INDIANAPOLIS — Felix Rosenqvist is back to compete in his third Indianapolis 500. He’ll do so away from Chip Ganassi Racing as he left Ganassi for Arrow McLaren SP for the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season. That change he says, has been tougher than he honestly thought it would be.
“I would say it’s tougher than I thought because the setups are really different,” Rosenqvist told me on Wednesday morning from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “It’s just taking a lot of time to really understand the car because it’s a really different philosophy.”
As far as the results, there’s more to what they’ve shown thus far. He sits 18th in points with a best result of 12th. Oddly enough, that finish isn’t on a place where Rosenqvist says was one of his strongest races.
He says they had a good car in Barber and for both races at Texas. They just didn’t get the finishes that they deserved.
“I think there we really did what we could,” he continued on St. Pete and the GP here. “I think for the other three races we showed a lot of potential but we didn’t get the points from those. That was a bummer. That’s the kind of thing, getting to know the car, getting to know the team, I couldn’t be happier with the team to be honest. I have great people around me. The only thing is the car hasn’t really been to my liking on the road courses and that’s something we’re working on. Here on the ovals, it’s been really good so far.”
The last couple of years, Rosenqvist finished 28th and 12th respectively here as he says that ovals were something that it’s taken the longest to get used to. Now, he’s getting more and more comfort inside of the cockpit on them.
Part of that comfort is the advise he’s had from past teammates. He had Scott Dixon at his disposal with Ganassi. He has two-time Indy 500 champion now with Juan Pablo Montoya.
“Here is huge,” the third year driver said on Wednesday morning from IMS on the help you can get from teammates here. “You always learn something. I say ovals are still the site that every time I go in the car I learn something. I’m open to all kinds of tips and tricks I can get. That’s huge. If you don’t have a good teammate, it’s very hard to learn. I think we make for a great team between me, Juan and Pato for sure.”
In terms of what Montoya brings to him, Rosenqvist said his openness.
“He’s very open to be honest,” he said. “He’s a competitor. He won’t give away and same with Scott (Dixon), I think they’re both very competitive. They’re both very talented. They both know what they want. If you ask them, they’ll tell you. They’re honest people.”
Rosenqvist said that sometimes competitors are really secret about stuff and don’t divulge as much as they could. Even so, getting advise he says is one thing, actually implementing it is another.
“Telling someone isn’t the whole story. You still have to do it,” he continued. “Maybe it doesn’t work for every driving style. It’s definitely very specific but maybe it doesn’t work for you. Me, Pato and Juan, we have a lot of open conversations.”
So far, Rosenqvist says that his speedway car feels good. That comfort comes from how fast he was in Texas.
“Texas, especially Race 2, I think I probably had the best car in the race,” he said. “I came from the back to I think P6 at the time and had a bad pit stop. I was really excited about how quick the car was. I think we made some big strides from Texas on what I need.”
Rosenqvist, says that having a Chevy now here could honestly help in comparison to a Honda.
“I say at Indy it’s a bit less of a difference,” he said in comparing the two manufacturers. “On the road course it’s a bit more. Chevy is a bit more peak power and Honda is a bit more torque. I think for the season, it’s pretty much a draw. I feel like the Chevy is really good on the ovals. I feel like the engine really thrives on the ovals. That’s pretty exciting for Indy. Texas as well. You feel really good power with Chevy.”