Rosenqvist: “IndyCar is the toughest beast yet”
Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Felix Rosenqvist says that the Dallara-Honda he’s been driving this year is the most difficult car he’s needed to master in his astonishingly varied career.
Despite not turning 28 until November, Rosenqvist has enjoyed a remarkably varied career since winning the Formula Renault Asia title back in 2007.
The Swede has taken on several FRenault championships, Formula Palmer Audi, several Formula 3 championships, Indy Lights, GT championships, DTM, IMSA Prototype Challenge, Formula E, Super Formula, Porsche Carrera Cup and LMP2 WEC cars.
But the 2015 European Formula 3 champion says that learning the intricacies of competing in the NTT IndyCar Series has been the biggest demand yet – and required a revised mental approach.
Rosenqvist, who leads the Rookie of the Year standings by 26 points over Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne Racing) and 49 over Colton Herta (Harding Steinbrenner Racing), currently lies eighth overall in the championship ahead of series veterans such as Sebastien Bourdais, Graham Rahal and James Hinchcliffe.
He said: “I think the rookies have definitely made a statement this year! Having raced all over the planet, I would say that IndyCar is the toughest beast yet to master for me.
“I think Colton Herta and I have had similar years where it took off a bit too fast, and then the reality of IndyCar struck us, and a change of approach was needed. I have definitely calmed down during the year, trying to take what's there every weekend instead of forcing myself into errors [by] trying to go for the top spot at any cost.
“I also think that's why I'm the leading rookies right now. The speed has been there from the start, but it's just so much more needed to take the points every weekend. Speed alone will not give you success in this championship.”
Rosenqvist took pole position for the IndyCar Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course, and in qualifying on most road/street courses he’s been impressively close to – or occasionally just ahead of – five-time champion teammate Scott Dixon.
The highlight race results of his season so far were an amazingly close runner-up finish to Dixon at Mid-Ohio, and another second place to Team Penske’s Will Power at Portland.
“I've been on quite a streak on the road courses lately and I feel hungry for that first win,” he said. “Laguna would be just the right place to get it done.
“Being with Chip Ganassi Racing for my rookie season has been more helpful than anything. The team has given me access to everything in order to become ready to win races. I think the field is so tight these days that literally anyone can be fast, but what CGR does differently is getting all the details right, and that's why they normally come out on top!"
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