Palou, Rosenqvist Stay Put

In the end, it was much ado about nothing. Alex Palou and Felix Rosenqvist will stay with the teams they raced for in 2022 next year. In nearly simultaneous announcements, both drivers and teams declared that 2023 will be status quo.

Palou in Victory Circle Sunday

Palou had indicated mid- season that he had signed with McLaren on the heels of a Ganassi announcement that his contract with the team has been extended. Palou ended the season with a win in the final race of the year at Laguna Seca last Sunday. He was fifth in the final standings. From Palou’s Twitter account:

“I’m also grateful that @CGRTeams will allow me to pursue F1 testing with @McLarenF1 outside of my INDYCAR commitment.

·Thank you Chip, Mike and the entire team for your willingness to work together and help support both the team and my personal goals throughout this process. “

Rosenqvist’s ride with Arrow McLaren SP was on the line this past season. He finished eighth in the standings, one spot behind teammate Pato O’Ward. Rosenqvist had one pole this season, at Texas. He had signed an extension with the team, but it was not specific as to which series Rosenqvist would be assigned to.

In the team’s news release, Rosenqvist said,

“There’s no better way to enter the off-season than with this news! I love this team, and I’m so happy to continue working with all the incredible people I’ve gotten to know over the past two seasons. With everything the team has in the pipeline, the continuing relationship with Pato and the addition of Alex Rossi, we are going to bring our A-game for 2023. It will be the most exciting season for me so far. Let it be March already!”

Rosenqvist on Pole; The Future of AMSP 1-2-3

Felix Rosenqvist denied Will power a shot at history by winning the pole for tomorrow’s Gallagher Grand Prix. It was Rosenqvist’s second pole on the IMS road course, and his second of the season. Of more significance, Alexander Rossi, who will join AMSP in 2023, will start second, and Rosenqvist’s current teammate .Pato O’Ward, starts third. It is possible the three drivers will all be teammates next season.

Power remains one pole behind Mario Andretti with 66 career poles. he has four more opportunities this season to tie Andretti. Power is also one win behind Michael Andretti for third place in career victories with 41. He has a chance to get that mark tomorrow.

Rosenqvist doesn’t consider IMS his best track, but one that he and the team have worked to improve their performance here.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit here in the
races historically. I just feel like we’ve worked very hard as a team to improve this track as we go here twice a year, and at some point
last year we were like, guys, we need to improve at the
Indy GP because we’re struggling.
Since then every time we come back here I feel like we’re
just getting better and better. We had a test here a couple
of weeks ago where I think we found some really good
things, and we were pretty sure where we wanted to start
today in terms of setup, and yeah, it’s just been a smooth
day.”

Notes

The two rookies battling for Rookie of the Year both made the second sound. Christian Lundgaard, who leads David Malukas by four points, advanced to the Fast Six and will start sixth. Malukas will star 11th.

Points leader Marcus Ericsson shut off his car in turn on his first out lap when the crew noticed a problem on the telemetry. Ericsson will start last Saturday.

Professionals– Josef newgarden, Alexander Rossi, and Alex palou entered today with some baggage, but all three ust went about their business. Rossi qualified second, Newgarden fifth, and Palou seventh, just missing the Fast Six.

Newgarden was cleared to race after this morning’s practice. Rossi announced in June that he would leave Andretti Autosport to drive for AMSP next season. Palou is embroiled in a dispute as to whom he will drive for in 2023.

Ed Carpenter Racing continues to show signs of improvement in their road course program. Both Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay made the second round. Daly led his group in round 1. VeeKay will line up eighth and Daly 10th.

The starting lineup:

Rosenqvist Stays with McLaren Team

Image from McLaren

The announcement doesn’t say whether he will remain in Indycar or move to Formula E, but it does confirm that Felix Rosenqvist has a job in the Mclaren family for 2023 and beyond.

The official news release from McLaren:

McLaren Racing has signed a multi-year deal with Felix Rosenqvist to remain on the team’s driver roster from 2023 and beyond.

McLaren Racing is currently in the process of evaluating its driver line-ups for 2023 with the newly formed McLaren Formula E Team set to embark on its debut season in the all-electric racing series and plans to expand Arrow McLaren SP into a three-car team with Felix set to be driving in one of the two series.

McLaren Racing is currently in the process of evaluating its driver line-ups for 2023 with the newly formed McLaren Formula E Team set to embark on its debut season in the all-electric racing series and plans to expand Arrow McLaren SP into a three-car team with Felix set to be driving in one of the two series.

