More often than not, the grueling road from karting to Formula One goes unrewarded. Vastly disparate cars mean most drivers never get the chance to truly strut their stuff, never mind compete for the championship. Instead of aiming for F1, then, says multi-time podium finisher Romain Grosjean, kids aiming to race should instead look to F1’s more equitable cousin, IndyCar.
“I had an incredible career. Yes, the last few years were a bit tough and frustrating. I knew I knew how to drive but I couldn’t show anything,” Grosjean said after a hard-fought podium finish at Laguna Seca, as transcribed by Speedcafe. “Coming somewhere where you can fight at the front, [where] you have an engineer telling you, ‘you are the fastest car on track, you’re P1,’ fighting for podiums, it’s definitely a revival.”
“I understand a lot of kids want to make it to Formula One. If it’s to be at the back of the grid every weekend, I think you’re better here, [sic]” the Frenchman continued. “It’s the freedom of driving the car the way you like to drive it. You don’t need to look after charging mode, push mode, tyre temperature, tyre window, so on and so on and so on.”
“You just go in the car, leave the pit lane, then you push every single lap,” Grosjean concluded. “The ability to enjoy every single lap that we do, enjoy the fact that you can be competitive in any team, makes it that with the atmosphere in the paddock, obviously with the support of the fans, been just the whole package that I’ve enjoyed a lot.”
Grosjean hasn’t been the only driver recently displaced from F1 to find his mojo in IndyCar. Longtime F1 backmarker Marcus Ericsson made the leap in 2019, scoring a podium in his rookie season, and improving his form enough to earn two race wins in 2021, one of them slightly farcical. So far, anyway—there’s still one race left this year, and all of the IndyCar’s no fewer than half dozen F1 alumni will all be gunning for the top spot on the podium.
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