Romain Grosjean, Haas, Imola, 2020

Grosjean to make racing return in IndyCar with Coyne


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Former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean has confirmed he will contest the 2021 IndyCar season with Coyne.

Grosjean hasn’t raced since his shocking crash on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix in November. His Haas car burst into flames in the impact, causing severe burns to his hands, which prevented him from competing in the final two races of the F1 season.

He will make his IndyCar debut in the season-opening Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 18th. Grosjean will take part in the 13 rounds of the 17-race series which take part on road and street courses, but will not tackle the four races on ovals.

The Coyne team scored their most recent IndyCar victory with another ex-F1 driver, Sebastien Bourdais, at the Grand Prix of St Petersburg in 2018. They fielded Santino Ferrucci and Alex Palou last year, the latter scoring their best result with third place at Road America.

2021 IndyCar calendar

118/4/2021Barber Motorsports ParkRoad
225/4/2021St PetersburgStreet
31/5/2021Texas Motor SpeedwayOval
42/5/2021Texas Motor SpeedwayOval
515/5/2021Indianapolis Motor Speedway road courseRoad
630/5/2021Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayOval
712/6/2021Belle IsleStreet
813/6/2021Belle IsleStreet
920/6/2021Road AmericaRoad
1314/8/2021Indianapolis Motor Speedway road courseRoad
1619/9/2021Laguna SecaRoad
1726/9/2021Long BeachStreet

This article will be updated.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Grosjean to make racing return in IndyCar with Coyne”

  1. Honestly was convinced we would never see Grosjean in a motorsport race ever again. I thought he would have an epiphany and hang up the gloves.

    I’m truly surprised by this signing, given his traumatic crash, his young family and his reputation. Indycar is exceptionally brutal, he has little experience of ovals and they can be highly dangerous. With Romain’s checkered history of causing pile-ups this spells disaster for me. I hope to be proved wrong.

    1. The article says he will not race on ovals.

    2. Try reading the article, he is not racing ovals

      1. Not to argue, but Grosjean makes it clear that while he will not race the “super speedways”, like Texas or Indianapolis, there is still the short “oval” at Gateway that he may. So saying we won’t do ovals would be incorrect

    3. Why should a bad crash change anything for a racing driver?

      As a racing driver you must always deal with the fact that you can have a bad crash. Every time you get in the car you must be aware that you can get hurt or die. That is part of your job and you must accept it. So, when a bad crash happens to you, it does not come surprising, rather it is something you have been thinking about for many years.

      1. Yes, well thats the theory. In Grosjeans case you hope he would self reflect and see he’s more than average accident prone. So, apparently he did: good call not doing the ovals.

  2. Last year, after Grosjean’s horror crash, he seemed so shocked that the general consensus seemed to think that he may never race again, certainly not in anything like Formula 1 (maybe he would drive in something safer like Formula e or DTM). Two months later, he signs for an Indycar team, arguably the most dangerous motorsport of all. I am actually quite disappointed about this, as it I thought pulling out of any dangerous motorsport would show that he realised he had got away with his life, and would be content with ending his career knowing he might not be so lucky next time. To me, driving in Indycar suggests either he values his life less than you would expect from someone who nearly died, or he doesn’t appreciate how much he defied the odds by surviving that crash. Or maybe, he just loves racing and sees it as his sole purpose in life, which would be a more acceptable reason for driving for Indycar in my eyes, although it still doesn’t explain why he would choose something so dangerous instead of something like Formula e.

    1. If you think Indycar is (arguably) the most dangerous motorsport in the world, you do not watch enough motorsport. Indycar is no more dangerous than any other open wheel series except for ovals, and Grosjean will not be racing ovals.

      1. Even without the ovals, I believe IndyCar is as dangerous as Formula 1 (and support series of F1) and of car races I think they are the two most dangerous (they are less bad than motorbikes, which I wasn’t including). Other open wheel series are less dangerous because the cars are slower (although to be fair, they do often have more questionable driving standards). I would still expect him to choose Formula e, DTM, or WEC over IndyCar.

    2. Having read some of the other comments and thought about it more, I realise that, while I still don’t think that he should have chosen Indycar, my original words:

      To me, driving in Indycar suggests either he values his life less than you would expect from someone who nearly died, or he doesn’t appreciate how much he defied the odds by surviving that crash.

      were not really fair, and what @alloythere said in particular about him sacrificing a chance of winning the championship by not racing ovals shows that actually he does clearly value his life, and appreciate how much he defied the odds. So for this, I apologise to Romain Grosjean.

