After racing in Formula E and Indy Lights the past couple years, Felix Rosenqvist will make the next step of his racing career, running the full Verizon IndyCar Series schedule in 2019 with Chip Ganassi Racing. The Swedish driver shared his thoughts on the upcoming year recently with POPULAR OPEN WHEEL.
POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What are your thoughts on the upcoming season?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Well, a lot of thoughts at the moment. It’s a big step in my career, very exciting times with Chip Ganassi Racing. It’s one of the real top-teams in America so coming into IndyCar like that is fun, but it also puts expectations on you as well. We already started slightly to work with each other and have known each other for the last three years, and it has started off really well. I’m quite sure we’ll have success together.
POW: Why do you feel IndyCar is the next right step for your career?
FELIX: Well, it’s a good question. I come from Formula E which is a new thing in Europe right now. Obviously it was a big decision to move away from that having won many races there and having become an established driver there. I think what made me make the move to the US is just the way the cars are so much fun to drive, the racing is really good, and the tracks are always really challenging for the driver in a different way than Europe. I’d say it’s like challenging myself to go here and try something new. I think it’s definitely been the right decision as I love driving these cars.
POW: Being your rookie campaign, what are your goals and expectations?
FELIX: It’s always hard to say in motorsports because you never really know how it’ll go until you’re in the midst of qualifying for the first round at St. Pete. Normally when I come to a new series, my goal is to win a race in the first year. If you manage to win a race, obviously there’s a new set of goals – maybe championships and success there. I’d say winning a race is your breakthrough in any series and that’s my goal for next year.
POW: What tracks are you most excited to get to next year?
FELIX: It’s a mix; there are many tracks that I have raced on that I look forward to coming back to, like Toronto. Toronto is one of my all-time favorites. I think it’ll be cool to get to Road America. I think that’s the one in America that I really missed out on when I did Indy Lights. I did a couple starts in Indy Lights, and I didn’t get to race there and everybody speaks really well about it. So I’d say those two tracks are the highlights.
POW: Getting that experience in Indy Lights, how much do you feel that will help you this year?
FELIX: Well, I think it’s good just to get used to the atmosphere in America. I know quite a lot of people in the organization, and a couple of drivers that are now in IndyCar. I think it just makes it feel less new when you come here. I wouldn’t say the actual experience on-track would make a big difference, but obviously knowing some of the tracks is a good start. I think I’ve raced on the five of the circuits before so I at least have something, which is good.
POW: How did you originally get started in racing?
FELIX: I actually started doing alpine skiing when I was really young, like two-years-old. I did competitions till I was like 14. In the last couple of years there was a friend of mine on my skiing team that had a go-kart and I tired that when I was 10-years-old. I then started competing when I was like 11, so the last three years of skiing career I did both. Then at that point, we had to budget and time-wise in which decision we wanted to go for, and obviously motor racing career was what I wanted to chase.
POW: Looking through your career to date, what’s been the most memorable moment for you?
FELIX: Winning the Macau Grand Prix. I would say that was my biggest breakthrough, and biggest memory as well in my career. That was in 2014.
POW: Who is your racing hero?
FELIX: I would say Mika Häkkinen. He was my childhood favorite, but I wouldn’t say I have someone that is really my inspiration or something like that. But growing up watching Formula 1, Mika Häkkinen was my favorite driver.
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