Alex Palou, Coyne, IndyCar, Indianapolis 500, 2020

Grosjean would “put his fear aside” to race in Indianapolis 500

IndyCar

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Romain Grosjean says he is willing to accept the dangers of racing on ovals to compete in the IndyCar series, partly as the championship now has so few of them.

The Haas driver, who does not have a seat for the 2021 F1 season, is considering a move to IndyCar next year. He had previously not looked at racing in the series due to the number of ovals on the schedule.

But out of next year’s 17 IndyCar races just four will take place on ovals next year, across three different speedways. Grosjean is therefore warming to the idea of racing in the series.

“It was my bad that I thought IndyCar had much more ovals than it actually does,” he said. “And ovals, yes, it’s something that I’m not necessarily a huge fan of.

Racing on ovals doesn’t appeal much to Grosjean
“But looking at the calendar, there’s basically three ovals. Texas, which is fast, 500 miles of Indianapolis and then the short track [Gateway].

“Obviously racing the Indianapolis 500 is something unique. It’s one of the top three races in the world with Le Mans and Monaco and I think you can put your fear aside a little bit and go for it and accept that.

“Also, the cars have become much safer, the walls have become safer, it’s just all moving in the right direction. I think it’s it’s gone in a way that I accept now that it can be a good opportunity and a fun experience and hopefully a successful experience.”

However Grosjean said he needs to decide whether he wants to relocate his family to America.

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“First of all, I need to definitely have [a contract] done in IndyCar to decide if I’m going to travel back and forward or completely go there,” he said. “I’ve got a wife and three kids and it’s not like I’m a youngster that can just jump in a plane with a backpack and not look behind me.

“So obviously, there are some considerations there, beyond the ‘pros’ of IndyCar: Everyone pretty much has the same car, apart from the dampers and the two types of engine, the races are pretty fun, there’s good opportunities to win the race or to be on the podium.

“The ‘cons’ are that obviously I don’t really know much about motorsport in the US. The tracks look cool, it’s a very good championship and I think there’s more pros than cons but obviously the lifestyle and where we live and what we do is with the kids and the education and the future is very high on the priority list.”

At this stage in the year many of the top IndyCar drives have been taken. However Grosjean said that won’t necessarily deter him from making the switch.

“We are late. Some of the teams are fully booked but there are opportunities left. And looking at what we can do, how we can do it, I think there is some some wish from both sides to to make it happen, which is nice and a good challenge.

“If you look at Penske or Chip Ganassi, which I guess are the two top teams in IndyCar, they are fully booked. But you would not necessarily expect to land one of those seats for the first year before going to IndyCar. You need to prove that you can race in that series. And I’ve been speaking with with Simon Pagenaud recently, also with Marcus Ericsson.

Marcus Ericsson, Ganassi, IndyCar, Texas Motor Speedway, 2020
Former F1 driver Marcus Ericsson races in IndyCar
“Marcus has been really helpful because he knows Europe, he knows GP2, he knows Formula 1 and now he knows the US. So let’s see what’s coming, I’m hoping in the next few days, and then we can we can look at details and so on.”

Grosjean indicated he may need to bring a sponsor to race in IndyCar. He pointed out even well-known American drivers such as seven-times NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson have brought backing to compete in the series.

“I think motorsports is changing generally and I wouldn’t be surprised that drivers around the world need to have a sponsor that wants to follow them,” he said. “Jimmie Johnson is a good example in IndyCar, but also some of others.”

Grosjean’s team mate Kevin Magnussen said he has also spoken to teams in IndyCar about a potential drive in 2021.

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“IndyCar is something that is very high on my list and I’ve always been a fan so I’d love to try it,” said Magnussen. “It’s a challenge that I would get really excited about.

Magnussen has spoken to IndyCar teams too
“There’s a lot of new things but I’ve always found oval tracks to be something that I think is spectacular and very different to what I’ve ever done in my career. We don’t really do ovals in Europe, so all of that.

“As a Romain said the other tracks, the road courses out there, are fantastic as well, really old-school. And again the thing about all the cars being very similar is also a very good thing. That means you can make a bigger difference as a driver.

