By: Ashley McCubbin
During the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist raced for opposing teams in the series, and battled for the win at Road America in the final closing laps.
It was this battle at Road America which O’Ward reflected to in looking forward to having Rosenqvist as a teammate at Arrow McLaren SP in 2021.
“What stood out to me is the respect we have for each other,” O’Ward told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “I think we both race really hard, but we gave each other room and he’s someone that I can fully trust going 190 mph into a corner, a hard braking zone, and you say this guy will give me a room –at least enough to stay on the track. I wish I could say that about everybody, but that is racing. There’s some guys that will give you the race and give you respect for your car area and there’s others that will shove you out.
“So it was good to have that battle because that gave me the reassurance of respect – I think that’s the main idea here. We both know that we can race without one putting each other’s race in jeopardy, and two, now that we’re teammates, we can work together.”
O’Ward is entering his second full-time season of competition, while Rosenqvist got his sophomore campaign out of the way last year with Chip Ganassi Racing. Each took diverse roads in reaching the pinnacle of open-wheel competition, which is another strong suit for them to fall back on together.
“(He’s) someone that has experience in many different series that I haven’t even been to,” O’Ward added. “I think I’ve driven cars that he hasn’t driven, which I think ultimately gives the engineers an advantage to try and find what we can create and make us both better.”
The excitement in working together is reflected by Rosenqvist as well, in saying he prefers to work with someone whom he can have fun, and O’Ward fits the bill.
“You always want the teammate to able to push yourself and drag out any weakness you have and work on it – and I’m sure Pato will be able to do that, and I can do that with him as well. He’s certainly younger than me, but I’m also not very old, either,” Rosenqvist said last month. “I think we’ll complement each other well and have gotten to know each other really well over these past couple months. We’ve been working together over these past few months – very fun guy to be around, a lot of energy, very social which is super cool.”
The pair will hope to reach victory lane this season, behind the wheel of their respective rides which were revealed last week.