Driving a race car for the first time since his fiery crash in Bahrain, Romain Grosjean revealed he had a few “painful” moments on his IndyCar debut.
Leaving Formula 1 at the end of last season, the Frenchman embarked on his new career on Tuesday, putting in the laps for Dale Coyne Racing at an IndyCar test.
Grosjean, who will compete in all 13 road and street course races on the 2021 IndyCar Series calendar, was in action at the Barber Motorsports Park.
The 34-year-old says it did not take him long to adjust to life in an IndyCar, although there was one spin involved.
“It felt very normal,” he told the IndyCar website.
“It’s a different car, a different position, but apart from that everything felt great and normal. I just need to get used to a new car.
“It reminds me of when I was jumping from Formula Renault to Formula 3 and GP2. So far, I’ve been really happy with it.
“The mechanical grip of the car has been really good. I can really understand why you can get the racing good. The way the team works is really good. It’s different, but I’m happy with that. Trying to adapt myself has been quite smooth.
“I think the more testing we have the better it is, but I’m also very much looking forward for it to be the 17th and 18th of April to go racing.”
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) February 23, 2021
The day, though, was not without a bit of pain for the Frenchman and his still healing hands.
Tuesday’s test marked the first time he had driven a race car since he escaped a fiery crash on the opening lap of the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix in late November 2020.
“It’s actually done very well,” he said. “I had a big snap on the last run (of the morning) and that was a bit painful.
“I expect those. I know it’s not fully recovered and is sensitive.”
His biceps also got more of a workout than they have had in a while.
“After the first run my biceps started hurting a bit and I thought ‘okay, okay, now we’re talking,’” he said. “You really feel the car.
“I guess you can drive it a little bit more with your driving style with the way you apply the brake and your turning and so on. You can actually use different lines, whereas in Formula 1 you may be more stuck to the ideal line because of how the aerodynamics work.
“I made a mistake this morning and I spun (in Turn 1). I was stuck in the gravel. (The track) has consequences and you need to stay within the limits, which I always quite enjoy.”