Felix Rosenqvist’s test performance has been described as “flawless” by Scott Dixon’s race engineer Chris Simmons, after the Swede tested the #9 Chip Ganassi Racing entry at Mid-Ohio for a second time.
Rosenqvist completed 100 laps in the morning session of a five-car test at Mid-Ohio, reprising his IndyCar test debut at the same venue last year.
Simmons told Motorsport.com: “He was flawless, just like we expected after last year. He did more miles in less time than in last year’s test, and there were no signs of fatigue.
“There weren’t as many cars testing this year – just four others [two Dale Coyne Racing-Hondas, two AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolets], whereas last year I think there were 17 cars. So it took quite a while for the track to rubber up, and I’m not sure it ever did get as good as last year. Mid-Ohio is kind of famous for that big difference between how it is at the start of the day to how it is at the end.
“So Felix’s time was slower than last year but he was the quickest car in the morning by a fair margin.”
Simmons said that despite his two tests being a year apart, Rosenqvist immediately identified the difference between the Honda engine and aerokit and the Chevy package that Ganassi ran last year.
“Yeah, it was like he never left!” said Simmons. “He could call the differences right away, got up to speed quickly and so we were able to start the test program with him really early on.
“So yeah – he’s fast, smart, he had good pace on old tires too… cool, calm, collected. We couldn’t ask for anything more, to be honest.”
Although rookies’ feedback is traditionally of limited use to veteran teammates in their first season together, Simmons believes Rosenqvist is at a level where he could contribute to overall team progress, and supply helpful information that four-time series champion Scott Dixon could trust.
“Yeah, absolutely he’s there already,” said Simmons. “We saw it last year, when we didn’t know what to expect and had a test plan of, ‘If we can get through these things it would be great,’ kinda thing. And we ended up doing three or four times more with him.
“So this year we went in with a longer list, and we got through that too. Felix’s feedback is good, exactly what we’ve come to expect from him now. In the afternoon we repeated a couple of setup comparisons with Scott, and the two of them ended up just a damper setting apart, and considering the different track conditions, even that wasn’t a surprise.
“You know, obviously it would take him time to figure out what his car needed to optimize it for each track, what it needs to feel like. But as far as reading changes and what they do and knowing what he wants out of the car, he’s there already.”
Simmons said that he believes that although Rosenqvist’s potential on ovals is as yet unknown, he has the talent and the right mindset to adapt.
“I think he did only a couple of ovals in Indy Lights last year, but there have been other drivers who hadn’t done any ovals at all and came in at this level and did pretty well – guys like [Juan Pablo] Montoya.
“So I think with Felix’s calm demeanor and attitude and willingness to learn, it wouldn’t take him too long to figure out the ovals.
“You never know how drivers will develop but his pace is excellent right now. We’ve only seen him in a test situation rather than over the course of a weekend, and we all know there’s a lot more that goes into this than just being fast on test days.
“But Felix’s pedigree and the races he’s won over here and in Europe, we all know he’s super-talented and personally I’d love to have him on the team. I think if he came to IndyCar, he’d be one of the top drivers in a relatively short period of time.”