Felix, from Värnamo, Sweden, joined Arrow McLaren SP in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2021. Since joining the series in 2019, when he was named Rookie of the Year, Felix has secured three podiums and two pole positions. Felix recently finished the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in an impressive fourth place, and currently occupies a spot in the top-10 among a competitive drivers’ championship.

Rosenqvist’s racing career also includes a stint in Formula E, having raced in the series for three seasons from 2016 to 2019, winning three races, securing six pole positions and seven podiums.

The full Arrow McLaren SP and McLaren Formula E 2023 driver line-ups will be confirmed in due course.

Felix Rosenqvist, said:

“I’m delighted to be remaining with McLaren for 2023 and beyond. With the team expanding into Formula E next season, it provides additional opportunities for me both in the USA and Europe and I look forward to being in a position to announce my plans in the coming weeks. I’ve loved my time with the Arrow McLaren SP Team in IndyCar driving the No. 7 car and we’ve had some great moments together, including securing pole earlier this year in Texas and coming home P4 in the Indy 500. I’m excited and grateful to be given this opportunity to explore the new options available to utilise my experience to help McLaren start 2023 on the strongest possible footing.”


Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, said:

“I’m delighted to be continuing our relationship with Felix. He’s a fantastic racer, with a lot of experience in many different types of racing cars. As a proven race winner in both categories, it was important for us to secure his talent withing the McLaren Racing family as we work to finalise our plans for 2023. His experience in Formula E would be invaluable as we head into this exciting new era of racing for McLaren Racing but he has also made a fantastic contribution to our IndyCar team. I look forward to working together with him to finalise the best opportunity for him next season.”

Rosenqvist’s Season Coming Together

Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

Felix Rosenqvist believes his season is beginning to come together. He has qualified well, but errors in the races have held him back. He sees his sixth place finish in Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix as a positive sign, but he wasn’t completely satisfied.

“Yeah, it was a solid weekend,” the driver of the number 7 Arrow McLaren SP car said. “You know we we’ve had really good qualifying performance the last couple of races and I think last week and actually Barber half of the race was really good and then we made some mistakes and this race we were I think honestly we were the quickest on track and like all conditions and unfortunately we had a collision with Pato in the middle of the race.

“I’m still kind of bummed about it because I think we had a chance to win but it was good to be back in the top six for our season is very good. I think we had some momentum to run on this morning.”

Rosenqvist felt the first practice went well.

“Good, ” he said. ” Not really much to report. We didn’t do much traffic running. We just tried to like set up the car and make sure the car is fine for the weeks to come. And I felt good because I have a good baseline and we would know more and this afternoon when we were running traffic a bit more.”.

“I never really felt like this place is that green like you always come out the first run and you have pretty good grip and obviously the track grips up during the day.”

Rosenqvist said he will work on passing more this afternoon. He thinks it will be difficult to pass more than one car at a time.

“It seems like it’s very easy to pass one car. And then when you have two cars in front, it’s tricky. And then when you have three cars in front, it becomes really difficult. So you want to be up front no matter what’s you know. I think being second is probably the optimal spot in the race. Yeah, that’s the way it’s right now.”

This is a season on the brink fo rRosenqvist, but he is confident that the results will come.

Rosenqvist Takes Pole at Texas

The pole the Expel 375 came down to two drivers going for their second career pole. Scott Mclaughlin, who won the pole at St. Pete last month, had a target set by Felix Rosenqvist, who is fighting to keep his seat in the AMSP Chevy. Rosenqvist prevailed by 14 thousandths of a second.

Rosenqvist was the eleventh qualifier. He set the mark of 221.110 mph. Several drivers came close. Takuma Sato’s first lap was faster, but he slowed enough on his second circuit to end up second. He stayed there until McLaughlin’s run.

“It couldn’t be a better time to win the pole,” said Rosenqvist, who is rumored to be on the hot seat in the number 7 McLaren entry.

“I’m confident we have a good package for the race,” he added.

Rosenqvist thinks winning the pole is just the beginning of a great weekend for the Arrow McLaren SP crew.

“:I think we’re gonna be even stronger in the race. I mean, I can’t promise that but we have every reason to think that we have a good package overall. And I think this strength in our car air is very, you know, confidence inspiring. It never really feels edgy, and it’s just really good setup. So yeah, we’re happy going into the race.

“I remember the first time I came here, then then it was definitely not fun. I was really scared. First time I was here, and it was actually the first superspeedway I ever did. But yeah, I think from 2020 onwards, it’s been a track where I feel really calm and confident that I kind of know how to attack the race. And how to work with a driving line and how the car needs to be set up and I think it suits me pretty well. Naturally, and yeah, I definitely feel like it’s an unfinished business that motivates us.”

