Andretti: Grosjean has got a lot of people’s attention

Mario Andretti talks about Romain Grosjean in IndyCar

Former Formula 1 champion Mario Andretti praised IndyCar rookie Romain Grosjean after his first full season in the series, saying that he’s got a lot of people’s attention.

In 2020, Grosjean finally called time on a career that spanned 10 years in top flight (9 full seasons and partial 2009 season), and made the move into IndyCar with Dale Coyne Racing. And it seems that the Frenchman has done enough in his debut season in IndyCar to convince Michael Andretti to sign him on a two-year deal from 2022 onwards at Andretti Autosport.

Michael Andretti’s father, and 1978 F1 champion Mario, gave his opinion on Grosjean’s IndyCar debut, and thinks the the ex-F1 racer has a bright future there.

Andretti was speaking to RacingNews365.com, and explained why he believes Grosjean did well on his rookie season in IndyCar.

“IndyCar has been more of a spec series, it is a spec series, [and] it gives the individual a different feel coming from Formula 1,” he said. “In F1, unless you’re with one of the top three teams, you don’t have a chance in hell to be able to bring really good results.”

Andretti went on to say: “But you can see that Romain embraced it, because he feels that he has the same car as all the regulars who have been scoring. He feels competitive immediately and that gives you a big confidence boost.”

It goes without saying that Grosjean’s F1 career was a case of ‘what could have been’, joining the top flight halfway through the 2009 season with Renault F1 (replacing Nelson Piquet Jr.), but let go by the end of the year for lack of performance.

He later re-joined F1 in 2012 with Lotus F1 for 4 years, where he showed some flashes of that promised pace that put him on the F1 radar in the first place, but never consistently. Then there were those high profile crashes he had, which lead to a 0ne-race-ban for the 2015 Italian Grand Prix after his infamous first lap pileup at Spa that year.

He spent the years between 2016 till 2020 at Haas F1, having started with promise on his first year with the American outfit, but later went into a continuous decline, until he ended his F1 career with a fiery crash in Bahrain 2020, one which the Frenchman was lucky to walk away from.

Andretti senior, however, feels that despite his lackluster F1 career, Grosjean has what it takes to succeed in IndyCar.

“I’m not surprised at how well he went, because if you look back at Romain’s career, he’s a force to be reckoned with, no questions,” he admitted.

“Honestly, anywhere in the field you can have a chance of winning, in IndyCar.”

Andretti then said :”He’s got a lot of people’s attention, no question.

“He’ll be a player. I think he’s going to enjoy this chapter of his career,” he concluded.

On his first IndyCar season, Grosjean finished 15th overall in the drivers’ standings, scoring one pole position, six top ten finishes, and four top five finishes that included a career-best second in both races this season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.