IndyCar News | Ex-Formula 1 star Romain Grosjean lambastes ‘absolute idiot’ team-mate in post-race tirade
Ex-Formula 1 star Romain Grosjean had some kind words for teammate Alexander Rossi after a pair of awkward clashes in the final round of the IndyCar Series.
Rossi and Grosjean were battling for laps 10 and 11 on lap 58 of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when they came to blows at The Keyhole.
Fitted with softer tyres, Grosjean sought to round the outside of his stable mate only for Rossi to hang the Frenchman up to dry on the exit of the corner.
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A lap later, the four-time Formula 1 podium finisher attempted the same move but made wheel-to-wheel contact.
This launched Grosjean into the weeds and nose first into the tire wall. Rossi, meanwhile, continued relentlessly.
“What’s his problem?” Grosjean shouted over the radio.
The safety car duly made its way onto the course to neutralize the race, leaving Grosjean to shake his head in disgust.
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Grosjean and Rossi face off in IndyCar
Rossi radioed his team that the incident was unintentional. Grosjean, however, didn’t see it that way and remained furious for the rest of the race and for some time after.
After dropping a lap to the leaders, the n°28 made little effort to help its stable mate.
“What do you want me to do, just block everyone behind and not move forward?” Grosjean asked his team.
“[We] I want you to protect your two teammates up front,” his team manager replied.
“Because Rossi put me in the wall, so I’m not going to protect him,” replied the driver.
After the race, the four-time IndyCar Series podium winner continued his tirade.
“He’s an absolute idiot, sorry,” an enraged Grosjean said.
“I don’t know why he’s doing this. He’s on blacks [hard compound]I’m on the reds [soft compound]I’m on the outside, carrying more speed around the corner.
“He did it once on the restart and I thought, ‘Okay, maybe he slipped because he was on cold tyres’ [but] did it again the next round and did it on purpose.
“My hand hurts. We lost the bloody race.”
The race was a race to forget for Andretti Autosport overall.
Favorite Colton Herta retired from the race when he failed to pit before a full course warning left him high and dry and unable to stop for fuel and tires under yellow.
Herta’s day only got worse when Grosjean fed him into the grass late in the race with a kick from behind.
Meanwhile, Rossi and his rookie stablemate Devlin DeFrancesco banged the wheels to add salt to the team’s injuries.
In the end, Grosjean finished 21st with Rossi just ahead of him in 19th. DeFrancesco finished 17th while Herta recovered in 15th.
Grosjean admitted he was responsible for the clash against Herta but couldn’t let go of the Rossi incident.
“One thing I want to say, I have to apologize [for] Colton,” he added.
“I got caught because I was catching up with the pack on very hot tires and had a lot more grip than everyone else. I just braked and didn’t know Colton would brake so soon, so I tried to avoid contact.
“It wasn’t good from my side. I think it’s not the most important thing today, it’s just that Rossi is an absolute idiot there.”
McLaughlin celebrates with a shoey
Rossi, however, played down the fracas.
“Yeah, it was just a racing incident,” the American explained.
“He was on the softer tire and was probably going to get around me. He likes to do it fast and early.
“I had understeer there and obviously it’s unfortunate to get to a teammate, but that’s the way it is.”
Rossi, who is expected to leave Andretti Autosport at the end of the year for McLaren SP, denied suggestions the impending exit played a role.
“No, of course not, we are teammates,” he said.
“We drive for Andretti Autosport to get the best possible result.”
The incident angered team manager Michael Andretti, who brought the two heads together after the race.
“Michael just spoke to us, which obviously wasn’t nice, but it’s good that he did,” Grosjean said.
“I understand that he is frustrated and not happy with us.”
Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin won the 80-lap affair, moving him from ninth to seventh in the standings.
The IndyCar Series continues in Canada with the Honda Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place on July 18 (AEST).
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