Last season was supposed to be "the year" for Romain Grosjean. After a dazzling in his rookie season with Dale Coyne Racing, the former Formula One veteran made the move to the powerhouse team of Andretti Autosport. Expectations were that Grosjean would fight for podiums nearly every weekend, and eventually earn his first career win. Instead, he had a sophomore slump that not many people saw coming.

Grosjean earned three podium finishes in his 13 starts as a rookie. He also led 53 laps and collected his first pole position at Indianapolis. Last season he had just one podium, no poles, and led a grand total of three laps in 17 races. His average finishing position dropped, and he ended up 13th in the championship standings.

With a renewed sense of optimism and plenty of motivation in his tank, Grosjean is off to a great start in 2023, earning pole position for the season-opening race. "I knew last year that something was just not coming my way. We worked hard to find something. We had a good winter testing. We got here and I said yea boys, I think we’ve got something. I forgot how good this feels! I'm so excited for tomorrow."

As a resident of Miami, the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg is Grosjean's home track. He would love nothing more than to get his first victory on this treacherous street circuit. He finished 5th in this race last year, but expects to do even better tomorrow.

Andretti swept the front row in qualifying, with Colton Herta putting his Honda up front. The newest member of the squad, Kyle Kirkwood, also made the Firestone Fast Six before a spin put a damper on his day. The performance today is a result of the work and effort that the organization has demonstrated over the offseason.

"Thankful for the team. We worked really hard from a tough season last year. The car felt much more alive. One-hundred percent, we found what I need. Having three of us in the Fast Six, locked in the front row, is pretty impressive to start the season. This weekend, as a team, we've been very impressive and hopefully we can carry that out in the race."

Team owner Michael Andretti was singing a similar tune after qualifying. "We did a lot of hard work over the winter. We felt pretty optimistic, but you never know what you have until you get it on the racetrack. Seems like it's showing the way we hoped it would. I feel a lot more optimistic. I think we really studied ourselves and got real honest about where we needed to improve, and I think we've done it."

The proof is in the pudding, and their first opportunity for a win comes tomorrow at a track where they once finished 1-2-3-4 as a team. The odds of that happening again are next to zero, but a race win is certainly on the table.