until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


IndyCar street debut Grosjean’s hardest physical challenge

by Jack Benyon
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Romain Grosjean says his IndyCar street course debut in St Petersburg was “the hardest thing I have ever done physically”.

Grosjean finished 13th on his maiden street outing in the series, his second IndyCar race since joining the championship with Dale Coyne Racing after losing his Formula 1 seat.

IndyCar features the Red Bull Advanced Technologies-developed aeroscreen device, which has saved lives numerous times since its introduction at the start of the 2020 season. As recently as last week it stopped an errant wheel hitting Ryan Hunter-Reay’s head during a lap one Barber crash.

However, due to the PPG wrap-around canopy it allows less air into the cockpit and while IndyCar has worked with teams to increase ventilation, cockpit temperatures can soar. Especially in hot and humid races like the one last weekend in Florida.

“I really enjoyed my first experience at St Pete even though today was the hardest thing I have ever done physically,” wrote Grosjean on Instagram.

Apr 27 : Everyone should be scared of IndyCar's new 'top gun'

“And you know that I love crazy challenges…”

The aeroscreen wasn’t the only factor in the fatigue felt by many drivers. Winner Colton Herta suffered significant blisters as he dealt with the declining grip in his car at the end of each stint particularly. Patricio O’Ward suffered similar blisters in the opening round at Barber.

Grosjean is still driving with damage to the skin on the back of his left hand caused by his huge F1 crash in Bahrain last year.

He came into the St Petersburg weekend buoyant off the back of qualifying seventh on his debut at Barber, and followed that up with 10th in the race despite not being on the optimum strategy that day.

However he had tested at Barber whereas that was not possible at St Petersburg, so he was always facing an uphill struggle on his street course debut.

Grosjean and his team elected to try a new set-up for qualifying following practice, but this did not pay off and he qualified 18th.

Apr 21 : Grosjean 'absolutely delivered' on his IndyCar debut

In the race, Grosjean took advantage of an early safety car period to pit on lap 16 of 100, but his and many others’ bid to go on an alternative strategy was ended by the timing of cautions that fell later in the race.

He also clashed with Will Power and the wall three times on one lap, leading Grosjean to question whether he should pit before the team told him to continue.

In the final stint Grosjean made significant progress, moving up from 16th to 13th by the end of the race.

“I love those races, it’s all about pushing super hard and going fast!” Grosjean added.


“We tried to get lucky with the yellows today but it wasn’t our lucky day. Next time, we will qualify better.

“I feel we did a good job this weekend. We’ve learned a lot in the race.

“We’re going to keep working, keep improving and the next one will be better.”

 Jgs 2021 St Pete 41035 1

Grosjean now faces a break as he elected not to take on the oval races this year.

IndyCar heads to Texas this weekend for a double header on the 1.5-mile oval, where Pietro Fittipaldi will take over Grosjean’s #51 entry also supported by Rick Ware Racing.

Grosjean will return for the following round on the Indianapolis road course on May 15.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks