Haas Formula 1 team owner Gene Haas has revealed he opted out of a deal to sponsor Romain Grosjean in IndyCar after the Frenchman’s Bahrain crash.
Haas had been set to sponsor Grosjean’s IndyCar project until the fireball incident in Bahrain that cost Gene Haas a lot of money – the car was a 100% write-off.
Haas has claimed he would not have been able to look Grosjean’s family in the eyes if something were to go wrong.
“He had asked if we would be willing to sponsor him in IndyCar, and I think at the beginning I was pretty open to it,” said Haas to Racer.
“But then when he crashed in Bahrain, I was just so happy he didn’t kill himself. For someone who has just absolutely destroyed the car, I couldn’t be happier that he survived it.
“I don’t know… he has a wife and three kids, and I just told him I couldn’t see giving him money to go out and kill himself. I just felt like he needs to stay home and take care of his family. He escaped the big one there.
“If you really understood what happened there… if that car had been a few degrees one way or the other, he wouldn’t have been able to get out through that hoop, and he would have died. So, extremely lucky.
“And the team was extremely lucky. I just could not fathom having to face a widow or his kids. I just couldn’t do that. So I said ‘Nah, stay home, I can’t help you there anymore’.”
“He loves driving, and that’s his choice,” added Haas. “I just don’t want to be part of the bad choice. I feel as lucky as he is to escape being killed.
“That was the luckiest day in the whole Haas F1 saga, that Grosjean managed to survive that, and relatively unscathed.
“It wasn’t so terrifying in the fact that he jumped out, but the hoop was stuck between the guardrails.
“If that hoop was a little bit smaller then his helmet wouldn’t have fit through it and he would have died.
“He came very close. So I’m very happy. That was probably the happiest day in racing, was to see him jump out of that car.”