Romain Grosjean looking for first Indy 500 finish

Romain Grosjean (Juncos Hollinger) will start from 26th position this Sunday for the 108th edition of the Indianapolis 500. For his third participation, the Frenchman hopes to reach the finish, and believes he has a car that will allow him to hope for a good position!

Published on 24/05/2024 à 12:38

Michael Duforest

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Romain Grosjean looking for first Indy 500 finish

© Penske Entertainment: James Black

Qualified on the ninth row of the starting grid (the drivers start three abreast in Indianapolis), Romain Grosjean believes, however, that this result in qualifying does not allow us to assume the hierarchy in the race. During the latest test session on Monday, the Juncos Hollinger Racing driver was able to work with a car that met his expectations, and which allowed him to have some hopes for the race.

“Qualifying... I like to say that I'm a hero, but in qualifying the driver doesn't do anything at all here! It's the car that does the work. Unfortunately we didn't have great pace in the qualifying car, there are 26 of use on the grid. Now we've worked well on the race car, I'm starting to feel good. Monday, we had a very good session, if it can be like that in the race, that would be perfect! », he told us.

After two appearances with Andretti, which ended in two retirements, Grosjean can now use this experience to help his young team work in the right direction. Because at the Indy 500, having a fast car is not something empirical. In addition to an appetite for speed, car must also be comfortable in traffic, and it is at this moment that things can quickly go wrong... The key word is balance, something that the former pilot of Formula 1 starts to get with his Dallara-Chevrolet.

“That’s kind of what’s difficult. I think you really have to experience it to know what the car needs. Over the last two years, clearly, I have never found a balance that suited me. On Monday, the car was good, I felt comfortable, I was able to follow, to overtake when I wanted or needed. Clearly, having experience and knowing how the car evolves is very useful, but now I would like to know the experience of seeing the checkered flag! »

Temperature and wind, two crucial data

Even more in Indianapolis than elsewhere, the other key word is the weather. The Speedway track is known for reacting to even the slightest changes in temperature. If we add to this the wind, which risks blowing in gusts this weekend, in particular due to the expected storms, these two data will prove crucial for Romain Grosjean and the 32 other drivers of this 108th edition of Indy 500.

“There are two important facts here, from the little experience I have. The track temperature, and the wind. The track temperature was extremely high on Monday and the car handled well, so I was super happy to have managed to sort that out. When it's cool and there's no wind, everyone is a superhero because you can follow without any problem and it's relatively easy. Things are much more complicated when it's hot. The wind, we'll have to see. We announce gusts of 45 km/h, so when we are at 350 we suddenly feel 400! However, it also gives 300 when you go in the other direction! The car moves a lot, you will have to see the direction.

For the moment we are forecasting a wind from west to east, with wind at our backs in Turn 2 and from the front in Turn 3. In the straight, the advantage is that we are helped by the stands , it has less impact. Turns 2 and 3 will be the most sensitive if the wind blows as expected for the moment. The wind would push the car outwards in Turn 2, so this increases the feeling of understeer. You will have to pay attention to the opposite in Turn 3, to be able to continue to follow fairly closely. »

Comments collected by Michaël Duforest.

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