The odd motorsport slump has thrown IndyCar driver Felix Rosenqvist into a hiatus from his contract, with the Swede now desperate to keep his current spot and avoid being traded into McLaren Racing’s new Formula E team.
McLaren and Rosenqvist said in June they had agreed on a deal in which Rosenqvist would either return to IndyCar in 2023 or be the key element when it launches its FE team next season. But as Rosenqvist’s performance has improved, his desire to stay with IndyCar has clouded his future.
He is now embroiled in the battle between Chip Ganassi Racing and IndyCar Champion Alex Palou, who wants to leave Ganassi to join the McLaren family next season. Ganassi sues to stop the move.
Should Palou become available, Rosenqvist would be ousted from Arrow McLaren SP’s three-car IndyCar lineup. Palou would join Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi at IndyCar and likely be a reserve driver for the Formula One team.
The drama intensified last weekend in Nashville amid speculation that Rosenqvist was looking for a vacancy in the 2023 IndyCar paddock. After practice on Friday, Rosenqvist said his Dallara-Chevrolet No. 7 team was distracted by the uncertainty.
In a statement provided to The Associated Press on Tuesdaysaid the 30-year-old a report suggesting he was not under a McLaren contract last season” is not correct. I do.”
McLaren has an option on Rosenqvist in IndyCar, which the team is likely to hold until they have a solution for Palou. Meanwhile, Rosenqvist hasn’t signed a contract to race in Formula E for the team, but McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown told The AP he would sack Rosenqvist if he finds another ride.
“I have a great relationship with Zak Brown and McLaren and they have always been very transparent and fair with me,” Rosenqvist said in his statement. “I understand Zak has some difficult business decisions to make and has an option on my services for next season. I stand by what we announced in June.
“Since then, however, I feel like I’ve found my form in IndyCar and over the past few weeks have made it clear to Zak my desire to stay in IndyCar.”
Rosenqvist switched from Formula E to IndyCar after two seasons to join Ganassi ahead of the 2018 season. He scored one win, three podiums and one pole in two seasons with Ganassi before joining McLaren as a free agent in 2021.
He struggled in his first season with the new team in what Rosenqvist has described as the worst year of his driving career. His recovery didn’t really start until he finished fourth at the Indianapolis 500 in May – by which time Brown was already in deep talks with Rosenqvist about a move to FE.
Rosenqvist now believes he has “unfinished business” at IndyCar.
“That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to Formula E as it’s a great championship that I’ve successfully competed in,” he said in his statement. “I realize there is a lot of speculation going on at the moment about a lot of riders and their next season. All I want to do is focus on my IndyCar racing this year.
“Whatever my future holds, I will decide with Zak.”
There are three races left in the IndyCar season, which resumes on August 20 at World Wide Technology Raceway outside of St. Louis. Rosenqvist has a podium, two poles and is ninth in the IndyCar standings.
Felix Rosenqvist clarifies contract situation with McLaren in IndyCar, Formula E originally appeared on NBCSports.com