Sebastien Bourdias, Romain Grosjean, IndyCar, Barber Motorsport Park, 2021

Grosjean enjoys warm welcome in “very different” IndyCar paddock


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Romain Grosjean enjoyed the welcome he received in his first IndyCar test yesterday, but the former F1 driver admitted he hadn’t always been as warm towards other drivers earlier in his career.

“It’s definitely very different from what I used to have,” said Grosjean when asked how he found the atmosphere in the IndyCar paddock during his first test at Barber Motorsport Park yesterday.

Former Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson, who moved to IndyCar in 2019, had encouraged Grosjean to consider a move into the American single-seater series.

“It’s been great,” said Grosjean after his first day of testing. “Marcus wasn’t wrong, I’ve had already some good interaction with Sebastien Bourdais, he was [in the] next pit so that was easy.

Takuma Sato came over. I saw some of the other guys, Simon Pagenaud in the pit lane, he was driving and I gave him a wave and he gave it back. So generally it’s been a great day in that aspect.”

Romain Grosjean, Coyne, IndyCar, Barber Motorsport Park, 2021
Grosjean spun his Coyne machine early in the session
Grosjean joins Ed Jones in Dale Coyne’s team for the upcoming season. “With Ed, my team mate, we have a good relationship as well,” he said.

“I told him I used to be an asshole as a team mate back in the day, but now I’m 35 and I like to be friendly. On track you want to beat them, there’s no doubt, but outside of the track I think if we can be friends, it’s mega.”

The former Haas F1 driver was also satisfied with his first experience of driving an IndyCar and returning to the cockpit for the first time since his horrendous Bahrain crash. “It felt like home, to be fair,” he said.

“I didn’t have any apprehension or whatever, just going out there, learning the car. The real question is going to be a race start in April 18 here in Barber. But for now, driving the car is good.”

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He had one incident of note during the test when he spun into a gravel trap at turn one. “Basically I just went too fast in,” he explained.

Ed Jones, Coyne, IndyCar, Barber Motorsport Park, 2021
Indy Lights champion Jones is Grosjean’s team mate
“When I was on the brake, I also picked up the throttle, which you do in the high-speed. But because it’s a mechanical diff, it does open the diff when you do that and therefore it sends you, it makes the car lose [grip], whereas in Formula 1 it would actually stabilise the car. So I would say it was a learning experience, and then I didn’t do it any more and it was better.”

No official times were issued from the test. Grosjean said he was pleased with his performance in a competitive field. “It’s definitely super-tight,” he said. “There were a couple of very quick times at the front.

“For us, the last set of tyres, I didn’t get anything out of it. It just didn’t feel great for some reason. And the sun was quite close so visibility went down.

“But I think the set before, middle afternoon, we had a decent lap time, especially looking at the track condition, maybe a bit hotter.

“But generally, I don’t know, it’s difficult to say. It’s definitely super-tight and we need to keep working and I need to keep adapting my driving style and understand how to go faster in IndyCar because it’s a bit different than a Formula 1 car.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Grosjean enjoys warm welcome in “very different” IndyCar paddock”

  1. Good to see that the field in Indycar is welcoming Romain, I hope he has fun driving.

  2. I wanted to hear about the tyres.

  3. Of course it was testing arranged by the teams, not IndyCar. Yes the paddock is friendlier, but things will be a bit different and much more competetive when the season starts.

  4. “I told him I used to be an asshole as a team mate back in the day, but now I’m 35 and I like to be friendly.”

    Was he? I doubt it was against Alonso, and can’t see there was friction with Raikkonen either, and he said him and Magnussen became mates, so I guess it must have been before F1.

    Anyway, nice to see the camaraderie, and eager to see what he can do there.

  5. I was curious about the aeroscreen…

  6. If you want to see what it is like to drive a current Indycar, here is a visor cam video from Newgarden at yesterday’s test.

  7. F1 will be a safer place with him gone.

    1. This incident was the only dangerous looking move we’ve seen from Grosjean since Spain 2018. People just remember him based on his past and it has in fact been other drivers driving on the edge and getting far more penalty points.

      Over the last 2 seasons that drivers have competed in both, there are only 3 drivers that got less penalty points than Grosjean. That being Bottas with none (possibly showing that Bottas does indeed play things safe) and Sainz and Gasly with just 1. Grosjean actually didn’t get any at all last season, so for people criticising him for being a dangerous driver, you would have thought he would have more penalty points than this!

      And for the sake of interest, this is the site I’m getting this information from:

      The interesting thing is that Magnussen has managed to get more penalty points than Grosjean despite missing a season. I do sometimes wonder why Grosjean is the one who gets criticised more than magnussen. As over the last 2 seasons when Grosjean pretty much looked as good or better and actually did less dangerous driving than Magnussen.

    2. Well we have Mazepin now…

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