PREVIEW: NTT INDYCAR SERIES | RD. 2
FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG
Last week’s season-opener may not have gone Felix Rosenqvist’s way, but now is a time for new hope as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES arrives in Florida for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The disappointment of Barber Motorsports Park, where Rosenqvist got dragged into a multi-car pile-up on the first lap of the season-opener, is now being traded for brighter outlooks as the Swede returns to one of his favourite tracks on the schedule.
The St. Petersburg street course was the original site of Rosenqvist’s powerful arrival on the American single-seater stage, winning at the venue on his debut in the supporting Indy Lights series back in 2016.
A few years later in 2019, the city-centre track once again played host to one of Rosenqvist’s most memorable moments as he took a headline-grabbing fourth after leading for much of the duration in his very first INDYCAR race.
“I have always enjoyed racing in St. Pete,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It’s a good feeling to be heading there now, after the difficult weekend we had at Barber. It’s the perfect place to start over, if you like. It’s a completely different track to Barber and I have had some of my best days on street tracks over the years.”
This weekend’s event marks Rosenqvist’s first opportunity to sample his new-for-2021 Arrow McLaren SP car on a street course. The Indianapolis-based team finished second with Pato O’Ward in last year’s edition of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which held the season-finale last October.
“We obviously can’t test on street tracks during the winter since they are being built specifically for the races, so I don’t really know what to expect from the car this weekend,” Felix Rosenqvist concludes. “Like the other teams, we have tried our best to simulate these conditions at places like Sebring, but it’s never quite the same. It will be interesting to see how we go and I’m excited to be back at St. Pete.”
Practice begins in Florida on Friday, with qualifying on Saturday and the 100-lap race taking place on Sunday.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES | Rd. 2
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg (USA)
All times local (U.S. Eastern)
Friday 23 April
Free Practice 1: 4:15-5:00 pm
Saturday 24 April
Free Practice 2: 9:45-10:30 am
Qualifying: 1:45-3:00 pm
Sunday 25 April
Warm-up: 09:05-09:35 am
Race (100 laps): 12:30 pm
NTT INDYCAR SERIES | After 1/17 races
1: Alex Palou (ESP), Ganassi, 53 p.
2: Will Power (AUS), Penske, 41 p.
3: Scott Dixon (NZL), Ganassi, 35 p.
4: Pato O’Ward (MEX), McLaren SP, 34 p.
5: Sebastien Bourdais (FRA), Foyt, 31 p.
21: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), McLaren SP, 9 p.