Wednesday, May 31, 2023

2022 IndyCar Driver Reviews: Christian Lundgaard and Romain Grosjean

Christian Lundgaard leading Romain Grosjean around WWT Raceway.
Christian Lundgaard leading Romain Grosjean around WWT Raceway. Photo courtesy of James Black/Penske Entertainment.

Over the next several weeks there will be a driver review series published starting with the 20th placed driver in the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship. This will continue until reaching Will Power, the 2022 IndyCar Series champion.

Here, we will focus on Christian Lundgaard (14th place) and Romain Grosjean (13th place).

Christian Lundgaard’s rookie season in IndyCar competition had numerous highs and lows across 17 races. There were, however, enough high points for the Danish racer to earn the Rookie of the Year title for the 2022 IndyCar season.

Starting with the lows, Lundgaard had two retirements in 2022. At Texas, Lundgaard had contact with Colton Herta that negatively affected the car’s handling and the team retired the car out of caution. In July at Iowa, brake issues could not be fixed before the end of the second race at the doubleheader weekend.

Lundgaard’s rookie season wasn’t as flashy as other Rookie of the Year campaigns have been, but it didn’t need to be to win the award. Yes, Lundgaard finished 14th or worse eight times, but he also finished in the top 10 on seven occasions, putting the 2017 Spanish F4 champion only 22 points behind team leader Graham Rahal.

It should be noted that on two occasions, Lundgaard lost several positions late in a race that would have helped the No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda get as high as 12th in points instead of 14th. At Nashville, Lundgaard had braking balance issues that dropped him from third to eighth in the final three laps. With 15 laps to go at Portland, Lundgaard hit a sign at the first corner that wedged itself in the front wing, hindering cornering. Instead of finishing eighth, Lundgaard dropped down to 21st.

Expect big things from Lundgaard in 2023.

After three podium finishes in 2021 for Dale Coyne Racing, Romain Grosjean moved to Andretti Autosport in a move expected to bring the Swiss-born Frenchman closer to the front of the grid. Grosjean improved from 15th to 13th in points, mostly down to him competing in every race in 2022 instead of skipping the superspeedway races.

The Formula One veteran had only one podium finish at Long Beach when he finished second. Grosjean had one fewer top-five finish in 2022 compared to 2021 (four to three) but one more top-10 finish (seven to six)

With race engineer Olivier Boisson continuing his relationship with Grosjean in 2022 at a larger team, expectations were high for the pair. However, Grosjean’s season was a frustrating one, especially for a team with the resources of Andretti Autosport.

Perhaps Grosjean’s most memorable moment came after the race at Mid-Ohio. After several collisions with teammates, the racer of the No. 28 Honda had some choice words for his teammate Alexander Rossi.

With one season now under his belt at Andretti Autosport, one should expect a better 2023 campaign for Grosjean, especially with a new teammate in Kyle Kirkwood. Time will tell if things will start to click for driver and team so Grosjean can get his first IndyCar win.

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