Grosjean ‘regrets not checking the IndyCar calendar’

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Romain Grosjean has confirmed IndyCar is “on the menu” for him after belatedly realising how few oval races are on the series’ 2020 schedule.

Grosjean’s departure from Haas at the end of this season was confirmed before the Eifel Grand Prix. He admitted he’s found it stressful trying to find a new drive during a year where sporting calendars and budgets have been badly disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“If I’m brutally honest, I haven’t been sleeping very well for the last two weeks,” he said. “It’s a tough year for the world, for the economy, it’s not a good year to be out of contract and out of the sport that you were in.”

He has expressed interest in both IndyCar and Formula E, but no opportunities exist in the latter outside the NIO and Dragon teams. IndyCar has therefore become more attractive for Grosjean, particularly due to a reduction in oval circuits on its 2021 calendar. On next year’s 17-round schedule, just four races will take place on ovals, three of which will be on superspeedways.

“I’ve been looking at IndyCar and I’ve had some contact and some good ones,” said Grosjean. He admitted he hadn’t realised the majority of next year’s schedule will take place on road and street circuits of the type he is more familiar with than oval circuits.

“I kind of regret I didn’t check the calendar earlier, that there were only three circuits and one short track in terms of ovals,” said Grosjean. “But, saying that, it’s not over.”

After nine and a half seasons in Formula 1, a switch to IndyCar would be a significant adjustment for Grosjean but one which other drivers have made recently. He has spoken to former Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson about his move to the series last year.

“It’s something that I would consider,” said Grosjean. “Obviously it’s a big change in life and so on.

“I spoke with Marcus Ericsson when he went there and he really liked it. It’s a different rules style but the driver’s got a big role, big thing to play in the car, the fun. There are teams that are better than others, but everyone has got a chance to win the race.”

The relatively close competition of IndyCar is a particular attraction for Grosjean, who has only taken one podium finish in the last seven years. His frustrating 2020 season with Haas has yielded just a single points finish so far.

He said it’s “hard to swallow” the poor return on his efforts this year. “I want to win races where I have a chance and and win races where I can have fun. So IndyCar is on the menu.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 22 comments on “Grosjean ‘regrets not checking the IndyCar calendar’”

    1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      5th November 2020, 9:44

      *insert mandatory comment about Ericcson hitting Grosjean here*

      In all seriousness though: I’m not quite sure what Romain was thinking not looking ahead. Surely he himself must’ve realised that his last few seasons haven’t exactly been ‘very good’ (to put it mildly). Especially in Formula 1 you know there’s a chance that some new talent or paydriver will take your seat, more so if you haven’t been performing that great and you’re getting of age.

      Funnily enough, the moment I saw the Peugeot hypercar, I instantly thought of Grosjean behind the wheel. No clue why, but it just seemed fitting. He’s brought enough fun to Formula 1, I wouldn’t mind him bringing some to the 24h of Le Mans now.

      1. @barryfromdownunder

        *insert mandatory comment about Ericsson hitting Grosjean here*

        I completely failed to make that connection!

    2. Would be fun to see what he can do in Indycar

      1. Agree. I’d think he’d be near the bottom of the field. Marcus Ericsson has taken quite some time to get up to speed (12th in the championship this year) and he’s driving for the best team.

        1. @Don
          I’m not sure Ganassi is the best team in Indycar. ONe of the best for sure, but overall I think Penske must be regarded as the best.
          Also, Grosjean is probably a better driver than Ericsson and this year the calendar had six oval races out of 14 races.
          I’m not saying Romain will be necessarily successful, though. INdycar is tough business.

          1. Penske is obviously fantastic, but Ganassi are the 2020 IndyCar champions. I guess they’d be considered the top team currently.

    3. Does Grosjean bring sponsors? I’ve never got the sense that he did. Unfortunately all that is left in Indycar are seats that require funding. Would like to see what he could do we well.

