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Felix Rosenqvist made his first official appearance as a member of Chip Ganassi Racing at a test earlier this week, but he was already a familiar face within the camp.
The Swedish driver joined five-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon for a two-car private team test at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on Monday. According to CGR managing director, Mike Hull, Rosenqvist turn in a “resolute” performance.
It was actually the third time Rosenqvist has driven an Indy car for the team, but the first since he was named to compete in the 2019 season. The native of Varnamo, Sweden, who turns 27 on Nov. 7, will drive the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda in the upcoming 17-race campaign.
Rosenqvist previously drove a Ganassi car in tests at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2016 and ’17.
“(Monday’s test) was great because we got to do a full day of testing with Felix,” Hull said. “The other two tests were Indy Lights split days (with Rosenqvist in the car a half-day each time). The test was good. We had both Felix and Scott testing because it is one of our three offseason team test days.
“The pathway each of them was on was slightly different. Felix is learning about Indy car racing and Scott is learning about how far we have come in the last year at Barber. They tested a lot of the same things. They were able to compare a lot of setup things during the day. I think it was a worthwhile test. The weather didn't get in our way, which was nice. We got a lot accomplished.”
Hull said Rosenqvist has been on the team's radar for a long time because he has the mental and physical ability to drive an Indy car.
“Any time you can be in that rarified air, it's a driver worthy of consideration for the IndyCar Series,” Hull said. “We tested him twice at Mid-Ohio and saw first-hand how resolute he is at wanting to be a race driver. He's the total package.
“Finally, the timing for us contractually came around. We are happy to have him.”
Rosenqvist spent much of Monday's test working with the team's veteran engineering director, Julian Robertson.
“He knows what he would like the car to do and Julian gave him what he wanted, and he worked to get the most out of it and that is what you want,” Hull said. “Lap times are a funny thing. Lap times come when you least expect it and certainly never when you want it.”
One of Rosenqvist’s best assets, Hull said, is his dedication to the process.
“On a test day, you work really, really hard to do a combination of things,” Hull said. “You work to find direction. If the ratio is 10 percent that works and 90 percent that doesn't, then you have found out an awful lot about your race car. That is what testing is all about; finding out what doesn't work.
“Felix is a solid race driver. He sits in there and keeps working at it all day long. He is not impatient with the process. He combines that with the mental side of it and the physical side of it. That is what we want.”
Rosenqvist is competing in three different racing series in 2018, including Formula E, Super GT and Porsche Supercup. It’s a testament to his versatility.
“Drivers who have positioned themselves to drive in different series simultaneously understand quickly how to adapt themselves to a car and their drive styles to that car,” Hull said. “I think there is a lot of merit in that.
“He is very positive, very upbeat and very realistic. I think that fits well with our culture.”
The 2019 IndyCar Series season opens with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in 2019.