Romain Grosjean has largely healed from the burns that seared the events of Nov. 29, 2020 into his flesh. Tightness is felt when he clenches his left hand, the remnants of scars and a skin graft. They’re permanent reminders of the day he became “The Phoenix.”
As the three-year anniversary of his life-altering crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix approaches, Grosjean has powered through the physical damage and reconciled the emotional trauma from the fire that nearly brought his end.
Now 37, he has reimagined himself as an IndyCar driver after more than a decade spent with teams of varying competence in Formula One. Having traded Europe for southern Florida, where he lives with his wife and young family, Grosjean’s whirlwind career shows no signs of stopping as the Swiss-born Frenchman has stacked three IndyCar seasons together and become firmly entrenched in North American racing following a 12-year run in F1.
He has also reached a crucial point in his second open-wheel act. The 2024 season will either cement his place in the IndyCar paddock or usher him toward a third act in sports cars.
Grosjean drove for three F1 teams from between 2009 and 2020, and he’s already matched that number in IndyCar as he moves to the midfield Juncos Hollinger Racing outfit. After starting with Dale Coyne Racing in 2021 and spending two tumultuous seasons with Andretti Global, Grosjean has experienced some unwelcome parallels from the latter stages of his grand prix days when strained relationships and infrequent success led to major changes of scenery.
Like his signing with Gene Haas’s startup F1 program in 2016, agreeing to lead JHR — which has done 52 IndyCar races to Grosjean’s 47 — has the look of a backward move, but Grosjean is unbothered by the optics.
“I came in 2021 and obviously that was a very special season for various reasons,” Grosjean told ESPN. “And then, you know, joining Andretti, trying to go for the championship … while we didn’t achieve that, we gave it a go. We didn’t get there, so now I’m trying something a bit different with Juncos.”
His time with Andretti will be remembered more for its toxicity and unfulfilled potential than the two pole positions and three podiums he earned with the team.
By the end of the 2023 season, Andretti and…