Romain Grosjean rules out future IndyCar move due to oval fears

Romain Grosjean has ruled out a future switch to the NTT IndyCar Series due to a fear of racing on ovals.

Grosjean is currently facing scrutiny over his future at the Haas Formula 1 team after another season of lacklustre results, not helped by the confusion over the development of the VF-19 chassis.

Oval circuits, especially superspeedways, have a high rate of crashes, many of which have proven fatal or resulted in serious injury. 

When asked if he would consider other categories away from F1, Grosjean said: “Formula E could be one, yes. It's a nice championship, and obviously very, very different from Formula 1, but quite competitive and with some good constructors coming in which is always exciting, and maybe one or two others.

He added: “Not IndyCar. I'm too scared of ovals.”

The Frenchman also ruled out running a non-oval programme, saying: “Yeah, but then you cannot be champion. That's already been happening a lot in Formula 1 because you don't have the right car, so if you go somewhere else, it's to try to be champion.”

Former F1 driver Max Chilton who currently drives for Carlin pulled out of oval races earlier in the season over fears of safety.

Chilton hinted he could return to ovals when IndyCar introduces the aeroscreen device for the 2020 season.

He said in June: “I would like to thank Gallagher for being supportive of my decision to not compete in the remaining oval races this season – I am extremely fortunate to have such a supportive partner.

“Risk Management is a central consideration of both Gallagher and myself in how we operate.

“I’m excited and pleased by the outstanding proactive work being done by IndyCar around driver safety and the innovation of the solution developed in partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies that has created a new aero screen.”

“The innovative solution will be the most advanced single-seater driver head protection in the world and will be introduced in 2020.

In the past decade, we have lost two drivers in Dan Wheldon who died in Las Vegas in 2011 and Justin Wilson in 2015 at Pocono Raceway after being hit in the head by a piece of debris from Sage Karam's crashed car.

We have also seen numerous high-profile incidents from the likes of series regulars Scott Dixon, Will Power, Helio Castroneves, and two very serious crashes from Sebastien Bourdais which left him out for six months in 2017.

IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens was left partially paralysed in 2018 after a severe crash at Pocono but continues to recover through rehabilitation.