“My dad has been racing in America for about 20 years and I’ve spent a lot of time over there. I just really like being in America so I think that that would suit me pretty well.”

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Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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17 comments on “Grosjean would “put his fear aside” to race in Indianapolis 500”

  1. Going into turn one on the first lap of the 500 takes steel nuts. At 350’ per second of forward force, the time to react to any situation is near impossible.
    It’s usually PURE LUCK that keeps drivers alive at Indy.
    So for Romain to be thinking about turn one tells me is already slow. You can’t even think and react to events that happen. Your already collected.
    So what is the power for success at the 500? My guess is pure talent and mental awareness not seen elsewhere, is a must to find success plus a soup ladle full of luck. Without it your already in the wall.

  2. I’m not sure admitting how afraid he is of ovals is going to help him compete against the others. I don’t know Grosjean at all personally, but staying in Europe with a small child and family would seem quite appealing. I guess there are no drives elsewhere available, not sure. K-mag on the other hand would take to it like a duck to water.

    1. K-mag has expressed interest for quite some time and has deep connections to IndyCar with his father and his manager Stefan Johansson. If anyone can land a late ride it would be him.

  3. I tend to agree with the other comments. If Romain is starting out with expressing the opinion that he is a little scared of the ovals then I doubt he is going to be very successful. It does not sound like a good choice for him really especially in view of the fact he has a family. Indy is very well known to be significantly more dangerous than F1.

    I would advise him to avoid Indy and try looking at some other series.

    1. Yes, skid-plate racing, it’d fit his style. Google it if you don’t know.

  4. Peter Farrington
    12th November 2020, 20:39

    Won’t happen, sorry poor Boy would miss his Flight to get there !!!
    Overrated Never been ! Brutal but sadly true !

    1. Why are you like this? Does hating people make your life better? I doubt it. You sound like a miserable jerk.

      1. Takes one to know one. Knock off the juvenile comments about other fans. Grow up.

  5. Sounds like Kmag has more or less decided on doing Indycar next year. I think he’ll be a good fit for the series, hope he does well in it.

  6. Who wants a guy who’s scared before even starting? News flash to Romain, four laps of qualifying at the absolute limit of grip at Indy will be the scariest two and a half minutes of your life! Ask Fernando. Texas is even more frightening, even though they do onl two laps in qualifying.

    1. Everyone is scared of racing ovals at 225 MPH. Some people just aren’t afraid to admit it.

  7. Formula E Romain, as a fan, you’d be great there!

  8. Mark in Florida
    13th November 2020, 3:41

    RoGro is a fine person and has greatly matured from where he started in F1. But to announce to everyone that you are completely ignorant of Indy Cars schedule then say you can show up to Indianapolis and be fine is hubris in my opinion. The speeds at Indy hit 231 mph or 371.75 kph in qualifying this year. The horsepower is going to go up to around 950 when the new engines arrive at some point. The cars are harder to drive since they stripped the aero packages off, they drift through the turns and you have to manhandle your steering wheel accordingly. So no RoGro you can’t just announce here I am sign me up. I do think Kmag has a better chance at it. He would be a new Paul Tracey knocking everything out of the way.

  9. His learning curve will be worrisome at Indy.

  10. Like I said it takes steelnuts and I’d like to see his future as a big name F1 driver who had gone to IMSA. Great cars , great looking cars. High performance and very fast and with almost no attention world wide so it’s a whole lot more fun without the crazy world that surrounds Formula One. The environment for former high level racers I saw at Laguna Seca supports the very idea there are series where you still can be tested but with the safer cars where most crashes aren’t fatal. Sorry but Indy has killed many or many reasons. The speed there is nuts. So as the F1 curtain falls for RoGro (great description I ripped off) better consider a path in another series somewhere. Stick around and race another day.

  11. They look like kids repeating constantly the same things to their parents. They’re dreaming, there’s no place in Indycar for them. if they respected the series they would have thought of making the move earlier, not when they both been fired.

    1. Agreed.

      Alonso has discussed how intense qualifying is at Indy, but never whined about how scary it is – even though it is the scarriest 2.5 minutes of any drivers life.

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