Saturday, September 23, 2023

2022 IndyCar Driver Reviews: Felix Rosenqvist

Felix Rosenqvist and Zak Brown before the 2022 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.
Felix Rosenqvist and Zak Brown before the 2022 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. Photo courtesy of James Black/Penske Entertainment.

Continuing our driver review series of the top 20 drivers of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship, we are continuing our single-driver reviews until reaching Will Power, the 2022 IndyCar Series champion.

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Here, we will focus on Felix Rosenqvist, the eighth placed driver in the championship standings.

The driver most on the hot seat in the 2022 IndyCar paddock was Felix Rosenqvist. The Swedish racer had to fight tooth and nail for his seat at Arrow McLaren SP and his efforts were rewarded with a seat in 2023.

While Rosenqvist was the highest placed driver in the 2022 IndyCar points table without a win, that shouldn’t overshadow his best performances despite all the off-track pressure and uncertainty.

The No. 7 Chevrolet placed fourth at the Indianapolis 500 and was ready to pounce on the leaders in the final 150 miles of the race. A third on the streets of Toronto and a fourth in the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca were the best results needed at the right time of the season.

In the week leading up to Toronto, the McLaren organization released a statement saying that they had secured Alex Palou’s services for 2023. Since Arrow McLaren SP had announced Alexander Rossi as a third driver for the team next season back in Detroit, speculation ran wild. Maybe Rosenqvist might be on his way to Formula E?

During the Toronto race, Rosenqvist had contact with Rossi, sending Rossi into the Turn 3 barrier. After that contact, Rosenqvist kept his cool and finished third, hounding Colton Herta for second as the laps wound down.

Still having to fight for his job in the season finale, Rosenqvist moved from eighth starting position to fourth after 95 laps around WeatherTech Raceway.

Rosenqvist’s season also had its moments of misfortune. Mechanical failures were behind the retirements at Texas and Mid-Ohio. A spin into the Turn 2 wall at Iowa Speedway left Rosenqvist’s mechanics with a lot of work to do after the first race of the doubleheader weekend.

It cannot be understated that 2022 was Rosenqvist’s best IndyCar season since 2019. Scoring three top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes put the two-time Macau Grand Prix winner in a good championship position to serve as a baseline for 2023’s efforts.

Rosenqvist will be in perhaps one of the best working environments in IndyCar. Pato O’Ward will return in the No. 5 Chevrolet and said on numerous occasions that he wanted to see Rosenqvist return. Rossi and Rosenqvist had their contact at Toronto, but the Californian is eager to join a new team after seven seasons at Andretti Autosport.

The future is bright for Rosenqvist. Let’s see if his second IndyCar victory is around the corner in the No. 6 Chevrolet.

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