Grosjean on ‘jealous’ rivals, type setback and Andretti F1 bid

It felt like Romain Grosjean’s IndyCar honeymoon interval ended abruptly in 2022.

He was the rebounding Phoenix, rising off the again of his fiery 2020 Bahrain Method 1 shunt to grow to be IndyCar’s newest success story in 2021 with Dale Coyne, bagging a pole place at Indianapolis and IndyCar’s hottest driver award, voted for by followers, in his rookie season.

In 2022, nonetheless, amid a spate of early incidents together with a high-profile one at Barber the place Grosjean was chastised for his driving by Graham Rahal, and later a full on Andretti crew meltdown at Mid-Ohio the place Alexander Rossi crashed into Grosjean 3 times, it felt like there was an enormous shift.

The story had modified from ‘isn’t IndyCar nice for ex-Method 1 drivers’ in 2021 to ‘Grosjean’s aggressive fame from F1 precedes him’. All of it acquired a bit out of hand, actually.

It actually appears like Grosjean wonders how his 2022 might need gone if he hadn’t had such a speedy rise the yr prior, and skilled the “jealousy” that will have brought on.

“I believe there was a little bit of jealousy on the market as a result of I got here from Europe, I used to be voted favorite driver by the followers. Typically I virtually hoped that that vote didn’t occur simply because I believe it sort of put a goal on my again,” Grosjean tells The Race in an unique interview.

“I acquired a extremely good seat at Andretti, DHL is an iconic sponsor in IndyCar, so I believe some guys have been just a bit bit jealous of that.

“There have been some [negative] feedback made by not even a handful [of drivers].

“I believe via the yr issues acquired higher. If we take Alexander Rossi, we are literally good mates now after the incident.

“We sort of cleared the air and we truly grew to become a lot nearer than we have been earlier than. So, issues are good.

“I nonetheless love racing within the US, nonetheless joyful being right here.

“Clearly now I’m in a giant crew. So I’m right here to attempt to win the championship.

“You alter a bit, if you happen to come and also you don’t do all of the races individuals are fairly pleasant with you.

“Once you begin doing all of the races and attempt to go for the championship clearly issues are just a little bit totally different.

“However saying that, it’s nonetheless superb. It’s nonetheless environment that I get pleasure from lots. We’re rivals, everybody needs to win, however we’re additionally like colleagues and mates so I actually loved that.”

Romain Grosjean Firestone Grand Prix Of Monterey By Travis Hinkle Referenceimagewithoutwatermark M70338


Grosjean’s maiden season got here with Dale Coyne – a superb crew however one with a fraction of the assets of a few of its a lot larger rivals – and there he truly carried out higher in lots of main classes in contrast with how he adopted that up in his sophomore yr at Andretti.

Grosjean’s 2021 vs 2022
2021 2022
Races 13 17
Poles 1 0
Podiums 3 1
High 5s 1 2
High 10s 2 4
Quickest laps 1 0
Common begin 9.3 (seventh) 10.47 (sixth)
Common end 12.69 (twelfth) 13.71 (thirteenth)
Factors per race 20.92 (tenth) 19.29 (thirteenth)

It wasn’t simply Grosjean who needed to mattress into Andretti shortly, it was his engineer Olivier Boisson who got here from Coyne with him. Nevertheless it was clear once they arrived that it was going to instantly be powerful for them.

“I believe at Dale Coyne I acquired fortunate, the automotive was suiting my driving type very well,” explains Grosjean.

“There have been some weaknesses nevertheless it was going nicely for my driving type.

“At Andretti there have been some actually large strengths on the automotive like rear grip, Andretti has acquired superb rear grip, which is superior if you happen to like understeer, however I don’t like understeer, it’s well-known.

“I simply can’t exploit my driving type when it’s understeering.

“So we needed to get me again the sensation of the entrance finish that I had a Dale Coyne that I actually favored and we took longer than we anticipated.

“So yeah, that simply took just a little bit longer than we needed.

“We additionally had some points on the automotive with a brake challenge for fairly some time that didn’t assist. So we had it in Indy, Toronto, in Highway America.

“Plenty of factors misplaced in Nashville when Newgarden crashed into me.

