Felix Rosenqvist is back with his first PolePosition column since the start of the IndyCar season – and as a race winner! Here he talks through a rollercoaster start to the season, what it’s like to have been in Victory Lane, and why he’s hopeful his championship’s about to turn around
It’s a really cool feeling to be an IndyCar winner. I think winning in IndyCar beats my first Formula E win by a little bit. The two categories are the same level but a very different challenge. In Formula E you learn and you learn and then suddenly you just felt confidence during the whole day and that’s what gave you the win. In IndyCar it can change so quickly. That’s why the win means a lot because it’s just a small chance that it will be your day. And it is for everyone even for Dixon, Josef Newgarden, and all the champions in the series. It’s a big deal to win, and you never really know when it’s gonna be there.
I just felt happy that we took the opportunity and everything panned out with the right strategy, and we had good pace. You never really go into a race and think ‘oh, this one we have in the bag’. It’s more like the race evolved to something, and then you see an opportunity and then you go for it. The day before we had an engine issue, which happens, so finished in the back after a pretty good race. Day two, we stayed out longer than all the others, we were pretty good on the long run, so we could just do a few really good laps in that whole exchange and basically come out in P3 after the first pitstop cycle, having started P7. From there on it was just a hunt for leader. It’s a cool track and the way it happened was really spectacular as well, having the overtake in the second last lap. We had some fans there as well that weekend, it made it even more special compared to the other races where it’s just been empty.
I’m definitely aiming to have another win this year if we put everything together, and really climb up to hopefully top five pretty soon. It’s very tight, two or three good races and you’re gonna be up there, especially with the Indy 500 coming up with double points. After six races it’s kind of a miracle that I’m actually in the top 10 in the championship! I think that also shows that everyone in the championship is struggling with consistency except my Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, basically. My win is my only top 10 finish this year, which is crazy.
Texas was great weekend until crashing out with 10 laps ago, it was just spot on, considering my hopes and where I was last year it was just a great race. Iowa was funny, none of us in the team were particularly strong in qualifying but I was actually the best qualifier in the team, which I didn’t really expect after practice. But I equalled my best qualifying position this whole season, including the road courses, and race one was actually pretty decent. I think we were good enough to be top 10, but we just kind of went for the wrong strategy staying out really long. Race two was just a disaster for me struggling with balance and when you struggle with balance on an oval you just fall like a rock. And it was just a long race. I’ve definitely learned a lot on the ovals. I wish the results were better in Iowa, because I was kind of ready to finally get a top five finish on ovals but I still have to wait for another few weeks to make that happen. It’s important to not panic because you don’t need to struggle a lot, it’s just really hard to get out of that hole during the race.
So, I’ll just try to learn everything and try to repeat Texas on the next oval basically. Marcus Ericsson, my other teammate, has always been P8, P9, P10 the whole season with a few standouts like Road America and Indy. I think that’s the key. If you can be like top seven, top six-ish that’s going to be good enough to really climb a lot, because everyone is having ups and downs all the time. I think it’s gonna turn around, it feels like we’ve been through everything already. It’s cool that everything is so tight, and it’s still everything to play for. I’m not the only one, so one or two good races, you can actually be like P3 in the championship. Nothing is lost, for sure.
IndyCar is not the only championship doing a good job to get it’s season under way. In Sweden it’s huge for the whole country to have something actually going on, and the Carrera Cup looks like a great field and good guest drivers. The important thing is it’s tough for everyone right now but if someone is strong and pulls through and does the job good like Carrera Cup is doing and like IndyCar, that’s what actually makes the future good as well.
There is a lot of championships who are struggling and it’s kind of hard to see the light in the tunnel. But I’m really happy that there are championships that are still thriving and doing well and that are competitive and people are showing they really want to do it, all the drivers and teams.
It looks like it’s gonna be a great season there as well.