Welcome to IndyCar’s Big 3, Romain Grosjean.
Months after revealing the Frenchman was the hottest free agent in the paddock and the top driver on Michael Andretti’s acquisition list, RACER has learned Grosjean finally came to terms with Andretti Autosport. It’s believed the full-time deal was signed while both parties were at the most recent race at World Wide Technology Raceway, where Grosjean starred on his oval debut for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing. The 34-year-old will step into the No. 28 Honda currently piloted by Ryan Hunter-Reay after the season concludes in September.
It’s been a whirlwind year for the ex-Formula 1 driver. After surviving a life-threatening crash with the tail-end Haas F1 program in November, Grosjean called time on his grand prix career and transitioned to the NTT IndyCar Series by signing with another modest outfit in the DCRwRWR team from Illinois. While there, Grosjean has out-performed all expectations as an IndyCar rookie, and as a result, finds himself on the move to one of the biggest programs in the series with Andretti’s championship- and Indy 500-winning effort in Indianapolis.
Grosjean will have 21-year-old phenom and current team points leader Colton Herta, and 29-year-old Indy winner Alexander Rossi waiting to receive him as the new veteran core of Andretti’s reimagined team.
Although unconfirmed, promising Indy Lights talent Devlin DeFrancesco has been consistently positioned as the driver to take over the No. 29 Honda currently driven by series veteran James Hinchcliffe. Like Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe is not expected to remain with Andretti Autosport beyond 2021. Hunter-Reay confirmed two weeks ago that his future lays elsewhere.
Asked to confirm Grosjean’s signing, an Andretti spokesperson told RACER, “We have ongoing conversations to finalize our next driver lineup.”