Romain Grosjean says he is “really happy” with his IndyCar test debut in what marked his return to a racecar for the first time since his Formula 1 crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old Frenchman completed 83 laps as he took part in a 12-car IndyCar test on Tuesday, having signed up to race in the American championship for 2021 with Dale Coyne Racing following his departure from the Haas F1 team.

Grosjean, who will contest all 13 road and street courses but skip the oval rounds on the 2021 IndyCar schedule, was delighted with his performance, despite suffering a spin and soreness as he continues to recover from the injuries he sustained in his fiery accident in Bahrain last November.

"It felt like home," Grosjean told IndyCar.com. "I didn't have any apprehension or anything.  It's obviously a new car and I had to adjust a little bit to my new driving position, but things quickly felt quite smooth.

"I then discovered the joys of not having a power steering wheel. I don't regret all the hours in the gym, but maybe I'll do some more, just in case!

"It felt very normal. 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.”

He added: “After the first run my biceps started hurting a bit, and I thought: ‘OK, OK. Now we’re talking. 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.”

Grosjean admitted his first outing since his terrifying Bahrain crash was “a bit painful”, but felt his left hand - which was badly burned as he escaped his car - held up well to the test.

"It's actually done very well," Grosjean explained. "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.

"It went OK. It's not perfect, there's a nice big blister on my left thumb which is not pretty but driving wise it was OK. I was being a bit careful on some of the kerbs, but generally it hasn't been a limitation.

"I didn't really feel it in the car so I guess that was fine. Putting the gloves on and off is not always nice so I tend to keep my left glove on, but generally it's been OK."

 

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