Grosjean reveals Lotus escape clause

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AUSTIN – Romain Grosjean said during Thursday’s FIA press conference he can choose to leave Lotus at year’s end based on a performance clause, but still expects the team to be better next year than this one.

“For a long time I’ve said that Lotus will be much better next year than they are this year, for a few reasons,” he said. “There’s been a lot of work at the factory and the fact that the team brings a new nose here just to try to prepare for 2015 is a strong sign.

“I have a contract with the team. I have the option to leave if I want to – this is from some performance clause. So far there are still places available at top teams or they haven’t been confirmed and that’s there where I want to be in the near future and that’s what we try to do.”

With Grosjean’s former Lotus boss Eric Boullier at McLaren, that’s been bandied about as an option, but that would seem to be the only other top-line opportunity for the Frenchman.

Alas, Grosjean is still in an upbeat mood heading into the offseason. Grosjean recently announced he and his wife are expecting their second child.

“At least that worked!” Grosjean joked. “So, pretty good timing as well for next year.

“I think personally I had a tough season with the results but outside the track I lost four people that were very close to me, the next one being the boss of Total, Christophe de Margerie, last week or the week before.

“So I thought it was important to announce good news. We have support in tough times but now we have support in good times and I am glad to be the father of a family of almost four people.”

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Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).