Romain Grosjean has admitted that he would not have moved to the rookie Haas Formula 1 team for 2016 had Lotus and Renault agreed a takeover sooner.
On Tuesday, Grosjean was unveiled by NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas as the first driver for his new team’s foray into F1 next season.
Grosjean will leave Lotus at the end of the season after six years of association with the Enstone team that has struggled financially in recent years.
A buy-out of Lotus by Renault has been in the works for some time, but it was not until Monday that an announcement was made confirming a letter of intent had been signed.
Speaking to BBC World Service, Grosjean admitted that he was keen to remain at Enstone and be a part of the new Renault project, but that the deal took too long to be finalized.
“I was the first one who wanted to be part of the Renault project,” Grosjean said. “If they had come earlier I would have stayed.
“But I met with Haas, they made an approach and it was attractive.”
Grosjean admitted that he found Haas’ links to Ferrari via a technical partnership appealing, believing that it will aid his chances of getting a seat at the Italian manufacturer’s works team in the future.
“The fact that Haas is close to Ferrari made it very appealing – not because I’m thinking about Ferrari in one, two or three years, but it does bring me closer for sure,” Grosjean said.
“They’ll look at what we do. The better job I do there the better chance I have of getting a seat with Ferrari one day.”