Grosjean powers to maiden IndyCar pole at the Brickyard!

Romain Grosjean powered to his first NTT IndyCar Series pole position on Friday afternoon on the Indianapolis Motor... The post Grosjean powers to maiden IndyCar pole at the Brickyard! appeared first on F1i.com.

Grosjean powers to maiden IndyCar pole at the Brickyard!

Romain Grosjean powered to his first NTT IndyCar Series pole position on Friday afternoon on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course, the French rookie claiming his first P1 in qualifying since his days in GP2.

The former Haas driver moved to the US open wheel series after ending his ten-season F1 career following his horrific accident at Bahrain at the end of 2020. And this weekend's GMR Grand Prix at the Brickyard will mark only Grosjean's third IndyCar start with Dale Coyne Racing.

"Amazing," the 35-year-old said after beating two-time series champion Josef Newgarden by 0.126s. "That last few laps, we were on it. What a day for us ... I’m happier than I have been in a very long time!"

© IndyCar Media

Grosjean is contracted to compete in IndyCar for Dale Coyne Racing in this year's road course and street races, including the REV Group Grand Prix at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on June 20.

However the latest changes to the F1 calendar which include the postponement of the Turkish GP and the addition of a second race in Austria mean that this is now also the weekend for the F1 French GP

Grosjean had been due to take part in a demonstration run of the Mercedes W10 during his home race weekend, which will now no longer be possible.

Team principal Toto Wolff had offered time in the race seat to help Grosjean put behind him the memories of last November's devastating accident in which he suffered burns to the hands after a miraculous escape from a fiery inferno.

But even though the demo run will no longer take place, the team has confirmed that Grosjean will still get to drive the Mercedes in a full one-day test session at Circuit Paul Ricard the following week.

Grosjean said this week that the offer from Wolff had come while he was still recuperating from the accident, when his injuries meant he couldn't even use his mobile phone.

©Mercedes

"I was in my hospital bed in Bahrain," he told the Beyond the Grid podcast this week. "Someone was helping me to open the things on my mobile phone because I didn't have any fingers to use.

"And then friends told me, 'Oh, Toto says you could have a test in a Mercedes if you don't make it back to Abu Dhabi'. And I'm like, 'Oh okay, that's, you know, that is super cool."

"Then I went back home, had a bit of recovery and then eventually got a call from Mercedes," he continued. "It says, 'Okay, so here are the dates that we could do it, seat fit will be on that date, you could do a little bit of simulator as well, and how does that work for you and are you up for it?'

"Bloody hell, of course I'm up for it!" he laughed. "It is an incredible chance.

  • Read also: Grosjean credits psychologist for keeping Bahrain nightmares at bay

"I'm still a Formula 1 fan, I still watch the races," he added. "Now I get to drive the 2019 world champion car, which at the end is not too far from the 2020, which was probably the fastest F1 car ever built.

"And I drive it without pressure without having a test day to complete few test things and go through a programme and so on. Yes we can have a programme but it's more, 'Let's go and have some fun'."

© IndyCar Media

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Steiner 'not involved in anything concrete' on US drivers

Efforts to bring fresh American racing talent into Formula 1 are continuing, but Haas F1 team principal Guenther... The post Steiner 'not involved in anything concrete' on US drivers appeared first on F1i.com.

Steiner 'not involved in anything concrete' on US drivers

Efforts to bring fresh American racing talent into Formula 1 are continuing, but Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner says at the moment he's not involved in anything concrete and that it's not currently a major focus for him.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said last week that the sport was in discussions with all teams about how to promote US drivers into the Grand Prix paddock now that a new event in Miami has received the go-ahead

The Haas team is the only official US-based squad on the F1 grid, but this year opted for rookie drivers from Germany and Russia to take over from Roman Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

IndyCar sensation Colton Herta is very much on the radar for F1 team managers. Last month the 21-year-old Andretti Autosport driver claimed his fourth win in the US open wheel series and admitted he would be interested in racing for Haas if it came with Ferrari backing.

Former F1 world champion Mario Andretti said America would go 'crazy' if an American driver made it into F1, while Lance Stroll picked out Herta was a leading contender.

“If I have to name a guy I say Colton Herta, I think he is someone who could do well here," the Aston Martin driver said.

For his part, Steiner insisted that his squad is still keen to find some home-grown American drivers in the future but said it wasn't a priority..

“I think there are always talks going on because there’s a big opportunity in the United States for Formula 1, as we all know," Steiner told RACER magazine this week.

©IndyCar

"For sure for the near future if something gets done that would be very good for Formula 1, and for Formula 1 in the US.”

“But I was not involved in anything too concrete," he added. “We are not trying to do that at the moment."

Steiner already has his hands full with one of his new drivers, with Nikita Mazepin proving adept at stirring controversies on and off the track.

But the team boss was this week still staunchly defending the 22-year-old Muscovite from attacks from critics after finishing last in the most recent race in Barcelona and receiving a penalty for impeding Lando Norris in qualifying.

Nikita Mazepin (RUS) Haas F1 Team on the grid. 09.05.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix

"It was another tough day for him result-wise but what was good was he did the laps," Steiner pointed out. "He didn’t do anything to compromise that, and that will make him learn. At some stage he will come to be real.

“I don’t want to speak in terms of convincing them, time will tell and you need to give people time," he commented. "You’ve always got more naysayers than yaysayers.

"I’ve actually no interest in justifying it to them, because then it’s a never-ending story and there will always be an answer to things.

"I am always a big believer in these things," he added. "You need to keep your head down, it’s not how you get down but how you get up. He just needs some time.”

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