MANAMA (Reuters) – Frenchman Romain Grosjean said it would not be the end of the world if he could not make his Formula One comeback at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after escaping relatively unscathed from an horrific fiery crash last week.
The 34-year-old escaped with burns to the back of his hands and not even a broken bone after his Haas car penetrated a metal barrier, split in two and burst into flames in a high-speed opening-lap crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Sitting out this weekend’s penultimate race around the same Sakhir track’s outer circuit, Grosjean said a return in Abu Dhabi would depend on how fast his burns heal.
“The doctors… say that it’s difficult to know yet,” Grosjean, his hands still bandaged, told reporters in a video news conference on Friday.
“The right hand 100 percent will be ready. The strength and the mobility in the left hand gets better day after day.
“The strength is here, the mobility is still a lot of swelling from the inflammation.
“This needs to start reducing,” said Grosjean, adding that doctors had not ruled out a skin graft on his more severely burned left hand.
Grosjean is out of a drive next season with the Abu Dhabi race, which takes place on Dec. 13, likely to be his Formula One swan song.
The Frenchman said he would like to finish his career by taking the chequered flag at the Yas Marina track but not at any cost.
“It’s been my life and I would like to cross the finish line properly when I finish my career in Formula One. If it doesn’t happen, well, I’m alive, I will have plenty of other opportunities in the future,” said Grosjean, jokingly adding that he would call every team on the grid to see if he could organise a private farewell test session in January.
Grosjean, once a critic of the ‘halo’ introduced after Jules Bianchi’s fatal crash, credited the cockpit head protection device with saving his life.
Bianchi suffered serious head injuries in a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in October 2014, dying from them in July the following year.
Grosjean hoped that lessons from his accident would also make Formula One safer.
“I will get involved with the (governing) FIA with everyone that is in there and understand everything,” said Grosjean, a director of drivers’ body the GPDA.
“If I can, as Jules did for me, save lives in the future by my experience then I will have a very strong legacy in motorsport and probably my biggest pride.”
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Toby Davis)