Romain Grosjean has revealed that he nearly walked away from motorsport at the end of the 2009 season to follow his passion of cooking. The Frenchman was drafted in to replace Nelson Piquet Jr mid-way through the season, before losing his seat for 2010.
Grosjean returned to GP2, where he won the series in 2011. He then returned to Formula 1 and has enjoyed stints at Lotus and Haas. But the 32-year-old has admitted that he almost quit racing following his departure from Renault at the end of 2009.
Speaking to the 'Beyond The Grid podcast, he said: "It was tough, it was very late as well. Eric Boullier was then in charge of Lotus and I was in contact with Eric and they were telling me if we don’t find anyone you are the obvious choice because you have experience in the team and so on.
“Then on the 31st of January 2010 I got a call from Eric saying they had said [Vitaly] Petrov so I was out. I thought ‘that’s it, I’m not racing anymore’ so I am going to become a cook - because that’s part of my passion. I went to a cooking school and I was told I was too old. They said no.”
Grosjean has admitted that he wasn't ready to enter Formula 1 in 2009, saying that it was a very difficult learning curve. When pushed on what he was lacking, he responded: “A lot of things. F1 is not only about driving. Driving the car is one thing but there’s being on the outside, being aware of what is going on and the games and the media.
“So I came to F1 and people thought I was arrogant, but I was just shy. I was looking not to disturb anything. No one ever told me what to do or not to do and that’s why I wasn’t ready.
“It was a dream start. After the summer break I got the phone call to say I’m in the car for seven Grands Prix, to get used to F1 before the next season starts and use it as learning. Turns out it wasn’t the case. I think it was just the case of wrong place, wrong time,” he added. “I was next to Fernando, which was amazing, I learned a lot from him. Obviously he was very fast.
“But with all the crashgate story I was part of the furniture that needed a change. I was part of the Flavio Briatore management and even though I owe a lot to Flavio for putting me in, I think it also cost me my first career in F1,” Grosjean added.
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