Wednesday, May 31, 2023

With IndyCar Future Unknown, Rosenqvist ‘Going to Continue to Keep My Foot Down’

Felix Rosenqvist at IMS
The status of where Felix Rosenqvist will be in 2023 still remains unknown. Image courtesy of James Black / Penske Entertainment

Felix Rosenqvist is only focused on what he can control for the remainder of the 2022 season in the NTT IndyCar Series, and right now that’s trying to win races.

The 30-year-old Swedish driver has rebounded from a harsh early season hand to score seven top 10s over the last nine races, including a fourth in the Indianapolis 500 and a podium on the Streets of Toronto last month. The pace has also been evident in qualifying with his No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet capturing two poles (Texas, Indy Grand Prix II), along with four additional appearances in the Fast Six (Long Beach, Barber, Indy Grand Prix I, Mid-Ohio).

Despite being re-signed to a multi-year deal to remain with McLaren Racing for 2023 and beyond, though, there is doubt on whether Rosenqvist will remain in North America’s premier open-wheel championship beyond this season or depart for the organization’s venture into Formula E.

The Arrow McLaren SP branch of McLaren Racing is being expanded to three full-time entries next year, with Pato O’Ward staying on after agreeing to a new deal and Alexander Rossi coming over from Andretti Autosport. The occupant for the third seat remains unknown. McLaren Racing also signed reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou, who would be an obvious candidate for the third seat, but the status of that is unclear due to a mixed bag of legalities since Chip Ganassi Racing also revealed the 25-year-old Spaniard was retained for the 2023 season.

So, does Rosenqvist believe scoring a victory with four races to go could keep him in IndyCar for next year?

“The target is definitely to win races,” said Rosenqvist, who has one career victory in IndyCar (Road America, 2019). “That’s been a clear target since we kind of… as we talked about before, like the upward trend that we had. We’ve been leading races. We’ve been having poles and podiums, and naturally you want to go win the race, and I think we can do that if we just kind of do our jobs and put everything together on the same day.

“Do I think it’s going to make a difference to whether I stay or not? I don’t think so. I mean, I think it helps me every time I can prove myself, and those results — in racing, you’re always as good as your last race, and that still goes for situations like this. Even if someone is saying it doesn’t matter, it always matters. If you do well, you’re a top property, and if you don’t do well, you get overlooked pretty quickly.

“Yeah, the target doesn’t change. I think I’m just focused on winning races, and that’s going to be it for me until the end of the season.”

As far if his rise in results that has him sitting ninth in the championship standings has aided Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, to reconsider, Rosenqvist remained reserved on his own thoughts on the subject.

“Well, it seems like he has a lot of other things to think about right now,” Rosenqvist said. Yeah, it never hurts, right, like if you’re doing well, if you’re performing… I think if you have the pace, that’s always a good thing. I don’t think it hurts.

“Obviously the conversations we had have indicated that (staying with Arrow McLaren SP) doesn’t really… that’s not really what it stands between, if I’m quick or not quick. But yeah, I think it’s more complex than that, let’s say, but I think it never hurts. If you’re doing well, it’s always going to help you somehow. That’s all I can do, as well. I’m just going to continue to keep my foot down and try to win races.”

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