Rosenqvist won his first pole in 2019 on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

McLaughlin will start on the front row for the second consecutive race.

Quick Thoughts

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s three cars will start 24th, 25th, and 27th tomorrow. Graham Rahal finished mid pack in the morning practice but had the slowest qualifying time. Jack Harvey was slow in practice as well. Christian Lundgaard was 17th this morning.

If you want to pick a dark horse to win Sunday, go with Takuma Sato. Sato is off to a good start this season with a 10th at St. Pete. He rolls off third tomorrow.

Will Power had another strong qualifying today. He could win from fourth.

Biggest Disappointments

Simon Pagenaud led the morning practice but only qualified 15th. Teammate helio Castroneves will start 6th.

Andretti Autosport- Colton Herta is the only Andretti driver ibn the top ten. Alexander Rossi was 12th, Romain Grosjean was 13th, and Devlin DeFrancesco will be 17th on the grid for the race.

VeeKay Rebound

Rinus VeeKay once again carried the day for Ed Carpenter Racing, qualifying eighth. VeeKay has qualified in the top ten for both of the 2022 races. After his bicycle accident mid -season last year, VeeKay had a significant drop off in results. The first two race weekends of 2022 have seen him regain his form from early 2021.

Results

Next up at 4 PM Central time is the rubber in session, followed at 4:30 by a one hour final practice where the cars will be set up in race trim. We will see what the drivers learn from that session.

Rosenqvist Jump-Starts 2022 Season with Virtual Victory at IMS 

  LogoFor Immediate Release 
 02-09-Esports-Challenge-Art.jpg  
 INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022) – If the virtual world is a mirror of the real thing, Felix Rosenqvist may be poised for a big rebound in the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
Rosenqvist, who was winless in the 2021 season with Arrow McLaren SP, won the inaugural INDYCAR-Motorsport Games Pro Challenge esports event Wednesday, Feb. 9 on Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He beat series rookie David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports to the finish by 3.010 seconds in the 20-minute feature race on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit. Sage Karam of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing finished third.
The top three finishers received donations to a charity of their choice, with Rosenqvist winning $10,000 for Conquer Paralysis Now, Malukas $8,000 and Karam $5,000. Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing earned $2,500 for charity in an entrant lottery among the remaining finishers in the 20-car field.
“It’s always that vibe between the drivers when we have these (virtual races),” Rosenqvist said. “We all say that we don’t take it seriously, but I definitely did. Today I think I spent the last five or six hours in the simulator. You want to do well.
“It was fun. It’s always nice in this part of the season to get a little action going between the same names you’ll be fighting in the real season and take the rust away a little bit from the months of the offseason.”
The race was the first official esports event between Motorsport Games and INDYCAR, with racing taking place on the rFactor 2 PC platform. The event was streamed live on INDYCAR’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Rosenqvist started second in the feature after combined points scored in two 10-minute heats set the starting grid. Karam, who won the second heat, took the lead from the pole at the start and extended his lead to two seconds while Rosenqvist and Malukas had a fierce side-by-side duel for second with about 16 minutes remaining.
With 11 minutes left, Rosenqvist dove under Malukas in Turn 1 to take second place and set his sights on Karam, whose tires were losing grip due to his torrid early pace. Rosenqvist cut the gap to Karam to just three-tenths of a second with about nine minutes, 30 seconds to go, trimming huge swaths of time from Karam in every corner.
It didn’t take long for Rosenqvist to dispose of Karam and take the lead for good. He passed Karam on the outside of Turn 7 at the end of the back straightaway with nine minutes, 17 seconds to go.
Rosenqvist extended his lead to two seconds with six minutes remaining and cruised to the victory. Malukas snagged second by passing Karam entering Turn 1 with four minutes, 40 seconds remaining.
Romain Grosjean of Andretti Autosport, who won the first heat, finished fourth. Rookie Christian Lundgaard of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing rounded out the top five.
The event was part of an exclusive agreement reached in July 2021 between INDYCAR and Motorsport Games, a leading racing game developer, publisher and esports ecosystem provider of official motorsport racing series throughout the world. The partnership will produce a virtual series and an INDYCAR video game expected to launch in 2023 on PlayStation, Xbox and PC.
Real-world NTT INDYCAR SERIES action starts with the 2022 season opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding on Sunday, Feb. 27 at St. Petersburg, Florida. Live coverage starts at noon (ET) on NBC, Telemundo, Peacock and INDYCAR Radio.

