Romain Grosjean says he cannot wait to make a belated return to racing action this week as the much-delayed 2020 F1 World Championship prepares to finally go green with the Austrian Grand Prix.

Three and a half months on from when the sport was forced to cancel the original opener in Australia on the eve of the event, F1 will reconvene in the rolling hills of Austria’s Styrian region but do so under strict new measures of social distancing and no spectators.

It means there are still plenty of unknowns coming into the weekend, both on and off the track for Haas given drivers Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will only drive the VF-20 for the first time during Friday free practice since pre-season testing back in March.

“Obviously the time spent with my wife and my kids, that’s been great spending so much time together,” Grosjean said. “I also launched my esports team and started racing on the simulator for fun – it’s been a lot of fun.”

“I think physically I’m better than I’ve ever been. Obviously, the neck is the hard one to keep going. Mentally I’m also very much ready. I’m very eager to go racing. We haven’t had the chance to drive our car like some of the other teams, but I don’t think that will be an issue when we get back to racing in Austria.”

Asked whether he thought back-to-bacl races at the same Red Bull Ring venue would benefit Haas, he admits he is unsure as to whether it will be one of Haas’ stronger venues.

“I’s only one race track and one layout – a particular one too at the Red Bull Ring. I don’t think we can assess how the car behaves after the two races in Austria. I do hope it’s going to be working well there so we can start our season on a high.”

“It’s going to be very different. We’re going to miss the support of the fans and miss seeing them in the grandstands. We’ll miss the enthusiastic atmosphere they bring to a weekend. It’ll be strange, it’ll be different, but everyone will adjust and get used to it. We’re going racing, which is important for everyone, so then hopefully we can open the doors to the public very soon and get back to normal.”

 

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