns on his hands, is optimistic about a remarkable comeback the following week.
The Abu Dhabi GP takes place on December 11-13, and was set to be Grosjean’s last in F1 as he is without a seat for next year. Should he return, there would be even more emotional value on that weekend.
- Martin Brundle on Romain Grosjean’s Great Escape
- Grosjean ‘saw death coming’ in inferno crash
- Mick Schumacher joining F1 grid with Haas in 2021
Steiner, in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater in Bahrain, admitted that while there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome before that and Haas will “not force him” back in the car, they do want Grosjean to return.
“My ideal with Romain is you tell me next week if you can do it,” the team principal said. “My wish would be you are in the car, and if it’s the same for you – that is what we are doing.
“You need to decide, are you ready physically, and are you ready mentally?
My right hand this morning. The happiness I had when I was told that I didn't need the full dressing anymore and could use my finger was huge. Almost cried. A victory on my way to recovery pic.twitter.com/QuZojM1mZe
Never thought that a few body weight squats would make me happy. Body recovering well from the impact . Hopefully same about the burns on my hands. 🤞
Thank you again to everyone for the messages.
Ps: still very slow at typing 🤣#r8g pic.twitter.com/PHr5nMZsZG
“At the moment, the aim is to get you in for your last race with Haas F1. That is what I like to do with him, but it’s down to him. I will not force him. He’s in good spirits, and he’s trying to get ready for it.”
Pietro Fittipaldi will replace Grosjean at this weekend’s Sakhir GP and Steiner insisted Haas, with newly-confirmed 2021 driver Mick Schumacher an option, have “got enough drivers” that can step in if needed.
But he is more focused on Grosjean and a possible return – revealing that his wife Marion, who penned an emotional tribute to her “superhero” earlier this week, has travelled to Bahrain to be with him and that they will make an Abu Dhabi decision together.
Asked if Grosjean would be mentally ready to get back in the car after such a scary crash, Steiner added: “I need to be sure – but I don’t know if I’m qualified!
“His wife is coming, so between them I think between them they can come to a conclusion. I really like that she made the effort to come down to see him, because he could have just flown back, but she wanted to come to help him.
“So if he goes back she is around. I think between the two of them they can find out if he’s ready or not. It’s much better that the family does it than someone outside because I could be biased to push too hard. I try to keep out of this, there are people better qualified to see if he is mentally ready or not.”
‘Schumacher can be future F1 world champion’
Steiner also said Schumacher, who was confirmed as a Haas driver for next season on Wednesday, is desperate to build his own F1 legacy, insisting that he can follow in his father’s legendary footsteps and become a world champion.
Schumacher’s father Michael is the sport’s joint-record holder for titles with Lewis Hamilton, having claimed seven before retiring from the sport in 2012.
Speaking about Schumacher and how Haas will treat him, Steiner explained: “We need to try to grow him as much as possible to lead him into his Formula 1 future.
“He is a young guy, he’s got a great future in front of him and we are his first step. So what we are trying to do is to introduce him to Formula 1 as a driver, as a personality, and that is our aim for the next two to three years – to get him ready.”
Steiner continued that Schumacher will “absolutely” have more scrutiny than most rookies because of his famous surname, but said Mick could “live off his results”.
“Sometimes people will be critical, but I think that drives him more to be successful,” said the Haas boss. “He doesn’t want to live off the name, he wants to live off his results.
“He has shown that, he won GP3 two years ago and he is leading the F2 championship. It’s not like he finished 12th or 14th in F2.
“I think he’s got enough confidence to know he can do it. There are a lot of talented drivers in F1 – they are the best of the best – so it will be tough, but I think he has the potential to be a world champion in the future.”
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