Portland Finish Makes Monterey Grand Prix Key for Palou

The keys to the kingdom lie just beyond Alex Palou’s grasp. Another good result at Weather Tech Raceway this coming weekend could make Long Beach a little easier for the second year Spanish driver. There are some clinching scenarios for next Sunday, but they all involve Palou getting maximum points. I don’t think that is likely to happen. His main goal is just to finish ahead of his two main competitors.

Scott McLaughlin led the first laps of his Indycar career yesterday. Photo: Joe Skibinski, Indycar

The Rookie of the Year is still up for grabs. Scott McLaughlin finished ninth and lead five laps yesterday to increase his lead over Romain Grosjean to 38 points. Grosjean had closed to within seven points in August. Grosjean sat out the first three ovals of 2021. This race is much closer than it should be, since one of the races Grosjean missed was the double points Indianapolis 500. The French driver has looked forward to Laguna Seca all year, and I suspect he will do well there. The Rookie award will not be settled until after Long Beach.

Entrant Points- The Race for 22nd

Two full time entrants will miss receiving Leaders’ Circle money for 2022. Car 7, Felix Rosenqvist currently sits 23rd with 189 points, Followed by the 59 of Max Chilton at 144 points and the number 4 of Dalton Kellett.

A strong final three races by Felix Rosenqvist will secure the Leaders’ Circle for the 7 car

Car 45. driven by Santino Ferrucci, Christian Lundgaard, and Oliver Askew. in 2021, lost the 22nd spot yesterday with a 24th place finish. The car has 171 points, but my understanding is that it is not eligible for the Leaders’ Circle because it did not run the full season.

Final Thoughts on Portland

For a track with no elevation changes, yesterday’s race had quite a few ups and downs for several drivers. Credit to the top three starters, who fought back to finish where they started.

Alexander Rossi’s first podium of the season may give him the momentum to score well in the final two races. In 2018 and 2019 he dominated at Long Beach, winning the last race there by 20 seconds. I think he breaks his winless drought in the season finale.

Good results at last- Jack Harvey and Felix Rosenqvist ended a season of with top 10 finishes Sunday. Harvey finished fourth, finally having a trouble free race. Rosenqvist crossed the line sixth. He has struggled at times this season, and has been unable to give much help to teammate O’Ward in his battle for the championship.

Callum Ilott had a respectable debut. The 2020 F2 runner up qualified 19th but finished 25th due to a mechanical issue.

Chip Ganassi Racing has won six of the 14 races this year. Scott Dixon is third on the team in number of victories. I can’t believe I had to write that.

Engine count– Palou, O’Ward, and Newgarden have all reached or exceeded their engine allowance for 2021. Scott Dixon has one engine remaining.

Rosenqvist Cleared to Drive, Will Race at Mid Ohio

From Arrow McLaren SP Twitter account:

Felix Rosenqvist has been cleared to drive by the INDYCAR Medical Team and will return to pilot the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet this weekend for the Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. https://t.co/3R6p88evvQ

The team and driver expressed appreciation to Dr. Billows and the Indycar medical team for their help in Felix’s recovery.

The Honda Indy 200 is it n NBC Sunday at noon Eastern time.

Magnussen in for Rosenqvist at Road America

Former Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen (above) will drive the number 7 Arrow McLaren SP car for the injured Felix Rosenqvist this weekend at Road America. Rosenqvist suffered injuries in a crash during the first race last Saturday in Detroit. Road America will be the second race Rosenqvist will miss.

Magnussen drove for McLaren and Haas in F1. He currently drives for Chip Ganassi Racing in IMSA as one of the drivers of the DPi Cadillac team. Magnussen’s team won the IMSA race at Detroit last Saturday.

The team’s announcement on Twitter:

Following an evaluation by the INDYCAR Medical Team, Felix Rosenqvist has not been cleared to race at this weekend’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.

Felix Rosenqvist

Felix will continue to be supported by the team as he progresses in his recovery… https://t.co/nVFcXB7PFF

Felix will be replaced for the REV Group Grand Prix by Kevin Magnussen, who will be making his INDYCAR debut. Magnussen made 19 starts for the McLaren Formula 1 team in 2014, including a career-best finish of second at the Australian Grand Prix that year. https://t.co/deZpO5a6E7

Felix will be replaced for the REV Group Grand Prix by Kevin Magnussen, who will be making his INDYCAR debut. Magnussen made 19 starts for the McLaren Formula 1 team in 2014, including a career-best finish of second at the Australian Grand Prix that year. https://t.co/deZpO5a6E7