Romain Grosjean joins IndyCar for 2021 but won’t race at the ovals

French driver Romain Grosjean is all set to make the move to IndyCar this season, where he will be competing for Dayle Coyne Racing. The news was confirmed yesterday, February 3, by Grosjean himself through an online broadcast on social networks.

After nine years and 179 Formula One Grands Prix, the Frenchman has announced the start of a new stage in his career for 2021, which is taking him all the way to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Romain Grosjean has made it clear, however, that he will only take part in the 13 rounds scheduled to take place in conventional tracks. 

“I’m very excited for this opportunity to race in the United States in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. I had different options in front of me for this coming season and choosing to go IndyCar Racing was definitively my favorite one”, expressed the 34-year-old Grosjean.

He will thus not race at the extreme speed races that take place in the oval circuits. This means he will be absent from the two appointments at Texas Motor Speedway and from the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

It is precisely the level playing field of IndyCar that tipped the balance for Romain Grosjean. The real competitiveness of the American Championship, a feeling long lost for him in F1, brings back the opportunity to compete for glory, a feeling that has gradually faded during his F1 career. 

“Although, I’m not ready yet to take on the ovals! IndyCar has a much more level playing field than what I have been used to in my career so far. It will be exciting to challenge for podiums and wins again. My left hand is still healing, but we are just about ready to get back into the race car and to start this next chapter of my career”, said the 34-year-old driver.

According to a previous announcement last week, the Switzerland-born driver will partner at Dale Coyne Racing with IndyCar Rookie of the Year in 2017, Ed Jones, who will get behind the wheel of car #18, supported by Vasser Sullivan.

Both drivers will begin their testing on February 22 at Barber Motorsports Park in Illinois. The IndyCar 2021 is due to start on April 18at that same Alabama track.

Team Owner Dale Coyne commented:

“We’ve been talking to Romain for some time now, even before his accident at Bahrain. He has shown interest in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for the past several months and we’re very happy that he has chosen to pursue his career with us and excited to welcome a driver with his pedigree to America, the Series and our team. We feel that he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the Series.”

A dwindling career in F1  

At the beginning of his professional career, Romain Grosjean won seven junior championships, including the GP2 Series in 2011 by 35 points. His success opened the doors of Formula One for him in 2012, when he signed his first contract with Lotus. 

Over the following four seasons, he continued racing for the French team, finishing seventh in the Drivers’ Classification at the 2013 World Championship. That would be his best result in the top motor racing speciality. 

In 2016 he signed for Haas F1 Team, the team where he would remain for the following five seasons. Last December, and after suffering a horrifying accident, Romain Grosjean bid farewell to Formula One for good. 

It happened during the first lap of the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix -antepenultimate round of the calendar- and it almost cost him his life. He miraculously escaped the flames and certain death, with only burns to his hands and feet. 

Throughout his F1 career, he has taken a total of 10 podiums, including two-second places in North American soil, the first one at the Grand Prix of Canada 2012 and the second one in the United States in 2013. 

Images of Romain Grosjean: Dale Coyne Racing.

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