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Rosenqvist won’t let 2024 Palou speculation distract him

Felix Rosenqvist says talk regarding his future at Arrow McLaren is not something he thinks about, and instead he’s focused on 2023.

Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Despite Arrow McLaren’s expansion to three cars for this season, Rosenqvist’s job was under threat last summer, with Pato O’Ward remaining on board, Alexander Rossi having been signed in spring, and 2021 IndyCar champion Alex Palou seemingly set to join the squad.

However, Palou was unable to extricate himself from the Ganassi squad for 2023, and thus was unable to replace Rosenqvist as he had done at Ganassi in ’21. At that point, McLaren CEO Zak Brown was more than happy to retain Rosenqvist for this year, but there still appears to be one McLaren driver’s ride under threat for ’24, assuming Palou joins the squad next year.

Yet Rosenqvist denied that it’s something that occupies his thoughts.

“First of all, I don't know what's going to happen in the future. That's a long time until next year.

“As I said, I think it's a great opportunity for me. I'm in a good spot. I'm in a well-performing team, not only in Arrow McLaren but my #6 car I think is going to be strong this year. I feel well with everyone around me. I feel like I have a good support from the team to go and perform.

“I don't really think too much about that stuff. I just try to do what I can do, which is go fast forward and try to win races.”

Equally, the 31-year-old Swede who beat Rossi to eighth in the championship last year said he felt that he had dealt fine the speculation that surrounded him in the second half of last season.

“I think it went pretty well, to be honest,” he said. “I think I handled it probably as good as I could. That's probably a reason why I'm here this year.

“I think it's a massive opportunity for me to be back for a third year. I feel like I have all the tools I need to perform, feeling very good with everyone at the car. As I said, there's so many things happening last year on and off the track. I think as a team, we just really learned a lot from that that we can bring into this season.

“I think we'll be tough this year. We have a lot of things in the bag to try early this season…Going into the season, we have pinpointed some areas where we feel we were lacking a little bit, like the short ovals, for example.

“I feel like we've done the best we can to attack all those areas and bring the best possible package we can going into the season.”

He pointed out that “to be with the same team for a third year is huge for me, with consistency, basically the same group as previous years, but some changes here and there. I have a new engineer this year in Chris Lawrence who is a good friend of mine. He's been on the car for many years on what used to be the #7 car, now it's the 6 car crew.

“Yeah, good to keep building on that foundation we laid. We ended the season on a very good note last year in Laguna. Yeah, just trying to continue where we left off really.”

Rosenqvist said that Rossi is already “well integrated” in the team, and is looking forward to seeing the benefits of Arrow McLaren having a third entry full-time, starting with this week’s open test at Thermal Club, near Palm Springs, CA.

“It’s obviously huge to have always a third opinion on things,” he remarked. “Every driver is different. Every driver's opinion is valuable in its own way.

“I think everyone in the team knows how me and Pato operate at this point, our differences from driver to driver. It will really be interesting to see what Alex thinks about the car, how we work. Especially here at Thermal because that's when we have time to look into operational things, bigger picture things that maybe we can improve as a team.

“We're very open to listen to him, hear what he has to say. Obviously he comes from a lot of success at Andretti. We're super excited to have him on board.”

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