Romain Grosjean furious at Andretti teammate Alexander Rossi: ‘He’s an absolute idiot’

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LEXINGTON, Ohio — As Scott McLaughlin celebrated at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a full-blown crisis raged across the paddock for Andretti Autosport with Romain Grosjean furious at teammates Alexander Rossi.

Team owner Michael Andretti stormed away from Alexander Rossi’s pit stand after contact between Rossi and teammate Romain Grosjean knocked them both off course, and Andretti was later seen in a heated discussion with Rossi’s father.

Rossi is leaving Andretti at the end of the season to drive for Arrow McLaren SP, but it seems that tensions and emotions already have boiled over between him and his soon-to-be-former teammates.

“He’s an absolute idiot,” Grosjean told reporters after the race. “Sorry.”

Rossi and Grosjean had repeated wheel-to-wheel contact and one of the bumps knocked the steering wheel out of Rossi’s hands, leaving him unable to turn as both cars went off course.

“What the hell is wrong with him?” Grosjean screamed.

Grosjean was less than pleased to later receive team orders to aid Rossi’s finish.

“What do you want me to do? Just block everyone behind and not go ahead?” Grosjean asked.

Told that yes, Andretti Autosport expected Grosjean to hold up traffic to help his teammates, the Frenchman declined.

“Because Rossi put me in the wall, so I am not going to protect him,” Grosjean replied.

Grosjean was then informed of the stakes via team radio: “Rossi is not a lap down, you are.”

Rossi finished 19th, Grosjean was 21st and Colton Herta spun midrace after contact with Grosjean and finished 15th, best of the four-car Andretti fleet.

“I must apologize to Colton,” said Grosjean, who was penalized for avoidable contact. “I had a lot more grip than everyone else so I just braked. I didn’t realize Colton would brake so early. So I tried to avoid contact. That wasn’t good from my side, but I think that’s going to be it as far as today, it’s just that Rossi is an absolute idiot out there.”

The Formula One veteran, who joined Andretti this season, said he appreciated Michael Andretti meeting with his drivers postrace.

“It wasn’t pleasant, but it was good that he did it,” Grosjean said. “I understand he’s frustrated and not happy with us.”

Grosjean still remained very unhappy with Rossi’s move.

“I don’t know why he does that,” Grosjean said. “He’s on black (tires), I’m on reds. I’m on the outside, and I carry more speed through the corner. He did it once on the restart. OK, maybe he slipped on cold tires. Do it again the next lap, then he did it on purpose. My hand is hurting. We lost the bloody race.”

Rossi downplayed the drama after the race.

“Just a racing incident,” he said. “He was on a softer tire and probably going to get around me, but he likes to do it fast and early. I had to test him there and obviously that’s unfortunate to tap into a teammate, but that’s the way it goes.”

Rossi, who also was penalized by IndyCar officials for avoidable contact, also ran into teammate Devlin DeFrancesco, who finished 17th.

Asked if he is racing Andretti drivers differently now that he knows he’s leaving the team, Rossi said no.

“Of course not. We’re teammates for Andretti Autosport and trying to get the best result possible,” he said.

In the Andretti Autosport postrace release, the team noted that “a round of incidents amongst teammates cost valuable track positions. The melee brought about high tensions and lowered finishing results.”