IndyCar convert Romain Grosjean believes Daniel Ricciardo would have plenty of fun, if he decided to emulate the move to the American series.
Grosjean has just wrapped up his second season of racing in IndyCar, having made the switch across the Atlantic after the conclusion of his Formula 1 career at the end of 2020.
Now racing with Andretti Autosport, Grosjean has found his feet with the American series – although podiums eluded him during the 2022 season.
With Daniel Ricciardo staring down a season with no plans in 2023 after McLaren bought out his contract for next season and him opting against signing for another team, Grosjean reckons Ricciardo would have great fun in IndyCar if he chose to try it out.
While Ricciardo is a self-confessed fan of all things America, having bought himself a home in Los Angeles in 2018, the Australian has poured cold water on the idea of a switch to IndyCar as he’s cited a fear of oval racing and a desire to stay around in F1 after a year’s sabbatical.
Romain Grosjean: There’s always the option not to race ovals
Grosjean’s switch to IndyCar came just shortly after his horrific crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, with the French driver electing not to take part in the oval racing side of the American series in his first season.
Initially committing to a road track programme, Grosjean began dabbling in short oval racing before committing to a full IndyCar season in 2022.
Grosjean said that could be an option open to Ricciardo, if his former F1 rival chose to switch over.
“Well, I think Daniel’s got the same concern as I had when I got into it – the ovals,” Grosjean said on Sky F1’s Any Driven Monday.
“Once you actually get into the ovals and you realise how the cars are made, and how the safety is going on and all the research around it, I think you can ease yourself into it.
“There’s also the option not to do the ovals and then doing all the [road] races. I think Daniel would love it. I think we would just have some fun.
“It’s a very easygoing championship, all the drivers play together with banter. When you go on track, it’s just about racing and no bloody BS.
“Daniel would absolutely love it and if he doesn’t feel like doing the ovals at first just don’t do them. Try short ovals and then I’m pretty sure he would do all of them.”
Marcus Ericsson: An Indy 500 ring might tempt him across!
Marcus Ericsson, a former F1 grid rival of both Ricciardo and Grosjean, is another F1 convert to the IndyCar series.
The 32-year-old Swede raced for Chip Ganassi in 2022, finishing sixth in the Drivers’ Championship. However, Ericsson won the most prestigious race on the IndyCar calendar, and one of the world’s most challenging events, as he claimed victory in May’s Indy 500.
Speaking to Expressen as Ericsson touched down in Sweden to begin a whirlwind media trophy tour around his home country, Ericsson said he’d talked to Ricciardo about a potential IndyCar switch.
“I actually talked to him a little bit in Austin when I was there. But he doesn’t like ovals, he doesn’t want to drive them…” he said, before showing off his Indy 500 victory ring.
“But he was really impressed by this ring, so it might change his mind then! But he doesn’t seem to be that keen on it at the moment anyway, I got the feeling.”
Ericsson, who left F1 behind at the conclusion of the 2018 season, said he believes Ricciardo still has what it takes to be a top driver, but is just suffering a crisis of confidence after two bad seasons with McLaren.
“I know myself that when you don’t get confidence in a car, you easily lose confidence,” he said.
“Then it becomes a vicious spiral that goes in the wrong direction. He’s a really good driver, he hasn’t forgotten how to drive a car fast, it’s more about finding the confidence in the car and having a car that suits your driving style and confidence in what you’re doing.”