AMSP seeks to raise Rosenqvist in 2022
Arrow McLaren SP came close to winning the NTT IndyCar Series Championship in his second season with Pato O’Ward, who notched two wins and was a regular podium threat throughout the year. The same couldn’t be said of new teammate Felix Rosenqvist, who arrived from Chip Ganassi Racing with a win and high expectations that he would help form a solid duo with O’Ward.
And while 2021 was a lost season in many ways for Rosenqvist, who started off slow and then missed two laps while recovering from the crash that sent his car speeding through barriers in Detroit, improvements have been made. were seen later in the year with an eighth in Nashville and a sixth in Portland.
As the new year approaches, AMSP President Taylor Kiel said the team’s goal was to develop chassis configurations to suit Rosenqvist’s needs while eliminating any other loopholes that prevented the Swedish to show his full potential.
“It’s the top priority this offseason,” Kiel said. “Winning a championship is definitely the goal. And the fact that Felix is also fighting only benefits the program in total. So we spent a ton of time looking race by race, event by event, situation by situation, where we fell on this side of the team. And I think in the end it wasn’t one thing. It was truly a comedy of mistakes throughout the season.
“At the start of the season, Felix was not completely comfortable with the package that we developed as a team, while Pato had a year of experience with the car, and it is true that we had really developed the car around Pato and his driving style … And as you know, it’s very unique.
O’Ward’s penchant for the rag of his No.5 Chevrolet on most circuits is a spectacular thing to watch that pays big dividends as well. As the team deduced in preseason testing, Rosenqvist – and even his May teammate Juan Pablo Montoya – found the Mexican’s chassis setups to be nearly impossible to drive. Developing something that worked for the rest of the AMSP riders became a challenge that improved, but was not necessarily resolved, at the end of the season.
“As he likes to point out, Pato has very fast hands, he drives a car on the limit, and he’s able to do it easily – or it looks easy,” Kiel continued. “It often raises eyebrows on the clock, but he’s capable of doing it and producing lap times. Felix, that’s not his style.
“And that doesn’t mean that Felix’s style isn’t quick, because he turned out to be quick, and that’s ultimately why we signed him. But we took a step back and decided to go into it. a different direction for Felix, and you started to see the pace and results of that towards the end of the season. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight, especially when you’re limited by track testing and the other things you really need to change course like that, so we’re going in the right direction with him.
Beyond customizing the chassis setups for Rosenqvist, Kiel said the No.7 Chevy team is working hard to fix the rest of the issues that have ruined their season.
“There were mistakes in the pit lane, there were mistakes by Felix and his driving, penalties for speeding,” he said. “That stuff, it’s just that they kill you. It’s like watching a football game and driving around the field and listening to a detention penalty; these things absolutely kill you. And that’s really what happened to us. We lost a tire and a pit stop in Texas, where Felix would have been there to challenge when he arguably had a better car than Pato (race winner). In Indianapolis, he was leading an alternate strategy, getting a speeding penalty in the pit lane.
“Detroit, he had his big accident. Once again he was leading (race winner) Marcus (Ericsson) on this strategy. There are a lot of ifs and buts. I can even come back to Barber if he doesn’t have a chance in qualifying. The whole season could have been different. What I trust is Felix, and his ability and the ability of our team to rally and bounce back.
According to Kiel, the AMSP review process for entry # 7 produced solid feedback that should bring Rosenqvist and O’Ward closer together on the timing and race results sheets.
“I know for a fact that we’ve done our homework, we’ve identified the areas that we need to consolidate, and we’re probably going to make small changes all over the place to scale things up a bit. little, ”he said. “But at the end of the day it comes down to the execution, and our guys and girls in the pit lane are doing their jobs, and our engineers are doing their jobs and our drivers are doing their jobs. I know we’ve got the right ones. people in all of these roles.We just need to run.
“So 2022 gives us the opportunity to do that and the opportunity to prove that Felix is a top driver, and the combination of Pato and Felix can be powerful for us. It is certainly my expectation. Throughout the season Felix was an absolute professional, and never looked down or pointed the finger. I have to imagine this is probably one of his toughest years in motorsport. We are therefore going to do our part to ensure that this does not happen again. And I think he’s going to come into 2022 totally invigorated and ready to go and ready to fight Pato and try to win a championship.