Ex-F1 driver Grosjean joins Dale Coyne-Rick Ware IndyCar team

Ex-Formula 1 star Romain Grosjean will switch to IndyCar this season, driving for the Honda-powered Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing entry

Ex-F1 driver Grosjean joins Dale Coyne-Rick Ware IndyCar team

Grosjean, who has 180 F1 starts to his name, will race in all 13 road and street races on the 2021 IndyCar Series schedule, and will have his first test in the DCR-RWR car on 22 February at Barber Motorsports Park.

The 34-year-old Frenchman has ruled out competing on the superspeedways, namely at Texas Motor Speedway - which this year is a double-header - and Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500.

However, Grosjean has told Autosport he is interested in trying out the 1.25-mile oval at Gateway that returned to the IndyCar schedule in 2017.

Over the course of four F1 seasons with Lotus, Grosjean scored 10 podium finishes, taking eighth in the championship in 2012 and seventh in 2013.

However, the last five seasons of his career were spent at the Haas F1 team, which has faced an ever-increasing struggle to shine.

For Grosjean, the chance to return to a spec formula of racing such as those in which he won multiple championships before he reached F1, has revived his enthusiasm.

"I'm very excited for this opportunity to race in the United States in the IndyCar Series," he said.

"I had different options in front of me for this coming season and choosing to go IndyCar racing was definitively my favourite one, although, I'm not ready yet to take on the ovals!

"IndyCar has a much more level playing field than what I have been used to in my career so far. It will be exciting to challenge for podiums and wins again."

Grosjean's final F1 race was last November's Bahrain Grand Prix from which he escaped a huge accident and subsequent fire, suffering some burns to his feet and severe burns to his hands.

"My left hand is still healing," he said, "but we are just about ready to get back into the racecar and start this next chapter of my career."

Coyne contacted several F1 drivers whose contracts expired in 2020, and also some of the best Formula 2 racers who had no clear opportunities to graduate to F1 this year, but had been impressed by Grosjean even before negotiations begun.

"I've heard a lot about how much of a student Romain is, how he really makes an effort to bond with his race engineer and find solutions to any difficulties," Coyne said.

"That's exactly the kind of attitude you always want from a driver, and it's especially important when he's trying to learn everything about a series that's totally alien to him.

"I think Romain's going to get up to speed very quickly like Alex [Palou, who left DCR for Ganassi] and once he's seen everything you can and can't do with these cars as far as changing them, he's going to really help drive the team forward.

"You only need to look at his GP2 [now Formula 2] record to see what he can do in spec cars. He won the GP2 championship [in 2011], and won a couple of GP2 Asia titles."

Rick Ware, who last week was confirmed as a full-time partner of Coyne in 2021, said: "We're thrilled to be entering our first full season of IndyCar Series racing with Dale Coyne Racing, and to have a driver of the calibre of Romain Grosjean to run the street and road courses makes it that much more exciting for us."

Grosjean's test at Barber will be alongside DCR with Vasser Sullivan's new hire, Ed Jones, a three-year veteran of IndyCar who returns to the series after a one-season hiatus.

shares
comments
Rosenqvist settled into McLaren IndyCar team in "very natural way"

Previous article

Rosenqvist settled into McLaren IndyCar team in "very natural way"

Next article

Why Grosjean is taking the plunge in IndyCar

Why Grosjean is taking the plunge in IndyCar
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Teams Dale Coyne Racing
Author David Malsher
The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed Plus

The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed

Often unfairly characterised as a car-breaker, judged for his lack of an Indianapolis 500 win and a disappointing part-season of Formula 1 in 1993, Michael Andretti was highly respected by his rivals and only thwarted greater success by ill-fortune. When it all came together in 1991, he was a truly formidable force

IndyCar
Mar 6, 2021
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021
Why American racing's top dog is without equal Plus

Why American racing's top dog is without equal

A byword for success in business and in motorsport for over 50 years, Roger Penske's importance to the US scene cannot be understated. In an exclusive interview, the custodian of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reflects on his journey

IndyCar
Jan 11, 2021
The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete Plus

The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indycar game-changer that won its third Indianapolis 500 five years after its debut

IndyCar
Dec 22, 2020
Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough Plus

Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough

Josef Newgarden feels he didn't put a foot wrong in 2020, yet his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield a third series championship. But in a warning shot to Scott Dixon, Team Penske's team leader has vowed to redouble his efforts in 2021

IndyCar
Dec 21, 2020
How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season Plus

How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season

Three wins on the trot gave the Chip Ganassi Racing superstar the cushion he needed to hang on for a sixth title in the face of Josef Newgarden's late challenge. Here's the rundown of a typically frantic IndyCar campaign in an extraordinary year

IndyCar
Nov 28, 2020
The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy Plus

The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy

Calls for an improvement in the racing spectacle at the Indianapolis 500 have been met with small aerodynamic tweaks from IndyCar on superspeedways. But where such high speeds are involved, even minor adjustments require significant planning

IndyCar
Oct 31, 2020