Grosjean surprised both Haas F1 drivers to depart "for financial reasons"

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Romain Grosjean says he was surprised when Haas Formula 1 boss Guenther Steiner told him that both current drivers would be dropped for 2021 for financial reasons.

Grosjean says he expected either himself or team mate Kevin Magnussen not be retained, especially given the economic climate created by COVID-19.

On Thursday morning both drivers used social media to announce that they would not be staying next season, shortly before the team issued an official statement.

Grosjean says he has no firm plans for next season, but indicated that he’s looking outside F1 for a category where he will have a chance of winning races.

“Yes, a little bit,” he said when asked if the news of the double departure was a surprise.

“I knew probably one of us will be out at the end of the year, just because of the situation around the world, and how COVID has made it very hard financially for a lot of companies around the world.

“That’s why I said to Guenther when he called me that I was expecting one of us, and he said, ‘No, for financial reasons, I need both of you out.’

“So fair enough, I fully understand. I know it’s been a tough year with COVID in a lot of industries or companies that suffer from it.

“The team is going a different path, and I wish them luck and the best for the future.”

Grosjean has no issue regarding the timing of the decision, which was made two or three weeks ago according to Steiner, but was only communicated to the two drivers last week.

“It wasn’t our call to make the decision of when to announce,” he said.

“Obviously earlier, it’s always a bit better, it gives us a bit more time to find anything. But in 2011 I was told on December 8th that I was going to be in F1 the year after – so I’ve known later.

“I think I could tell yet the decision was made some some time ago. But I guess Guenther felt good enough to tell us last week, and that’s fine by me.”

Grosjean made it clear that he sees his future in a category where he can challenge for victories.

“There are a few discussions and few options that I would love to race. I miss the winning feeling as well, I miss coming into a race weekend thinking I can fight for the win this weekend, I can fight for a podium, I need the best of myself to get there.

“Rather than just maybe hoping to get out of Q1, and if things happen, score a point or two. It doesn’t mean you don’t give your best when it’s like this, but you miss something as a racer, and hopefully I can figure out good options for me and let you know, ASAP.”

Asked if he had ruled out F1 completely he acknowledged that it was unlikely, but he has not given up.

“I think in F1 there aren’t many seats left, and it looks complicated. But I was talking to my seven-year-old son the other day, and I told him something is impossible.

“And he looked at me and he said ‘Daddy, in impossible, there is “possible”. So there’s always a way.'”

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