Rosenqvist credits strong pace to MSR’s trust in his leadership

Felix Rosenqvist says that his regular presence at the top of the IndyCar times this season is down to the leadership role he has adopted at Meyer Shank Racing. After qualifying on the front row at St. Petersburg and finishing third in the non-championship round at Thermal Club, Rosenqvist ended opening practice at Long Beach in fourth, and the top Honda representative.

After two seasons at Chip Ganassi Racing alongside Scott Dixon, and three at Arrow McLaren partnering Pato O’Ward, Rosenqvist joined Meyer Shank Racing this year as partner to Tom Blomqvist. Although Blomqvist knows the team better having raced for two years in IMSA (winning the title in 2022) and starting three IndyCar races last year as a sub for the injured Simon Pagenaud, he is nonetheless an IndyCar rookie.

Naturally, therefore, Rosenqvist’s five years of experience in the NTT IndyCar Series has meant he spearheads the Meyer Shank’s setup direction on race weekends, and he says he’s reveling in this prominent role.

“Sure, I feel like they’re really behind me, which is huge,” he said. “I mean, I think honestly everywhere I’ve been in IndyCar, I’ve felt good support. Maybe this year it’s a bit different ’cause I have to step into that role.

“I have to trust that my direction is going to be good both for me and Tom. He’s getting up to speed still. He’s a rookie. A lot of these places are new tracks and new experiences for him, where I’m kind of feeding out of what I did in the past.

“It’s been working good so far. I feel like we get it right more times than we don’t. We’re not perfect, obviously. We want to do better. Yeah, it’s been gelling well between us. It’s a rewarding experience, as well, because it’s tough. Pato probably knows what it’s like when you’re the leading driver in the team. It’s also pressure that you want to take the right decision and lead the team in the right direction. Yeah, it’s going really well so far. Happy for them to put that trust behind me.”

Rosenqvist said it was no surprise that his MSR Honda’s strong pace from St. Pete had carried through to Long Beach.

“I think they’re both kind of in the same family of track,” he said. “They’re fairly smooth for being street courses, if you compare to Toronto and Detroit. They’re the more aggressive ones we go to. Also Nashville…which we’re not going to anymore.

“I think a lot of it [applies] here. We took our package and polished it a little bit for what we need here. It’s essentially more or less the same car…

“We’ve been confident, especially on the street courses. Still kind of learning how to work with each other every run out there. Yeah, happy so far. Solid.”

The 32-year-old Swede also observed some notable improvements in the Long Beach track surface for its 49th Grand Prix, particularly the corner leading onto the back straight.

“Turn 8 was quite a big difference,” he said. “I didn’t actually know it was different. I know they did some modifications, but I didn’t think that was the worst place.

“It’s really nice now. You can carry a ton of speed. I think there’s going to be some interesting onboard footage in qualifying for you to watch, for sure.

“They’ve done a good job. I think even in Turn 5 they did a curve modification that seemed to work well for us.”

Story originally appeared on Racer