IndyCar: The monkey on Romain Grosjean’s back is impossible to ignore

Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport, IndyCar (Photo Credit: Desert Sun)
Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport, IndyCar (Photo Credit: Desert Sun) /

The 2023 IndyCar season is quickly becoming Romain Grosjean’s best in the series. But that elusive race win will start being brought up every weekend. 

Romain Grosjean spent nine seasons in Formula 1, where he stood on the podium 10 times. Nine of those podium finishes came in his first two years in the series. The 37-year-old Frenchman hasn’t won an open-wheel race since 2011 during his days in GP2 (now Formula 2).

Grosjean made his IndyCar debut with Dayle Coyne Racing and Rick Ware Racing in 2021. He only ran in 13 races that year but was able to finish in the top 10 six times, including in his debut. Three of those top 10 finishes were podium finishes. All in all, it was a very successful first year in the series.

The 2022 season brought on a new challenge and increased expectations, as Grosjean joined Andretti Autosport. He was able to finish in the top 10 seven times, but with only one podium finish. Overall, his performance didn’t match those increased expectations, especially after such a strong rookie season.

Beyond the results, Grosjean had his fair share of run-ins with other drivers on track. Graham Rahal made his aggravation with Grosjean very clear after Grosjean made an aggressive move past him at Barber Motorsports Park.

Beyond the competition from outside the team, Grosjean also had teammate issues. Incidents with both Colton Herta and Alexandar Rossi at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course made for an ugly weekend. Frustration within the team was at an all-time high and required team owner Michael Andretti to set things straight during a team meeting.

The sophomore slump was very real for Grosjean.

The 2023 IndyCar season is still young, but it has been a different story, and it is clear that Romain Grosjean is getting comfortable in the No. 28 DHL Honda.

He has been one of the most consistently quick drivers in the early going. Two of the four pole positions have gone to Grosjean, and he also qualified on the front row in Long Beach.

He has led the most laps at the three non-oval races this year and made it look easy in St. Petersburg and for the majority of this past weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.

His worst qualifying performance came at Texas Motor Speedway, where he started in 11th place. He was able to lead laps and put himself in position for a top five finish before hitting the wall with two laps left.

On Sunday, Grosjean added a fifth career runner-up finish and second in a row. He has somehow found a way to stay positive when asked about coming up just short yet again. One or two more second place finishes could lead to some impatience that will surely come through in the driving.

Despite two DNFs, he currently sits fifth place in the championship standings. Fast, smart races like his last two should have him in victory lane sooner rather than later.

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Romain Grosjean is set to get another shot at victory on Saturday, May 13 at the same track where his first two second place finishes came: the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The GMR Grand Prix is set to be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET. Start a free trial of FuboTV and don’t miss it!