Grand prix podium finisher Romain Grosjean says Scott McLaughlin deserves a Formula 1 test, labeling the three-time IndyCar race winner “very special”.
Despite very different backgrounds, McLaughlin and Grosjean have crossed paths in IndyCar.
Off the back of three Supercars titles, the Kiwi was launched from Australia to the United States to race for Team Penske in the single-seater series at the end of 2020.
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Grosjean, meanwhile, departed F1 for IndyCar in 2021 off the back of nine consecutive seasons in the sport’s top tier.
In that time, the Frenchman finished on the podium in 10 grand prix for the Lotus and Haas teams.
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The pair fought for IndyCar rookie of the year honors in 2021 with Jimmie Johnson, the gong ultimately falling the way of McLaughlin.
In his second season, the Team Penske pilot shone with a win in the season-opener in St Petersburg as well as two more wins at Mid-Ohio and Portland.
He wound up fourth in the standings, drawing praise from his teammates and peers.
Speaking with MotorSport Magazine, Grosjean spoke of the talent pool in IndyCar.
IndyCar winner Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward, and Colton Herta have all tested Formula 1 cars this year. However, it’s the New Zealander who Grosjean says should have a shot.
“One of the guys that amazed me the most is Scott McLaughlin,” said Grosjean.
“I think he should have a test in F1, he would be fast. That guy is very special.”
Grosjean said McLaughlin’s ability to adapt from Supercars to IndyCar – two polar opposites in motorsport terms – would put him in good stead for an F1 test.
“If you think, he did Supercars for so many years and is doing so well in IndyCar now, it’s very natural,” Grosjean added.
“I think IndyCar works a little bit different than F1 in the way you need to have experience in the race and that’s why you see the old guys doing pretty good. But the racing is tough and the competition is up there.
“You can’t go on a quali lap thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to do 95 per cent because I know I’ve got a good car.’ It won’t be enough, you need every single lap to be 100 per cent, and that’s a challenge but it’s pretty fun.”
Grosjean’s comments come off the back of struggles Herta endured to break into Formula 1 having not acquired the necessary FIA Super License points to qualify.
He said the obstacle shouldn’t discount the ability hiding in plain sight state-side, and that the Super License points given for IndyCar are currently too low.
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“One of the best examples was when Palou came to COTA (Circuit of the Americas) to do (practice) for McLaren and on the same tires as Lando (Norris) he was two or three tenths off, which is very, very good, “Grosjean explained.
“Colton, the picture was bigger. He has got the capacity and speed to be in F1. But if you look at his career he has never won a championship.
“So I also understand why he doesn’t have the points for a Super License because he hasn’t won Indy Lights or IndyCar, so why would we give him the points if he doesn’t have them?
“What I think is wrong is the amount of points we get in IndyCar. I think it should be at least at Formula 2 level, maybe more because the level is up there.
“There are some very fast drivers. So I think that is wrong. But the fact he didn’t have the points because he hadn’t won a championship, I get.”
The 2023 IndyCar Series gets underway on March 6 in St Petersburg.
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