Romain Grosjean says it is important for rookie drivers to get a chance in Formula 1, even if he feels he has been ‘blocking’ a rookie from taking his seat for ten years.
Grosjean was informed prior to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last weekend that neither himself nor team-mate Kevin Magnussen will be retained by the Haas F1 Team for 2021, and the Frenchman looks increasingly likely to be racing outside of Formula from next season.
Haas themselves look likely to bring in two rookies to race for them next season, with Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin the likely drivers.
The Frenchman remembers being a rookie himself back in 2009, and he says it is important to be ready to race in the top level of single-seater racing having found himself unprepared for his own debut when it came.
Grosjean was thrust into the Renault F1 Team seat vacated by Nelson Piquet Jr. in 2009 but failed to score a point before spending time away from Formula 1 rebuilding his career before returning full-time in 2012 with the Lotus F1 Team, where he scored ten podiums before his move to Haas in 2016.
“Rookies need to have their chance in Formula 1,” Grosjean is quoted as saying by RaceFans.net. “I’ve been here for 10 years, blocking kind of a seat for 10 years, and if the team goes for two rookies, well, good for them, and I wish them the best.
“Obviously in my days we were probably a little bit less prepared than the drivers are nowadays. The young categories have got really more professional. So I think it’s not easy to compare.
“The only thing I can say is that I was convinced I was ready when I came in and I wasn’t. And obviously I paid a heavy price at the beginning after 2009.
“But I’m very much different [now]. I know exactly where we need to bring the car before the weekend. I know how to drive it, how to get the best out of it when it’s not going the way you want it. That’s really making a lot of difference.”