Almost half a year has passed since Felix Rosenqvist agreed a deal to race for title-winning squad Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series. Patiently preparing for his debut in America’s premier single-seater championship ever since, the wait finally comes to an end this weekend as the Swedish rookie descends on the Streets of St. Petersburg for the opening round of battle.
“I’ve been waiting for this weekend since September, and I’m thrilled to finally be here in St. Pete,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It’s such an exciting moment for me and for everyone on the NTT DATA car; it’s so hard to know what to expect. Having said that, I’m feeling better than ever and I’m looking forward massively to hitting the track.”
Hosting this weekend’s season-opener is the 2.9 km St. Petersburg street circuit, scenically laid out on the vibrant city’s picturesque coastline. Having won from pole at the Florida venue in IndyCar feeder series Indy Lights in 2016, Rosenqvist arrives with positive memories as he prepares to slot in beside five-time and reigning champion Scott Dixon at the iconic Ganassi outfit.
“Racing alongside Scott is just as good as it gets,” Rosenqvist continues. “He is a fantastic driver and I will try to learn as much from him as I possibly can. We are quite similar in terms of personality and we get along really well, so I think we’ll be pushing things in a good direction.”
As for his previous knowledge of the St. Petersburg track, however, Rosenqvist doesn’t expect that fact to be of any major impact.
“It’s always nice to know your way around and I do have positive memories from here after winning in Indy Lights, but at the end of the day most of my rivals have driven here a lot more – and in IndyCar machinery,” Rosenqvist concludes. “We will see how it goes. Pre-season was better than I could have expected. I will give it absolutely everything I’ve got and we’ll see what the stopwatch says in qualifying.”
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On-track action begins in earnest on Friday with two times 45 minutes of practice. A further practice session will follow on Saturday morning, leading into the first qualifying showdown of the year – providing a first true glimpse of the relative performance of the 24-car field.
The race runs over 110 laps on Sunday, starting at 13.30 local time.
Felix Rosenqvist drives the #10 NTT DATA car, powered by Honda. He is one of five rookies on the 2019 IndyCar grid, alongside countryman Marcus Ericsson (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), Briton Ben Hanley (DragonSpeed) and American duo Colton Herta (Harding Steinbrenner Racing) and Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne).
All times local – US Eastern
Friday 8 March
Free Practice 1: 10.45-11.30
Free Practice 2: 14.20-15.05
Saturday 9 March
Free Practice 3: 10.25-11.10
Sunday 10 March
Race (110 laps): 13.30
LIVE TIMING: racecontrol.indycar.com