Romain Grosjean has committed to a multi-year deal with Andretti Autosport that will see the 35-year-old remain in the NTT IndyCar Series for the foreseeable future.
As RACER has reported since July, Grosjean’s been the most coveted free agent in the series. Despite proclamations and posturing elsewhere that suggested he was not destined for the team owned by 1991 CART IndyCar Series champion Michael Andretti, the securing of Grosjean’s services has been in the works for quite some time.
“I’m delighted to be joining Andretti Autosport and driving the No. 28 DHL Honda for next season,” said Grosjean. “It’s a big honor to be joining such a great team as Andretti – anyone in the motorsport world knows the name Andretti. I’m super happy and proud to be racing with the team. I’m also very proud to be representing with DHL. I’ve known the DHL colors on racing cars for a very long time. I couldn’t be more proud to represent such a great company in IndyCar. I’m hoping that we are going to be very successful together, which is our aim on every side.
“I would like also to thank Dale Coyne Racing for giving me the opportunity to join IndyCar. I’ve enjoyed the racing so much and it’s given me the chance today to be racing with one of the most competitive and best teams in the world.”
Grosjean will step into the entry currently driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay, joining Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi as a powerful new trio tasked with earning the team’s first championship since Hunter-Reay was crowned in 2012. The outgoing Hunter-Reay is exploring multiple options to remain in IndyCar.
Although he was not part of the Grosjean confirmation, Canada’s Devlin DeFrancesco – a member of Andretti’s Indy Lights team – is set to complete their IndyCar effort next season in a multi-year deal of his own to campaign the entry currently piloted by Hinchcliffe.
Like Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe is not a part of Andretti’s IndyCar plans beyond this weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Grosjean departs Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing, which gave the Swiss-born Frenchman a new chapter to explore in America after spending the entirety of his career in European open-wheel competition. With 10 years of Formula 1 experience to build upon, Grosjean was instantly effective with the modestly-sized Coyne team, producing three podiums and a pole position so far in 2021.
Through its youngest drivers, the Andretti team has earned third-place finishes in the championship in 2019 (Rossi) and 2020 (Herta), and generated five wins, but as a whole, the four-car operation has been a step behind IndyCar champions and rivals Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing, who’ve taken the last eight titles in a row.
Although three Indianapolis 500 wins since 2014 have tempered the ongoing championship losses to Penske and CGR, Grosjean’s acquisition comes at a time when Andretti Autosport – long hailed as one of IndyCar’s “Big 3” teams – is under threat from Arrow McLaren SP to maintain its place within the leading trio. Through the infusion of Grosjean’s technical, procedural, and operational knowledge gained in F1, the potential exists for Andretti Autosport to incorporate the veteran’s on- and off-track skill and return next season in a stronger competitive position.
Separate from the agreement with the Honda-powered Andretti team, Grosjean is tipped to join the manufacturer’s stable for January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona with the defending race winners at Wayne Taylor Racing the No. 10 Acura ARX-05 DPi.