Romain Grosjean has signed up to compete in the 2021 IndyCar season with Dale Coyne Racing, as the former Haas F1 driver gets ready to make his return following his Bahrain GP accident at the end of last year.
Grosjean had spoken of his interest in entering the US-based series after it was confirmed that himself and team-mate Kevin Magnussen would be leaving Haas after the 2020 campaign, but a horrific Sakhir crash in November prematurely ended his F1 career and raised questions about his motorsport future.
The Frenchman, whose Haas car pierced the track-side barriers, broke in half and burst into flames, miraculously escaped but was left with burns to both hands.
But he will return to racing this season, agreeing a deal with Coyne which will see him contest all 13 road and street courses, skipping the oval rounds such as the Indianapolis 500.
The IndyCar opener at Barber Motorsports Park on April 18, while Grosjean is set to complete his first test for the team on February 22.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity,” said Grosjean, 34. “I had different options in front of me for this coming season and choosing to go IndyCar Racing was definitively my favourite one. Although, I’m not ready yet to take on the ovals!
Formula 1 Veteran Romain Grosjean Joins Dale Coyne Racing with RWR for 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Season https://t.co/CKvTR9LThG
— Dale Coyne Racing (@DaleCoyneRacing)
“IndyCar has a much more level playing field than what I have been used to in my career so far. It will be exciting to challenge for podiums and wins again.”
Grosjean missed what would have been his final two F1 races following the Bahrain crash, but added: “My left hand is still healing, but we are just about ready to get back into the race car and to start this next chapter of my career.”
He is the first full-time F1 driver to make the switch since Marcus Ericsson in 2019.
“We’ve been talking to Romain for some time now, even before his accident at Bahrain,” said team owner Dale Coyne.
“He has shown interest in the IndyCar series for the past several months and we’re very happy that he has chosen to pursue his career with us and excited to welcome a driver with his pedigree to America, the series and our team.
“We feel that he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
Grosjean made 179 race starts in F1 over 11 years, scoring 10 podiums, although never earned a move to a top team before he and Magnussen were axed in favour of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin by Haas for 2021.