Better communication drives Rosenqvist to a strong groove

Better communication drives Rosenqvist to a strong groove

Felix Rosenqvist produces the best piece of his NTT INDYCAR SERIES career and it makes the Swedish racer feel like his old self.

A sixth place finish in the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America last Sunday presented by AMR gave Rosenqvist his fourth consecutive top-10 finish. It’s a run that started when he finished sixth in the GMR Grand Prix on the IMS road course last month, followed by fourth in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and 10th in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.

Never in Rosenqvist’s three previous NTT INDYCAR SERIES seasons has he amassed a consistent run of races like this. Twice before, he scored three consecutive top-10 finishes.

The run gives Rosenqvist a good feeling en route to two weekends before the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to action at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday, July 3 for the Honda Indy 200 in Mid-Ohio. Powered by the all-new 2023 Civic Type R (12:30 p.m. ET, live on NBC and INDYCAR Radio Network).

But as any driver can attest, there could have been more.

“To finally come out on the other side and get positive results from your work, I think that’s always very rewarding,” he said. “But it’s not like we won four races in a row or finished in the top five. I think that’s just the nature of everything, but everyone in the team, we’re always looking at what we could have done or what we could have done.”

Rosenqvist’s 2022 campaign got off to a rocky start in St. Petersburg. He qualified 21st and finished 17th, followed by a pole in Texas, but a mechanical failure left him 21st. Since the third race of the year at Long Beach, Rosenqvist has shown solid pace, especially in qualifying.

He admitted that there were a few things that he and his No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet team at the start of the year. He said that after finishing 16th at Barber Motorsports Park in May, he and the team sat down and had an honest talk.

They discussed what they needed to do to improve their team, their running position and overall performance in what is a contract year for Rosenqvist. He said his biggest request was better communication between everyone.

The following week, Rosenqvist scored his first top-10 finish of the season on the IMS road course.

“If you want to put it down to one thing, I’d probably say communication between everyone in the car has been better,” he said. “At least that’s what I told the team, if you have something you want to ask or improve on, just say it. We are all here to help each other and we all believe in each other.

“We say so often that if we can put it all together, we’ll get really good. And yes, from that point on it seems like we’ve kind of been on the right track. I think that was kind of a turning point.”

Since that conversation, Rosenqvist ran straight with, or even ahead of, his teammate, Pato O’Ward, in a refreshing run for the Swede after a difficult 2021 season in which he finished 21st in the championship while O’Ward was a title contender down to the last. race of the year at Long Beach.

In the first four races of this season, Rosenqvist had an average finish of 16.25. In the last four races, his average finish is 6.5. In addition, he and compatriot Marcus Ericsson are the only drivers to have finished in the top 10 in the past four races.

Rosenqvist said this run takes him back to his rookie year in 2019, when he came out of the gate strong for Chip Ganassi Racing and nearly won his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES start with a fourth-place finish in St. Petersburg.

From there, Rosenqvist ran strong all year, including three consecutive top-10 finishes and finishing the year sixth in the championship.

It was a strong year that attracted a lot of heads and let Rosenqvist snooker that every season would be as successful as 2019. The irony of all this is that Rosenqvist thought 2019 was a bad year.

“My first year I got confused because I almost won my first race ever,” he said. “I guess I didn’t understand what was coming next with the ovals and different types of tracks and just the car in general, like how random it could be.

“I actually thought it was a bit of a bad year at the time. I wanted to win more. I wanted to win races and finish in the top three in the championship. I had big goals for myself.”

He admitted that your best season yet as your freshman “can be annoying at times,” but it’s also a reminder of what he can do. Rosenqvist still has those big goals and he still believes he can achieve them. He scored his one and only win in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2020 at Road America, but he feels like he’s on the cusp of another win.

The upcoming races on the schedule are an opportunity for Rosenqvist to continue his string of successes and show more improvement as a team.

“It’s important not to get greedy and not lose sight of it,” he said. “I think there are still many ifs and buts. You know, if we had just done that differently, we could have had a really, really good result. It’s so hard to get a good result, and the fact that we just have consistent results is an indicator that bigger things are coming. †

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