until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Multi-incident Grosjean vs Ferrucci spat explained

by Jack Benyon
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Romain Grosjean fired expletives at Santino Ferrucci for a second instalment of on-track wheel-banging in one day as tensions flared in the Indianapolis road course IndyCar race.

Ferrucci and Grosjean came together side-to-side on the run to Turn 12 during the pre-race warm-up/final practice, which led to Ferrucci raising his middle finger out of his cockpit at Grosjean.

“He drove into me at Barber [the previous IndyCar race] in the warm-up for no reason, and I’m just simply returning the favour, my friend,” AJ Foyt Racing driver Ferrucci told NBC. He later added the feud didn’t go further back than Barber.

“It’s not Formula 1 anymore. These cars…you can hit people with these cars and be fine.

“You want to turn into me when I have the inside? I’m not lifting. I’m sorry. So I had the corner and that’s on him. If he doesn’t like it, then come over here and talk to me about it.”

Coincidentally, given his mention of F1, Ferrucci was a Haas junior while Grosjean was racing for the team, until 2018 when Ferrucci was eventually released after a race ban levied by the FIA after he twice hit team-mate Arjun Maini in a Formula 2 event at Silverstone.

On the warm-up incident, Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Grosjean said “I don’t know why Santino was in such a rush to do his pitstop practice this morning”, adding: “So what happened this morning, I don’t really care; what happens [later], us moving forwards [in the race], that’s what really matters.”

Ferrucci added that he and one of his crew members had visited Grosjean to “set the tone”.

“For me, it’s bygones be bygones,” said Ferrucci. “He [Grosjean] knows, if he wants to race me that hard, mess with the bull, you get the horns.”

"The horns" is exactly what Grosjean got in the race when he tried to hold the outside line at Turn 12 and Ferrucci left him very little room, forcing him onto the grass.

“What the [expletive], what the [expletive],” was the Grosjean radio message on the broadcast. “What can I do, guys?”

In Ferrucci’s defence, IndyCar hasn’t really penalised similar instances of contact at this corner, perhaps mainly because the car on the inside of Turn 12 is naturally going to fade to the outside of the corner on the exit because it’s tight.

Drivers have been pushed onto the grass there before and often bail out before going side-by-side through the corner.

So while in isolation the move may look unfair on Grosjean, IndyCar has let similar driving like this slide before.

After the race, Ferrucci seemed to suggest things were back to normal, saying: “He’s on the outside, honestly anyone would be in the same position here.

“He passed me clean earlier so it’s totally fine, later in the race he passed me into Turn 7 and I gave him space. So back to normal racing.

"That would be for anybody, whether I’m on the outside, inside, that’s just how we race.”

Ferrucci - who had started the season with two top 10s in three races - had been fighting a brake bias issue from the start of the race, which got progressively worse, allowing Grosjean and others to pass him before his eventual retirement due an unspecified mechanical issue spotted by the team on the data.

Despite the Ferrucci encounter, Grosjean ultimately pulled off a spectacular drive to 12th from 23rd on the grid. He ran really long stints, overcutting many of his rivals, and passed Pato O’Ward in the closing stages.

He might have even finished higher because of his strategy of going long had he delayed his final pitstop three more laps - which would've put him in position to capitalise on a caution.

In JHR’s post-race press release, Grosjean’s quote didn’t mention Ferrucci by name, the Frenchman merely stating he “was making good progress until I met another driver that forced me off the track”.

"Lost quite a bit there. From that point, it was a bit difficult to recover.”

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