Date published: March 26 2020
Romain Grosjean has discussed the early-morning WhatAapp message he received from Sebastian Vettel, telling him the Australian GP was off.
The race weekend at Albert Park which was set to open the 2020 season was cancelled shortly before FP1 – a series of meetings held after a McLaren employee tested positive for the coronavirus ultimately led to its cancellation.
However, Vettel, along with Kimi Raikkonen, flew out of Melbourne before the cancellation was made official.
And now Romain Grosjean has shed some light on the situation, revealing how Vettel sent a WhatsApp message at 3am to say that the race weekend wasn’t going ahead.
“The rumours started happening on Thursday evening,” said Grosjean in an interview with Kym Illman.
“Thursday into Friday I didn’t sleep very well. At 3am I was WhatsApp-ing with Sebastian Vettel.
“I was like ‘where are you, why are you awake?’ and he’s like ‘I’m going to the airport.’ He was like ‘it’s cancelled, it’s not happening’. I said I haven’t heard anything official so I stay around.
“He said ‘my team has told me that I’m free to go so I’m gone’. So like 3, 4am on Friday morning in Melbourne time that’s when I knew things were going to not look right.”
Currently the Canadian Grand Prix on June 14 is set to be the first race of 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic means that is still far from certain.
But Grosjean, who is currently back at home, says the “bigger picture is much more important than going racing”.
“We just need to wait [to see how] the situation goes,” he said.
“I think the bigger picture is much more important than going racing, even though it feels very strange to be home at this time of the year.
“For me we are in January. I can’t take the fact that we are almost in April. January I’m home, I do the training block, then February I go winter testing and then March onwards I go racing. But now we are in April and I’m at home.”