Romain Grosjean says he had planned to do a full IndyCar season before his Bahrain Formula 1 crash forced him to reconsider, but he will not rule out giving ovals a go in the future.
Grosjean has joined the Dale Coyne Racing outfit to compete in the 11 road and street courses this season, but after his crash he decided he would not race on the “superspeedways”, at Texas and the Indianapolis 500, despite that initially being the plan.
“I got in contact with Dale Coyne before the Bahrain incident, I think the week before Imola,” Grosjean explained in a press conference streamed on Twitch. “We got on very nicely. He made us an offer, and I was going to do the full championship.
“But then, obviously, Bahrain happened and for a moment I thought I was dead in Bahrain, and being a father of three kids, I need to be sensible in my decisions, in my choices in the future.
“At the minute I don’t feel comfortable [doing ovals]. Not especially for me, but more for my kids and my wife to risk ovals, at least the speedways.”
He added in a later conference: “If I was 25 and single, or even with no kids, I’d be racing ovals!”
The third oval venue on the calendar in the 2021 season is Gateway (pictured above), a short track, and Grosjean described that as one of the “options I could look at” in the future.
The 34-year-old also revealed that he almost cancelled his switch to IndyCar entirely following his Bahrain accident after a message from his manager.
“The first text message I got, from my friend and manager Martin [Reiss], after the accident was, ‘let’s forget IndyCar’,” Grosjean added.
“And obviously after such a shock and such a terrible day you can understand. But then, I said ‘I think it’s still possible, I still want to to do it’.”
For now Grosjean says the larger ovals are “not on the list”, but repeatedly refused to rule out giving them a go in the future.
He outlined the first step would be – predictably – to drive on an oval to get a feel for it before committing.
“I think first maybe I’ll do a test at one point, and see how I feel’,” he said. “But as I say, right now, it’s no.
“I think the Indy 500 pre-test is very early in the season. I believe it’s March 1, so for that you need to do the test, and I won’t do that one. So definitely the Indy 500, I won’t be racing.
“There is an option that I may go and watch it because it’s one of the big races in the world.”
In announcing Grosjean, Dale Coyne’s press release said that his entry was for “all the road and street courses in 2021, with the oval races yet to be determined”.