Although he left the Haas F1 Team at the end of the 2020 Formula One World Championship season, Romain Grosjean will be joining forces with the team once again, this time in F1 Esports.
The French driver departed F1 in a shocking crash, after four years at Haas. In the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix, his car left the circuit after contact with Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri and speared into a crash barrier at almost 120mph.
His Haas VF20 was split in half by the 67G impact, with the front section puncturing the barrier and the halo device deflecting the metal away from Grosjean’s head. Having survived that he spent almost half a minute inside a fireball, before escaping his car and getting to safety with the help of Dr. Ian Roberts.
Grosjean has now moved to race in IndyCar this season, and actually made his debut in the series virtually last week. However, he’d previously set up his own esports team, called R8G Esports, and it’s through this that he continues his partnership with Haas.
Uralkali Haas F1 Team Esports 🤝 @r8gesports
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) March 24, 2021
R8G Esports will directly manage Haas F1’s 2021 F1 Esports Pro Series campaign, which gets underway later this year. That means it’s likely that the Haas team’s 2020 driver line up — Cedric Thome and Simon Weigang — won’t be retained, with R8G’s own squad of nearly 20 drivers probably replacing them.
It’s quite a handy lineup to call on too. Among others, R8G’s squad includes GT Sport World Tour finalists Baptiste Beauvois and Randall Haywood, and multidisciplinary champion — and current Formula E Accelerate points leader — Erhan Jajovski. There’s also F1 Esports experience in Thomas Scibilia, and of course Grosjean himself is part of the squad. Like all the other teams, Haas will have to choose a wildcard driver from the 2021 Pro Draft later this year in addition to its selected driver lineup.
Guenther Steiner, team principal at Haas F1, commented:
“I’m delighted that we get to utilize Romain’s enthusiasm for esports and R8G Esports’ expertise to oversee our continued participation in the F1 Esports Pro Series. It’s an important step up for us in terms of our involvement from previous seasons. We know we’re partnering with a group that truly understands the demands of the esports environment and can help take our program to the next level.
“We’ve had some memorable points-earning finishes in past F1 Esports Pro Series and won this season’s Virtual Grand Prix Series. It would be fantastic to maintain that form under the guidance of R8G Esports in the F1 Esports Pro Series this season.”