Why Romain Grosjean Is Turning Lawyers Loose Against Andretti Over IndyCar Deal

Jackson Wheeler
6 Min Read


  • Romain Grosjean is taking legal action against the Andretti camp if a third year—typically an option year in many IndyCar contracts—means he should get some type of compensation from Andretti Global’s IndyCar operation.
  • Some media reports indicate that Grosjean and Andretti had agreed upon an initial contract extension around mid-season, but that Andretti never signed on.

For the second time in 15 months, an IndyCar driver has chosen to pursue legal action against his team—or in this case, now former team.

Romain Grosjean has retained the Indianapolis-based law firm of Barnes & Thornburg LLP to represent him in what he is calling “arbitration” with Andretti Autosport (now known as Andretti Global).

The Swiss-born Frenchman follows in the legal footsteps, so to speak, of Spanish driver Alex Palou, who announced in July 2022 that he would be leaving Chip Ganassi Racing after that season to race either in Formula One or IndyCar with McLaren Racing.

That, even though team owner Chip Ganassi held an option year at his discretion to keep Palou for 2023 and said he was exercising that option with the Spaniard. Palou eventually settled his legal case with CGR and returned to the team for this past season, ultimately winning his second championship in three seasons.

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Romain Grosjean celebrates his runner-up finish at Barber Motorsports Park.

Icon Sportswire//Getty Images

And based upon what Ganassi said several times at the end of the recently-completed season, it appears Ganassi and Palou have agreed to a new contract for Palou to remain with the team, even though no official word has been forthcoming yet from CGR.

Meanwhile, speaking of Ganassi, now-former CGR driver and 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson has signed a multi-year contract with Andretti Global that will in effect have him replace Grosjean in the No. 28 Honda (although Andretti has not officially said if Grosjean will be in the No. 28 or the No. 29 Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport entry previously driven by Devlin DeFrancesco, who will likely not be returning to the team for 2024).

It’s unclear whether the now 37-year-old Grosjean is taking legal action against the Andretti camp if a third year—typically an option year in many IndyCar contracts—means he should get some type of compensation from Andretti. Some media reports indicate that Grosjean and Andretti had agreed upon an initial contract extension around mid-season, but that Andretti never signed on.

And as Grosjean struggled in several early and mid-season races, including crashing in the Indianapolis 500, it became clearer that Andretti was not going to put his John Hancock on a new contract, according to reports.

Here’s the official statement from Grosjean, which was released on X (formerly Twitter):

“Limited Statement of Romain Grosjean Regarding Arbitration”

“I enjoyed working with the IndyCar team at Andretti Autosport, and am proud of the success we shared through two seasons. I am thankful for the many friendships developed at the highest level of American open-wheel racing.

“I had expected to continue racing with the fine people of Andretti Autosport in the coming years. I am disappointed that is not being fulfilled, and wish Andretti team members well. I am pursuing other options to continue my IndyCar career in pursuit of excellence.

“I have commenced an arbitration proceeding in Indiana against Andretti Autosport, seeking to protect my rights. I am represented by John Moley and Mark Owens of Barnes & Thornburg, LLP.

“(signed) Respectfully, Romain Grosjean.”

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Andretti Global issued a brief statement after Grosjean’s social media release, saying, “Per established team policy, we have no comment on ongoing legal matters.”

Speculation has Grosjean, who made 179 starts in his Formula One career (no wins or poles, 10 podiums) before moving to IndyCar, possibly returning in 2024 to his initial team in IndyCar, namely, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing, for who he competed with in 2021, earning three podiums – including two runner-up finishes – in 13 starts in the 16-race season.

Grosjean finished 13th in 2023 for Andretti—the same position he ranked in 2022—earning two podiums and an IndyCar career-high two pole positions.

With David Malukas having moved on from Coyne to Arrow McLaren for next season and Sting Ray Robb likely out of a ride for 2024 after a terrible rookie season in 2023, it makes sense for Grosjean to return to the Coyne camp.

Meanwhile, Andretti Global may see a significant shift in its lineup for next season, with the strong possibility that it may downsize from four teams to just three. DeFrancesco is likely gone, leaving Colton Herta, Kyle Kirkwood and Ericsson as the likely 2024 lineup (with Marco Andretti expected to return once again to race for the team in the Indy 500).

Follow Autoweek contributor Jerry Bonkowski on X (formerly Twitter) at @JerryBonkowski



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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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