Ex-Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean will drive in this year’s IndyCar Series with Dayle Coyne Racing.
Grosjean was released from his duties with Haas F1 Team late last year. The American-based team let go both Grosjean and his teammate Kevin Magnussen – who has begun his next career phase racing for Chip Ganassi Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship.
Grosjean’s last drive in F1 ended prematurely after a horrific lap one crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The crash left Grosjean to reconsider his IndyCar deal. He has decided not to race on the “superspeedways”, at Texas and the Indianapolis 500, despite that initially being the plan.
“I got in contact with Dale Coyne before the Bahrain incident, and I think the week before Imola,” Grosjean said. “We got on very nicely. He made us an offer, and I was going to do the full championship.
“But then, obviously, Bahrain happened and for a moment I thought I was dead. Being a father of three kids, I need to be sensible in my decisions, in my choices in the future.
“At the minute I don’t feel comfortable [doing ovals]. Not especially for me, but more for my kids and my wife to risk ovals, at least the speedways.”
Grosjean will still race on all 13 events that take place on permanent circuits or streets.
“I am very excited about this opportunity to race in the United States in IndyCar,” he said.
“I had different options for the coming season and going IndyCar racing was my favourite.
“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.”
He also admitted that he has not yet fully recovered from the injuries sustained in the Bahrain crash.
“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.”
The team Grosjean will be joining, Dayle Coyne, haven’t won an IndyCar race in three seasons and often struggles to score results.
Still, the team breeds strong talent and was the home of Michael Cannon – who guided Scott Dixon to a sixth championship crown – until the end of last year.
Grosjean becomes the third rookie added to the 2021 line-up. Though both Jimmie Johnson and Scott McLaughlin have the benefit of having undergone a steady pre-season testing programme.
Grosjean will only have a few brief outings in the car before the first race of the season on April 18 with the Grand Prix of Alabama.