NTT IndyCar Series team owner Dale Coyne still has a little work to do to finish out his lineup card for the 2021 season.
And former Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean is, indeed, on what is a not-so-short list at Dale Coyne Racing for the team’s remaining open seat.
On Wednesday, Coyne introduced, or more like re-introduced, Ed Jones as driver of the one seat that is taken—the No. 18 Team SealMaster Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan Honda—for the 2021 IndyCar season. Jones is back in familiar surroundings, having driven for Coyne in 2017.
Jones, who turns 26 in Feb. 12, raced for Chip Ganassi in 2018 and Ed Carpenter in 2019. Jones didn’t have a ride in the IndyCar series last year and ended up sitting out the season when the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out a potential ride in the DTM sports car series in Germany.
“First of all, it’s great to be back,” Jones said on Wednesday. “2020 was different for everyone. Unfortunately the ride that I had fell through with COVID there. So it was a different year for me a year where I didn’t do very much driving. One side of that was a negative, on the other it was a good time to reflect on things, get recharged. I actually did a lot of sim racing.
“I’ve been back not in the Indy car but in some other cars the last few weeks. Feel as good as ever. It’s really been fantastic to join up with Dale again, with Vasser Sullivan this time. As Dale said, we have unfinished business. Had a really strong rookie year. Just really looking forward to hitting the floor running, getting back to the standard that we were at.”
With Jones, who has 14 top-10 finishes in 47 career IndyCar starts, Coyne has an experienced IndyCar driver.
As for the other seat, Coyne said that Grosjean is one of the drivers he’s talked to. Coyne hopes to make an announcement next week.
“You all could make a list of a hundred drivers, we’ve talked to probably every one of them this winter,” Coyne said. “Employed, unemployed, America, Europe, every country. It’s been kind of amazing.
“Obviously Romain is a good driver. We’d love to have him. We’re working on a few other ones as well. Hopefully we get all that buttoned up and make an announcement next week and then get out to testing in February.”
Grosjean, 34, has raced in Formula 1 since 2009 and for the last five years with American-owned Haas F1 Team. Grosjean was not offered a Formula 1 ride for 2021, and his F1 career ended in a fiery crash in Bahrain in November. The driver suffered burns on both hands but is recovering and has shown interest in IndyCar.
Grosejean has also said, however, that he’s not interested in driving on the American high-speed ovals, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in 2021.
It will be interesting to see if Dale Coyne does take on Romain Grosjean for at least the road and street courses in 2021. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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