Hav­ing em­barked upon a promis­ing ad­ven­ture with Haas F1 af­ter sev­eral turbulent sea­sons, Ro­main Gros­jean finds calm in the kitchen away from his all-con­sum­ing sport

F1 Racing - - FAST FOOD -

meet at 9.30am on Mon­day, at the Geneva Coun­try Club. This is Ro­main Gros­jean’s home town and he arrives early – al­though he’s very sleepy. “I woke up at seven with the kids,” he condes. Ro­main Gros­jean, 30, is a fa­ther, hus­band, F1 driver… and as­pir­ing chef. But not nec­es­sar­ily in that or­der. Pri­or­i­ties are de­cided ac­cord­ing to which day of the week it is.

On any given grand prix weekend tthis year he’ll be an F1 driver, of course, com­pet­ing for the Haas team. But around those grand prix com­mit­ments, he lives a life less blink­ered, as we’re about to learn when he dons chef’s whites to cook up some­thing rather spe­cial for F1R. As he cooks and chats, Ro­main’s drowsi­ness soon passes, and a sen­si­tive, in­ter­est­ing per­son­al­ity emerges from the fog of sleep.

So this is your home town?

I was born and raised in Geneva, yes. Then I moved to Paris, Lon­don and nally back to Geneva. I have a sis­ter two-and-a-half years younger than me. My fa­ther is a lawyer and my mother is an artist.

The real sports­man in the fam­ily was your grand­fa­ther, Fer­nand, right?

He was a skier, yes. He com­peted in two Win­ter Olympics for Switzer­land in 1948 and 1952 and took sec­ond place in the gi­ant slalom at the 1950 Alpine World Cham­pi­onships in Aspen. I could have fol­lowed in his foot­steps: I started out ski­ing, too. He died last year, but he passed his love for competition and sport on to me. So were you a sports-mad kid? Ha! Yes, I was full of en­ergy, not easy to con­trol. I did a whole lot of crazy stuff: ei­ther on skis or on a BMX. I’ve al­ways loved speed, adren­a­line and dan­ger. I don’t dare think what I put my mother through, but I’m start­ing to un­der­stand how she must have felt now I have two sons of my own.

When did your love for cars start? My fa­ther was the lawyer for a rally team. They raced the Lan­cia Delta, which is still the car clos­est to my heart. Then he bought him­self an Osella to do hill­climbs. I went to watch and that was what kin­dled my pas­sion. I asked for a kart, and when I was 11 I be­gan lap­ping like a ma­niac. I pestered Dad: “Can I race?” He replied: “Sure, you just need to get good grades at school.” I had just started at se­nior school and I re­ally knuck­led down. When I passed my ex­ams he let me race.

How did you meet your wife, Mar­ion Jolles? It’s a long story. She’s a TV reporter in France. We met in Paris in 2005 at a prize giv­ing when I was a For­mula Re­nault driver. The fol­low­ing year I saw her again at a char­ity kart race, a friend of mine had her phone num­ber and I was very jeal­ous of this! I had to wait un­til 2008, then there was six months of courtship, but in the end we got to­gether. Mar­ion still works for French TV, pre­sent­ing the lot­tery and the foot­ball: she trav­els back and forth to Paris, and on those days I take care of the daily rou­tine. We have a big cal­en­dar that we ll in to make sure some­one is at home. We share out the jobs and live as a fam­ily like ev­ery­one else. To­day I’m here with a cold I picked up at the nurs­ery. But it’s nor­mal ev­ery­day life and I like it.

You were the rst of the cur­rent F1 drivers to have two chil­dren…

For once I’m the win­ner! Ha ha ha! I’ve even beaten Vet­tel! And it’s made me bet­ter as a man. There is noth­ing in the world bet­ter than kids: when they’re half an hour old you love them al­ready, even be­fore they’ve opened their mouths. So just imag­ine what it’s like as they grow up. They give you strength and con­sole

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