INDIANAPOLIS — Romain Grosjean feels alive again. His words not mine. When he was asked to describe winning his first career NTT IndyCar Series pole on Friday from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Grosjean said those impactful words, “it’s like being alive again.”
He’s lucky is he right now. He survived a horrific crash in Bahrain last year in the third to last race on the Formula One schedule. His car spilt in half as it went literally through the wall and abruptly caught on fire. Somehow, Grosjean walked away.
That would be his last F1 start. Would it be his last race ever?
He wouldn’t allow it. He knew 2020 would be his last season in F1 anyways, but Grosjean already was looking to America and to revive his career in INDYCAR. That crash would stop him from wanting to run the ovals, but the 13 road/street courses?
Grosjean signed with Dale Coyne Racing in a joint effort with Rick Ware Racing. He knew how hard this new endeavor would be. INDYCAR is bar none the most competitive series in the world. This isn’t F1 where a moral victory is far more likely for most of the drivers than an actual win itself.
Put Grosjean in a Mercedes car, he’d do just as good as the second driver. Lewis Hamilton is the arguably the best driver in the world, but these guys here in INDYCAR rival the rest of those in F1. Grosjean just never got a fair shot to show what he could do.
He came to America to showcase his talents. Just three races in, he’s now a pole winner. This was his first pole in over a decade — hence the comment about feeling alive again. He did so with a team that had just two career poles, the last coming in 2018 at Phoenix and the other in 2013 at Belle Isle.
That’s how remarkable this pole was on Friday.
“A lot of people are asking how I felt watching the first race, the Formula 1 race of the season, and I wasn’t there. I said, Guys, the chapter is closed for me. I’ve had a good time, now I want something else. That’s what I came looking for,” he said.
“I love the atmosphere between the drivers, I love the tracks. The cars are fun to drive. We can go for some good stuff. I’m really happy. Family-wise a bit of a tough year because I’m away from them quite a bit. We knew what was going to happen this year before deciding for the future. I’m happier, I’ve said it for a few times, I’m happier than I’ve been for a very long time.”
Grosjean said that he feels super good going into Saturday and that for his maiden pole to come here is just icing on the cake.
“I’ve been on some of the most famous tracks around the world. When I came to Indianapolis for the first time, I realized the atmosphere around, the grandstands, everything that’s happening here, the history of the place,” he continued.
“Going onto the weekend, we obviously did a lot of work to be good and also just learning about it. Our first segment of qualifying wasn’t so good. Second one felt much better. Going into the Fast Six I never ran scrub red tires, so I didn’t know what to expect from the car. It behaved really well.
“The first lap I had a mistake. It was a fast lap, but I had a mistake. I knew I had more pace in the second lap. It went really, really good. I thought that could be it. That was it.”
Can Grosjean get a win on Saturday? The potential is there. That’s all he could ever ask for.
As far as how long he’d like to stay in INDYCAR? He says that he’s looking at homes to purchase. That speaks volumes.