Romain Grosjean has confirmed he will drive in the IndyCar Series this year for Dale Coyne Racing, in conjunction with the Rick Ware Racing team.
The Frenchman moves Stateside from Formula 1, where his last action was the horrific crash on the opening lap of the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix from which he miraculously escaped with burned hands and a minor leg injury.
A month earlier, the Haas team had announced that Grosjean’s five-year stay with them would be ending, along with that of fellow driver Kevin Magnussen – who has already begun a new phase of his career racing sportscars in America.
Grosjean is also heading across the Atlantic, but in his case to the IndyCar Series – with which he has been linked before but had expressed an aversion to driving on oval circuits.
He will not have to do that in 2021 because his arrangement is to compete only in the 13 events that take place on circuits or streets, thereby avoiding the other four on ovals.
“I am very excited about this opportunity to race in the United States in IndyCar,” said the 34-year-old, quoted by Motorsport.com.
“I had different options for the coming season and going IndyCar racing was really my favourite…although I’m not yet ready to race on the ovals!
“The IndyCar offers a much more balanced grid than I expected. I’ve been used to it during my career so far. It will be exciting to fight for podiums and victories again.”
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) February 3, 2021
In 179 F1 starts, Grosjean never won a race but did finish on the podium 10 times, all of which were in his four years with Lotus between 2012 and 2015.
He is not yet quite 100% recovered from the burns he suffered in Bahrain, but expects to be ready for testing with his new team on February 22 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama – venue of the season-opener on April 18.
Grosjean added: “My left hand is still healing, but I’m about to get back into a race car and start the next chapter of my career.”
Team boss Coyne said: “I’ve heard a lot about Romain’s learning ability, how he tries to bond with his race engineer and find solutions to any difficulty.
“This is exactly the kind of attitude you expect from a driver and it’s especially important that he tries to learn everything from a championship that is totally foreign to him.
“I think Romain will get into the bath quickly and once he sees all we can and can’t do with these cars, he will really help the team move forward.
“You just have to look at his GP2 track record to see what he can do. He won GP2 [in 2011] and won two GP2 Asia titles.”