Updated: Feb 28
Over the weekend, the Indycar race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course saw former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean claim the second step on the podium with a P2 finish. In attendance for the event was another former Formula 1 driver in Alex Albon.
Written by Andrew Lwanga, edited by Janvi Unni
Following a less than stellar 2020 season with the Red Bull team, the Thai driver was passed in favour of Sergio Perez, although Albon continues to retain the role of reserve and developmental driver within the Austrian outfit.
While a return to the premier class of open wheels racing remains paramount for Alex, his visit to various Indycar paddocks over the weekends would suggest that he’s taken a liking to the North American series and such sentiments were more or less confirmed by Dale Coyne Racing owner Dale Coyne, who has confirmed that Albon has been in conversation with the team over the past 12 months.
“He’s been on our radar for a while and we’ve been speaking with him for over a year now and he’s interested, for sure.
“Romain [Grosjean] is a great salesman for us, showing what we can do as a team, but he’s also the best salesman for IndyCar. Him and Alex talked together for quite a while.
“They talked about how nice it is in the series, how competitive you can be in these cars, what they’re like to drive – natural, instinctive, so you can get on it straight away, like we saw from [Christian] Lundgaard.
“Romain was telling him it was fun to be in IndyCar, a lot of less pressure, better relationships between teams, team owners, and between drivers.
“And I think Alex appreciates that the teams here aren’t set up to have one guy as number one and the other as the bridesmaid. That’s something Alex has been through, right?
“It’s different here. If your two guys have two different driving styles, you can generally change each car to suit its driver. Now, that might hurt a bit if they’re very different – their feedback isn’t going to help the other one so much. There’s more work. And one driving style and engineering philosophy may suit a track better than the other.
“But if having them on different setups helps get the best out of each driver individually, then you can do that in IndyCar.
“So anyway, I think if they’re used to the pressure of Formula 3, 2 and especially Formula 1, drivers find IndyCar a breath of fresh air. The hard work is what’s done on track, in the pitlane and in the engineering trailer. There’s not the politicking and pressure.”
Alex Albon has also not shied away from the prospect of driving in Indycar. With the rarity of seats in modern day F1, Albon, who currently races in DTM, did concede that he’d require a back up plan.
Speaking to the official Indycar website Albon said, “I want to see what’s out there. My main goal is to be in F1, but there’s never a 100 percent certainty on that, so you have to have plan B and C to see what else is out there. I’ve always had that interest within INDYCAR.”
Albon also revealed that he’d been observing Grosjean who transitioned to Indycar from F1 this year following an overhaul of the Haas F1 team line up.
“I just wanted to see what he [Grosjean] thinks about it. Is he happy? Of course, he’s happy. He’s always got a smile on his face. How was that transition for him, and how did he feel in INDYCAR straight away? He looks very comfortable here.”
Albon went on to say that should the perfect storm brew a move to Indycar would be all the more likely.
“Let’s just say, obviously, if the right opportunity is there, or let’s say the lack of opportunity is there in F1, and there’s an opportunity here that’s a good opportunity with a good team, and if in these next few days I think it’s something I would enjoy, obviously then the odds (of racing INDYCAR in 2022) go up.”
Project Divebomb has also previously reported that Albon has also been on the radar of Formula E team Nissan, and as time ticks on, it is safe to say Albon is not short of options.