IndyCar: Romain Grosjean’s plans have already changed

Romain Grosjean, Dale Coyne Racing, IndyCar (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)
Romain Grosjean, Dale Coyne Racing, IndyCar (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) /

Romain Grosjean was set to run the full 2021 IndyCar schedule for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing until his Bahrain crash.

After a ton of speculation, Romain Grosjean confirmed his plans for the 2021 IndyCar season on Wednesday.

He is set to drive the #51 Honda in the 13 road and street course races on the 17-race schedule for Dale Coyne Racing through their new full-season partnership with Rick Ware Racing.

While this deal was only confirmed earlier this week, the 34-year-old Frenchman revealed that he was in talks with the team several months ago and that he was originally slated to run the whole schedule.

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Grosjean began his discussions with Dale Coyne Racing before his scary shunt at Bahrain International Circuit in the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, November 29, and he was always the team’s top choice to drive their second car.

But that crash ultimately made him rethink whether he wanted to compete in IndyCar, knowing already that he wouldn’t be back with the Haas Formula 1 team in 2021 after they decided to replace him and teammate Kevin Magnussen with rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

He made the decision to move forward with his IndyCar plans, but with the caveat that he would not compete in the four oval races on the schedule — at least for now.

While he is sold on not running the three superspeedway races, including the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway, he hasn’t ruled out competing at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

Here is what Grosjean had to say about his plans with Dale Coyne Racing shifting from a full IndyCar season in 2021 to a deal not including the superspeedway races.

"“I got in contact with Dale Coyne before the Bahrain incident — I think the week before Imola, or a couple of weeks before Imola — and we got on very nicely. He made us an offer and I was going to do the full championships but then obviously Bahrain happened and for a moment I thought I was dead in Bahrain. …“I think if I was 25 and single or even with no kids, I would be racing ovals definitely. No, it’s also a family choice. I think on the 29th of November, 2020, for 2 minutes 45 seconds thought they had lost a dad and my wife unfortunately lost her husband. The idea of putting them back into that situation, really I can’t take it.“The speedways at the minute, no. But I am not saying 100% no to Gateway. Let’s see how the season goes. If we can do some testing on short track and see how it goes. It’s not 100% yes and 100% no, but for now I just need to look after my family in the speedways.”"

Here is what team owner Dale Coyne had to add.

"“We wanted Romain from the beginning. Like he said, before Bahrain we were talking quite seriously. He was always our target. We’re happy that it all worked out together that we could make this happen. Obviously we respect that he’s only going to do the road courses. But we’re happy with the whole program and looking forward very much to the year.”"

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Grosjean is set to make his IndyCar debut in the 2021 season opener at Barber Motorsports Park, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by AmFirst, on Sunday, April 18.