“It’s easy when that’s the case but when your car is not that well set-up in qualifying, it’s already quite a challenge and then in the race it’s all about managing your car, if you’re saving your tyres, and the traffic running which is very different.”
Grosjean’s team, Andretti Autosport, has a technical and data-sharing agreement with the Meyer-Shank outfit, which won the race last year with Helio Castroneves, who took an unprecedented fourth victory. Crunching the Brazilian’s numbers has impressed upon Grosjean how much the devil is in the detail.
“When you look at everything Helio does, you’re not surprised that he won the race four times,” says Grosjean. “There’s actually a very specific technique and a few small details – at 230 miles an hour all the small details actually become quite big. So [it’s just about] just making sure you get everything right.”
When Grosjean first entered IndyCar with Dale Coyne last year, he was operating on a road-course only programme after rowing back on original plans for a full season. This was due to concerns over the dangers after his fiery Bahrain shunt at the end of 2020, but the Frenchman explained his change of heart this year in taking on the ovals also.
“Once you make the decision of doing something like Indy 500, you stick with a decision and you have to be happy with it,” he said. “So the work was done before making the decision of doing ovals.”