      1. IndyCars are very safe cars. Because of racing on ovals they need to be built to withstand gigantic impacts! With the addition of the aeroscreen they are far safer than F1 cars. The biggest risk is getting airborne from wheel to wheel contact on high speed ovals, which he is passing on. It will do him good to get in a car where he has a chance to do well, not like F1 to hope to possibly get a top 10 finish with some luck.

    3. The odds of having a bad crash are exactly the same as before Grosjean’s crash. They are exactly the same not only for Grosjean, but also for Vettel, Hamilton or Stroll.

      Your criticism should not be brought against Grosjean, but against all racing drivers.

      1. You are correct. I did not really think about it properly before posting the comment. If there was an option to, I would delete it.

        1. @f1frog what a refreshing comment. In this day and age, on ‘anonymous’ social media it’s surely almost unheard of to see someone reconsider their original comment/viewpoint and to not to only come to the conclusion that they perhaps didn’t think it through first time round but to post that fact. Normally we just see it descend into an argument. Well done. A great example to us all, in our online lives and real lives.

  3. I’m excited for this, although the Coyne team (DCR now) has traditionally only been strong on ovals, which he will not be participating in. Hopefully his good feedback will help them with their performance on road and street tracks.

  4. What on Earth are the other comments on here about? He is a hugely experienced F1 driver. If he had decided to retire then fine – that’s his and his family’s decision. He’s decided to continue racing and has chosen Indy Car minus the ovals. This seems like a completely sensible and reasoned decision to me yet the comments here are making out it is the most ridiculous decision ever?! Personally I hope he goes over to Indy Car and is able to showcase his (undoubted) talent and is able to compete at the very top. He may never have truly excelled in F1 but a driver that’s competed for almost 10 years in F1 is clearly talented.

    1. I have no problem with Grosjean continuing his career; I think he is a really good driver and one of the most underrated in F1 history. I just think he should have chosen a safer series than IndyCar, although I am very glad he is not racing ovals.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        3rd February 2021, 15:00

        Why? Yes he survived a miracle but that doesn’t make him anymore susceptible to future incidents. Fair play to him in my opinion. Shows a lot of strength.

        1. You are entirely correct. I have been thinking about it more, and actually Romain Grosjean isn’t doing anything different to any other IndyCar driver, or indeed anything different to what he did when he joined Formula 1 in 2009. I Remember thinking it showed a lot of strength when Andy Neate returned to racing after being in a coma, and Grosjean’s situation is the same really.

          1. And Juan Manuel Correa too, of course. I am not sure why I viewed Grosjean’s situation differently, but you are right @rdotquestionmark that Grosjean’s return shows a lot of strength just like Correa’s.

          2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
            3rd February 2021, 19:37

            I think it’s probably because you consider his families feelings @f1frog I imagine it will be hard for those around him. That combined with a feeling of ‘you’ve had a decent and full F1 career and got out with your life after a terrible accident’ so why not go and relax. I can see both sides of the coin but ultimately I respect Romain for having more in the tank and continuing in motorsport.

  5. I am glad to hear he is avoiding the ovals, as somehow that would seem to be tempting things.

    But I’m not clear on how that approach adds up to a sensible chance at attacking the championship? Missing four of 17-rounds?

    Otherwise, I expect to see him do well on the road courses, once he gets settled in.

    1. With the Coyne team, it would be quite unlikely for him to be fighting near the top of the championship even if he ran the ovals. I’m not sure what Grosjean’s and Coyne’s aspirations are for this partnership, but there must be something in it, and I’ll be glad to see him there. It also occurs to me that Conor Daly is running a street and road course only schedule at his team, so maybe he can sub for Romain at the ovals?

      1. While not official it is expected that Daly will be driving Max Chilton’s car on the non-Indy ovals.

  6. Glad for him
    Since I live in NYC I’ll have to go and see him race in one of these races.

  7. Great. I have to watch this.

  8. The only thing I wonder (and have wondered before) is his family. Will Grosjean still live in Switzerland but travel back-and-forth across the Atlantic, or relocate to the states with family staying in Switzerland or move along?

  9. He should switch to Among Us instead.

  10. Too bad that his new team is as good in Indycar as Haas is in F1

    1. Driver feedback and setup are a lot more important in Indycar, so hopefully he can have a positive impact on their road and street track performance

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