Romain Grosjean, Coyne, Laguna Seca, 2021

Grosjean rues missed chances in F1 but admits uncompetitive Haas was “no real fun”

IndyCar

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Romain Grosjean conceded it is partly his fault he never had the chance to drive a championship-winning car during his Formula 1 career.

The former Haas driver, who will make his debut in IndyCar this weekend, raced in Formula 1 from 2009 until last season. He spent two years away after making his debut with Renault, returned with Lotus, then joined Haas in 2016.

Reflecting on his career in a recent interview Grosjean said he was “happy” with his spell in F1, which yielded 10 podium finishes, the last of which came six years ago. “You can’t stay 10 years in Formula 1 and not be happy about it,” he said.

“Did I regret that I never had the car to win races and championships? Yes. But was it in my hand? Probably a bit. Also probably not.”

His most competitive spell in F1 came in 2013, his second full year in the sport. But his Lotus team suffered a dire 2014, which he described as “one regret” of his career.

Grosjean and Lotus ended 2013 in great shape…
“Coming [after] such a strong end of 2013, the team was in a difficult situation financially, change of regulations in the engine, it was going to be a problem to get it working. When you’re going up like this [and] you end up having the worst car on the grid, it’s complicated to get a good seat.”

Grosjean joins Jimmie Johnson and Scott McLaughlin – multiple champions in NASCAR and Australian Supercars respectively – in making the switch to IndyCar this year. He’s relishing the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with them and the series’ top competitors.

“I think it’s a great series where you’ve got top drivers, top level, top races,” he said. “You get a chance to pretty much have the same tools as your friends, competitors.

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“Formula 1 is wonderful. It’s great. But, I mean, I’m putting money on the fact that Lewis [Hamilton] is going to be eight-time world champion this year.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Melbourne, 2014
…but Lotus’s 2014 car went as well as it looked
“I’ve really enjoyed my time there. I’ve had a great career. But also I was at the end of what I wanted to do there. Fighting with Haas to [get] out of Q1 when everything was fantastic is something that I had enough [of]. It was no real fun.”

Moving into IndyCar gives Grosjean his first realistic shot at winning a race for “10 years”, he believes.

“The last time I got really the chance to have the same tools as the others was 2011 in GP2. I was close to win a few times in Formula 1, but I was also in the era with Raikkonen and Vettel who dominated everything. I was close few times, but not on an every-race basis.”

Grosjean’s participation in this year’s IndyCar season is limited to the 13 road and street events on the 17-round calendar, though he has indicated an interest in competing in the final oval round at Gateway. Beyond that, he isn’t sure whether he will commit to IndyCar beyond this year.

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“I don’t have a direct answer,” he said. “I can only tell you what I suspect. If I enjoy my time in the US, I can do a great job, I feel like this is what I want to do and I can race well and do my job properly, in a nice way, I would definitely stay.

Romain Grosjean, Coyne, IndyCar, Barber Motorsport Park, 2021
Grosjean now faces a new challenge in IndyCar
“At the minute it’s a challenge that I’m taking on a lot of aspects. It’s a new category, a lot of travel for me. My family is staying in Europe. Sometimes I’m going to be maybe a month without seeing them, which is quite hard when you’re a dad.

“But I’m ready to try it. As I say, if everything goes well, I really enjoy myself, I’ve got great opportunities in the future here, I’m more than happy to bring everyone over and to enjoy a few years here.

“I’m 35 so I still have some time for racing. Seems that the guys, Scott [Dixon] is 40, Will Power just turned 40, Sebastien [Bourdais] is 42. They still do really good and go racing. I still see that I’ve got some years left. As I say, if I enjoy myself here, what I came looking for, I may stay.”

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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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  • 12 comments on “Grosjean rues missed chances in F1 but admits uncompetitive Haas was “no real fun””

    1. Romain is absolutely one of!my favorite divers in F1. Not arrogant or ostentatious and always made time for his fans. Considering I thought (like most) that I watched him die on live TV, I’m glad he’s will and happy.

      At the end of the day that’s the only thing you can have.

      1. Wow can I just say that my autocorrect hates me.

        1. Not autocorrect’s fault you did mention Romain on that sentence. he did dive into a fair few dnf’s.

        2. Ah yes, if Romain had benefitted from autocorrect driving he would have missed less chances.

          Sorry for the salty comment; he was the driver I had the least respect for as a person by a long shot (and I am French). The fact that he didn’t live to the early expectations we had of him didn’t help either. Anyhow that is remarkable that the same driver can make such a different impression on people!

          Enjoy watching him away from F1. I will enjoy not having to watch him in F1 :-)

    2. Since 2009 Valencia bar two seasons as he didn’t race in F1 the two seasons after. Overall, some missed chances, but mostly not.

    3. Did he have a chance to go anywhere else in 2014? The missed opportunity was 2015 with the Mercedes engine. The story about Lotus being given previously unavailable engine modes is the real shame for the Genii ownership era.

      I’ll definitely keep an eye out for Romain in Indycar, but I think he needs some mindfulness; take each race at a time. From the outside it looks as though he can spiral into negativity when he thinks back to past event (I recognise this in myself too – the “story” he tells himself afterwards is worse than the “live” experience at the time). He has all the tools he needs with Dale Coyne, who seems to be genuinely one of the most grounded team owners in Indycar.

      1. Oops, meant to say “at Spa 2015”.

      2. Looking back at the story, I do treat it with a bit of a pinch of salt given that Matthew Carter does not have an engineering background and his role at Lotus was more oriented towards the financial aspects and the management of personnel at the main factory than the technical operations of the team or strategic operations in the pit lane.

        Whilst better placed than most of us, at the same time I do wonder quite how much technical information he would actually be receiving when it’s not part of his role – would you necessarily expect, say, somebody like Zak Brown to be given a detailed briefing on engine maps? It does make me wonder a little whether he necessarily had a full picture, particularly as it seems that Williams and Force India indicated they did have access to those engine modes.

    4. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      13th April 2021, 9:09

      I think Geosjean’s career reflected his ability fairly well. A good run in the midfield for a fast but sometimes liability of a driver.

    5. Romain is going to have a challenging time because IndyCar is hyper competetive with loads of great drivers. One thing for certain, whether he gets a win or not he will have FUN racing again! I hope he gets a few podiums and will be rooting for him to get a win every race. Good luck Romain!!!

    6. I was initially siding with Grosjean as he got an unlucky break with the start crashes and became the field’s whipping boy, as he clearly had some speed, but the endless complaining to the team became very grating and then he could do no better than Magnussen.

      Will still be fun to see what he can do in Indycar, but not expecting all that much. The crash is bound to have left marks.

    7. Honest opinion of Grosjean’s career in F1, I think he was a great driver on his day, but we can all agree the consistency wasn’t there, and he was limited by equipment for much of his time too. Had Haas been able to stay near the top of the midfield, I think he might have been able to put them on the podium. But if nothing else, hes definitely gonna have fun in IndyCar.

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