Romain Grosjean, Coyne, IndyCar, Barber Motorsport Park, 2021

Grosjean says first IndyCar rolling start “wasn’t pretty” after Newgarden near-miss

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In the round-up: Romain Grosjean says he needs more practice with rolling starts after slipping from seventh on the grid to 10th at the finish in his first IndyCar race.

In brief

Grosjean satisfied with race after tricky start

Start, IndyCar, Barber Motorsport Park, 2021
Newgarden passed Grosjean at the start, then crashed
Switching from F1 to IndyCar means getting used to two-wide rolling starts. Grosjean admitted his first attempt on Sunday “wasn’t pretty”.

“I got caught a little bit,” admitted the Coyne/Rick Ware driver. “I just need to get used to it. It’s not easy, you need to get the right timing, but it was fun.”

Grosjean started seventh ahead of Josef Newgarden. The Penske driver immediately passed him at the start, then ran wide at turn four. While Grosjean dodged the spinning Newgarden, several other drivers collected him, triggering a huge crash (video below).

Following the restart Grosjean briefly ran as high as third, after other drivers in front of him pitted. He slipped to 10th place at the chequered flag – better than all bar one of his F1 finishes at Haas last year.

“First race in IndyCar, first top 10 so we can be very happy with that,” he summarised. “We fought at the front for some time and we did our best so a lot that we learned today.

“We can be very proud of our weekend. P7 in quali, P10 in the race. We’ve learned a lot and I guess we move on to St Pete and we try to do better.”

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Comment of the day

Is Fernando Alonso having a harder time than expected on his return to F1?

I honestly expected Alonso to struggle on his return. We saw Ocon struggle last year on his return after a year out. It took up until late in the season before he was even in comparable form to Ricciardo.

I see Alonso taking a while to get to grips with his machine after spending two seasons out. Bahrain did paint a slightly rosy picture as some drivers made errors and Alonso pulled off a great qualifying lap at a circuit he knows well. But you know he’s still nowhere close to the Alonso of old. In fact I can’t even remember the last time he really struggled in getting performance out of a poor car.

I’m glad he’s admitted it to himself that he’s still got room to improve. We know he’s got the talent and the work ethic. So it’s only a matter of time now.

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

  • 35 years ago today Hans Stuck and Derek Bell won the opening round of the Sports-Prototype World Championship at Monza for Porsche, ahead of Andrea de Cesaris and Alessandro Nannini in a Lancia


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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 says first IndyCar rolling start “wasn’t pretty” after Newgarden near-miss”

  1. RE: COTD

    All of this I agree with… And also makes Hulkenburg’s relative turn of speed as a super-sub last year all the more impressive!

    1. Agree, but getting worried now. Loosing teeth not reading everyday traffic while cycling, then crashing on the warmup lap now at his age is not going to be brushed off as easily as it once might have done

    2. And also makes Hulkenburg’s relative turn of speed as a super-sub last year all the more impressive!

      To be fair Hulkenburg had barely lost any running compared to other drivers. He was an active driver literally the year before and then everyone stopped racing due to Covid19 for the first half of 2020 anyway

      I’d say Paul Di Resta subbing in the Williams in 2017 was much more impressive.

  2. DeeAnn Hopings
    20th April 2021, 4:45

    Regarding Alonso, I think the other thing to remember is that while he has been racing over the past 2 years in other categories, none had the performance characteristics of an F1 car…

    1. Also Imola and Portimao will be tracks he is unfamiliar with

  3. Half of the problem for Alonso is that the Alpine team is not the best. They have awful strategy in races and QPs, and of course, they always fail to get a weekend without glitches or crashes…
    And that’s after years of competition lol. At least they should get problem-free weekends and then they can focus on the performance.

  4. I pretty much agree with the COTD. All things considered, Ocon has to outscore and outperform him over the season to be at a lower risk of losing his drive.

  5. Re IndyCar: Grosjean’s result would’ve earned him a single point if IndyCar had F1’s points system!
    Re Imola crash: Well said Lewis. He’s the best motivator.

    1. Oslin Thompson
      20th April 2021, 16:37

      A Hamilton fan here, but I wish he had provided similar support to Albon last season.

  6. I think the difficulties for drivers who have switched teams come from the very limited testing available.
    Let’s keep in mind that this is about extracting the absolute maximum performance from the car, managing tyres, learning the different aero configs, different engines etc.
    I think more testing would be a big equalizer of driver performance.
    With more testing I suspect guys like Gasly and Albon would have performed more consistently across the season.

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