      1. He has, like any other motorsport drivers (Richard Mille, Christian Roth, Seier Capital and Bell Helmets) but I’m unsure it would be of great value in the US.

        Thus, Grosjean is really bad at PR (don’t like ovals, don’t check schedule…) talks French-English and not so US-corporate.

        I think IMSA is more realistic for him in the US but if he targets to still be in motorsports in ten years time, then WEC seems to be the most obvious move.

    4. Aren’t Peugeot and Renault (under Alpine) returning to LMP1, maybe this would be a good fit for him

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        6th November 2020, 9:55

        @f-duct the Peugeot Le Mans project seems like an obvious fit and he’s mentioned it before I think, I can’t see why it’s not nailed on but this talk suggests it isn’t.
        It would be weird if Grosjean ends up in an Indycar next year, and Magnussen, who doesn’t have an aversion to ovals, and has been clear about his desire to follow his dads path into Indycar after F1 for years, doesn’t.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          6th November 2020, 10:09

          If I was Kevin I’d go knock on Lego’s door again. Although his bad boy image wouldn’t help

    5. There aren’t many seats left for him at this point. The Andretti seats are likely to be filled by Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe. With Bourdais signed Foyt would probably target someone who brought a lot of sponsorship money like Kimball. Coyne hasn’t confirmed Ferrucci but if he stays the second Coyne car will be a pay driver. Meyer Shank is adding a second car next year; RLL and Carlin could potentially be expanding as well so one of those three might be Grosjean’s only chance.

    6. If he (or anyone) pays attention to the IndyCar schedule, the oval portion has only been 25 – 30% of it for a LONG time. Of course one of the ovals happens to be the biggest race on earth. I don’t know if any team would be interested in a guy that has stated repeatedly that he’s frightened by them.

      It seems quite a few F1 fans have the impression that the entire schedule is ovals. Obviously not the case.

      1. I mean, I don’t know anything about Indycar, never watched a full race, but even I know that at least two thirds of the races are on normal racetracks.

        If you’re terrified of something, surely you don’t do it? His comments don’t make much sense, either he doesn’t want to race ovals or it shouldn’t make any difference if there are 3 or 10.

        1. @paeschli
          It probably makes a difference as well as far as results are concerned.
          I mean, if the oval races are just three, he would have considerably better chances to snatch a decent performance since the very first year, otherwise it would be increasingly difficult as the oval races go up.

    7. He might like to check Robin Miller’s mailbag column on Racer: no one is going to sell extra tickets on the back of Grosjean’s participation. He’ll have to find himself a Huski chocolate-sized sponsor like Ericsson.

      Funnily enough (and slightly relevant here) this morning I remembered Christian Horner’s comment about Ericsson driving like his wife (the #9 & Eri making “Geri”) at the moment he hit the wall in Montreal.

      1. The actual quote was “it looks like my wife is driving”

        1. @Not George
          Ahahahah oh my, I did not remember this one at all!
          Geri must be over the moon and I wonder how she pays Christian back… LOL!

    8. of the tyre he is more familiar with? So he will be racing on Pirelli’s next year?

      1. In that case no.. he will racing on microwave ovens

    9. Mark in Florida
      5th November 2020, 23:08

      If Romain could get a seat i believe that he would enjoy it a lot more than in F1. Indy is more laid back and fan friendly. RG is a steady driver who does show flashes of brilliance at times. Kevin seems more like a a gt driver to me much like his dad , he likes to bang fenders a lot. I don’t know if RG can find a seat or not he waited a little too long to talk to anyone. Most of the team’s are set with drivers already unless a team wants to expand and that’s not likely. RG doesn’t know how to drive ovals and there are still a few, especially Indianapolis. I had a good laugh at what Alonso had to say about it that he knew he had to put his foot on the accelerator in the corners but his foot wouldn’t move. It took him a while to get used to it and I don’t think RG is in that league. So maybe it’s sports cars somewhere next year maybe Rolex DPI racing at best.

    10. Grosjean could be the next Sebastien Bourdais!

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