Kiwi IndyCar rookie Scott McLaughlin returned to action today as part of an official pre-season test at Barber Motorsport Park. But it was Romain Grosjean who stole the headlines.
Grosjean embarked on his maiden test with his new Dale Coyne Racing team in his first race outing since his horrific fireball crash in last year’s Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.
The French driver spent most of the day easing into the swing of things but says he is incredibly pleased with how everything ran.
“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,” he told IndyCar.com.
“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 good. I can understand why you can get the racing good.
“The way the team works is 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.”
Grosjean soon began exploring Barber’s limits, even taking a spin into the sand trap midway through the morning.
“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.”
He was wearing a helmet featuring a design by his children, that he was scheduled to use in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Twelve drivers and five teams were on site for the day. Lap times have been kept private and will not be published for the public, with most teams dedicating the day to achieving their own objectives.
McLaughlin returned to the wheel of his Penske machine for the first time since a Sebring test at the start of the month.
The 27-year-old spent the day with teammates Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud.
Fellow New Zealander Scott Dixon was not present for the test.
IndyCar will continue to run through its pre-season regime over the next month. The opening round of the 2021 season is scheduled to be at Barber Motorsport Park on April 18.