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Romain Grosjean Scores IndyCar Podium: ‘I’ve Still Got It’

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Romain Grosjean leads IndyCar at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis
Photo: Honda

Romain Grosjean retired from Formula 1 last year after a dramatic crash in Bahrain nearly ended his life — then hopped right into IndyCar. At just his third race in the 2021 series, the rookie Frenchman claimed his first pole position and went on to finish second after leading 44 laps, which he says has done wonders to boost lost confidence.

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Though he spent 10 seasons in F1, the last time Grosjean had claimed pole position at any circuit was during his Formula 2 days. When he retired, he had 10 podiums to his name and no wins, and during the two years before his retirement, he added only 10 championship points to his name. This was largely due to the underperforming car he was driving, but Grosjean explained how that could get inside a driver’s head.

“In Formula 1, when you don’t have a good car, it beats you up a bit and yes, you lose a bit of self-confidence. You don’t know if it’s you or the car, and sometimes you ask yourself,” he said. “I came here as a challenge in IndyCar and also, every decision means it’s a risk. But I came in and I say, ‘Look, I want to see what I’m capable of doing. I think I’ve still got it. I can do good.’”

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Grosjean competes for the Honda-powered Dale Coyne Racing team in IndyCar, finishing 10th on his debut and 13th at his second race. He then skipped the two oval races in Texas. After his crash in F1, for which he still bears burn marks on his hand, Grosjean says he is not comfortable doing oval races where drivers can approach 230 miles per hour in qualifying.

Nonetheless, he says driving in IndyCar and competing like he couldn’t in F1 is “like being alive again.” He added: “Formula 1 has been an incredible part of my life and I don’t regret any of it, but obviously at the end decided to stop because I wanted to fight for wins … After being 10 years in Formula 1, it was easy for people to say, ‘Oh, this is a bad driver’. But I’m here, I’m enjoying my time and doing the best I can. This weekend, we’ve shown the team know what to do with a good car and I know how to drive it.”