Grosjean relishes comparisons with new teammate Herta

Grosjean relishes comparisons with new teammate Herta

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The former Formula 1 ace scored a pole position, two runner-up finishes and a third place in his rookie IndyCar season driving for Dale Coyne Racing, and has now replaced Ryan Hunter-Reay in the #28 DHL-backed car. He joins team incumbents Herta and Alexander Rossi and rookie Devlin DeFrancesco.

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Although Herta is the only driver to win IndyCar races for Michael Andretti in the last two seasons, and has built a reputation as one of the fastest drivers in the series, 35-year-old Grosjean is undaunted by the impending comparisons, saying “I see it as a positive.

“I think Colton is a great guy. He’s done really well last year. He was very impressive in many places. I’m actually looking forward to discovering what he does and what I can learn from his driving style.

“He’s been doing IndyCar for a few years now, so he’s got some good experience, so I’m definitely going to try to use some of that. I believe he’s also going to look at my data and try to see what experience I can bring the team.”

Grosjean, who is targeting seven podium finishes in his sophomore IndyCar year, says he was surprised at how open Herta was when he first met him one year ago, given that they were on rival teams.

“I said, ‘Why don’t you weave under the safety car like we do everywhere else,’ and he was very honest in his answer. He said, ‘We think that doesn’t work, there’s too much marbles on track. Just use the brake and the throttle together to warm up the tires.’

“First restart of the year I gained three positions, so I was like, ‘Thanks Colton, that worked!’ But I asked him, ‘Why do you tell me that?’ He said, ‘Because we want the best one to win and we don’t care about keeping secrets from each other.’

“As I say, that’s the positive attitude that I really like, and I’m going to be the same. And if he’s faster than me, if he’s better than me, absolutely awesome. If I’m better than him, great. Some days will be one way, some days will be the other way.

“I think there’s also Alex Rossi who’s been competing at the front in IndyCar for a few years. He was not far from the title [in 2018 and ’19], so definitely Alex will be fast as well. Really looking forward to working with them. Devlin is a rookie, so I think he’s got three good teammates to learn as fast as he can.”

Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport

Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport

Photo by: Joe Skibinski

Grosjean, who has now settled in the U.S. with his family, described the move to Andretti Autosport as “an incredible opportunity”.

“Last year I came to IndyCar not knowing if I was going to like the championship, if I was going to like the car, the tracks, the American life, and this year it’s a bit different because I come here, my whole family have moved. We all moved to Florida and we’re settling in nicely in a new house.

“Everyone is happy. I come with one of the best team probably of the world, and on paper I’ve got all the ingredients that we need to be able to fight at the front… Fighting at the front, fighting for pole position, fighting for podiums, fighting for wins – that’s all that really matters to me.

“I think I’m in a time of my career where I do it for myself, and for myself what I want to do is win races. That’s what I like doing, and that’s definitely what I’m going to try to do.”

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