“So yeah, I imply positively not what we needed however I believe by way of character constructing and understanding extra about IndyCar that was season.

“I’m truly cool concerning the season coming. I do know I can do nicely on ovals, I do know I can do nicely on street programs and road circuits.

“So now it’s simply getting these remaining items of the puzzle collectively and getting again to being aggressive each weekend.

“There’s been loads of work finished at Andretti already. I believe final yr, we didn’t have one of the best season for the crew typically.

“So there’s been loads of issues occurring throughout the winter. I do know there’s much more work and loads of totally different work has been finished. And likewise, my engineer Olivier has had a full yr with the crew so he was in a position to get into it just a little bit extra throughout the break.

Romain Grosjean Firestone Grand Prix Of Monterey By James Black Referenceimagewithoutwatermark M70175

“So clearly, I believe everybody stated the identical factor. Everybody is worked up. Everybody has discovered loads of area throughout the winter. That’s what you hear firstly of the season, however I hope that for us it’s true.”

It’s clear Andretti has been working exhausting within the low season in a bid to enhance its fortunes.

For nonetheless a lot criticism there might have been for Grosjean and his type in 2022, Andretti’s efforts as a crew weren’t a lot better as Colton Herta and Rossi scored solely 53 extra factors (with 50 for a win in IndyCar) than their team-mate and completed tied three locations forward within the championship with a win apiece.

So the yr actually wasn’t what Grosjean had anticipated when he left Dale Coyne – particularly ending solely 23 factors forward of the one who changed him, rookie David Malukas – nevertheless it was a poor season for Andretti normally, too. It’s to not say it’s all Andretti’s fault, it was only a disappointing yr by crew and drivers’ requirements.

This yr Grosjean may have a extra important position on the Andretti crew as Rossi strikes to McLaren and the squad fields two sophomores in Kyle Kirkwood and Devlin DeFrancesco alongside Herta and Grosjean. Herta is no less than extra skilled than Grosjean in IndyCar phrases coming into his fifth season, and the pair are going to be closely leant on to enhance the crew’s fortunes because it chases a primary title since 2012 and first Indianapolis 500 win since 2017.

Romain Grosjean Hy Veedeals Com 250 Presented By Doordash By Joe Skibinski Referenceimagewithoutwatermark M64965

One space Grosjean is joyful about is on the ovals, the place he felt he was tip-top at Andretti.

“The actually optimistic of final yr is that on ovals I used to be at all times the quickest of the crew, which stunned me,” he provides.

“Indy, I certified one of the best. Iowa and Gateway certified one of the best of the crew, Iowa was better of the crew, Gateway, with out the penalty, and with out the dangerous luck with the yellow flags, I ought to have gained the race.

“So total, I used to be up there which was nice. As a result of that’s one thing I had no thought what we’d do.”

There’s little question the main focus might be enhancing the street course efficiency and persevering with the optimistic work finished on the road and oval occasions.

It means it’s a giant yr for Grosjean. Not solely is he anticipated to assist lead this IndyCar crew ahead, he’ll be serving to develop Lamborghini’s new top-level prototype sportscar with some races together with this weekend’s Daytona 24 Hours in its GT automotive confirmed.

It makes for a various and fascinating yr at a crew which is sort of at all times within the headlines today.

Talking of which, given the interview is performed on the day of the announcement that Andretti can be backed by Cadillac in its bid to have an F1 entry, it felt like we couldn’t let the chance cross with out asking if he’d have an interest – even when it was in an advisory-type position – in getting concerned.

“Yeah, completely,” he replies.

“I believe loads of Method 1, one factor I discovered isn’t say by no means.

“So sure, I believe it’s nice information for Andretti. They’re working actually exhausting in the direction of that purpose so I actually hope it’s going to occur.

“They’re positively attempting to make it occur. In order that’s good.

“They’ve acquired the monetary backing, they’ve acquired the constructor. So it’s fascinating to see the best way that the crew is increasing and constructing.”

Maybe like Grosjean’s 2022, issues might but go a bit sideways for that Andretti F1 bid with even the addition of Normal Motors seemingly not sufficient to ensure its entry.

However, like for Grosjean and his IndyCar title aspirations, there’s nonetheless hope.

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