Romain Grosjean has admitted he has been forced to adjust his driving style as he completed his final day of running at a test event at Barber Motorsports Park.
The Frenchman is preparing for his IndyCar debut after recovering from a horrific crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix which ended his Formula 1 career. After completing a race distance at Barber, he has been able to give some insight into the differences between an IndyCar and an F1 car.
“It's tough driving those cars, very much in a different way than Formula 1," Grosjean told RaceFans. "The only thing you fight in Formula 1 is the G-forces. Here you actually fight the heaviness of the car physically. It's very physical, but I don’t mind it, it’s quite cool."
Grosjean was pleased to discover the handling of an Indycar was not as sensitive to aerodynamics as he initially thought.
“If I’m being simplistic, Formula 1 only works as aerodynamics and the rest is just here to support the car, an IndyCar works really with the set-up," he explained.
"The aerodynamics is much simpler, there’s much less downforce. So high-speed corners are a bit more fruity in an IndyCar but the low-speed corners actually feel maybe better."
The Dale Coyne Racing driver crashed out on his first IndyCar outing last week. Grosjean brushed the accident aside, saying it may have been a good thing.
“Every time you come testing you have to try to find your limit, which I did in turn one,” he added. “I wasn’t quite happy with it, but it happened, and I actually understood something you could do in Formula 1 you maybe cannot do in IndyCar, so actually that was kind of a good learning experience.”
There are no tyre blankets in IndyCar and the Firestone rubber is a completely different beast to the Pirelli tyres in F1. Grosjean has enjoyed the IndyCar tyres, having raced with Pirelli tyres for 172 Grand Prix in the last nine years.
“They’ve been great," said Grosjean. "No tyre blanket, going out of the pit. Okay, it’s a bit more slippery but there is grip, and you can actually push for a few laps and they stay quite consistent. I was doing good laps after 25, 26 laps on the tyres and that’s something that I couldn’t do in my previous experience.”
Formula 1's halo arguably saved Grosjean's life in Sakhir in November. IndyCar used an aeroscreen meaning the cars are now half-open cockpit. Grosjean said he felt "absolutely fine" with the aeroscreen protection.
"The aeroscreen removes some air that you get in the car so it gets quite warm,” said Grosjean. “But the other tubes that you have with the helmet air system and also at the front of the cockpit works pretty well.
"If it wasn’t for the air not coming through your helmet and your visor staying clean, you wouldn’t notice".
Grosjean is set to race for Dayle Coyne Racing at street and road courses, beginning with the season-opener in April at Barber Motorsports Park where he has been testing.