Rosenqvist: Lost Sugo win cost me Super Formula title
Felix Rosenqvist feels he could have won the 2017 Super Formula title, had he not lost a victory in Sugo due to getting stuck behind Kamui Kobayashi.
Rosenqvist put himself on a risky zero-stop strategy in the penultimate round of the season - and the last race to take place with the Suzuka finale getting cancelled - after qualifying a lowly 12th on the grid.
However, the Swede got held up behind former F1 driver Kobayashi, who was on a similar strategy, while making his way up the pack.
Rosenqvist finally managed to find a way past the Japanese driver, but the time lost in the process of overtaking him potentially cost him a race win, and he finished fifth.
Had he managed to clear Kobayashi earlier and won the race, he would have beaten eventual champion Hiroaki Ishiura by one point in the standings.
“Yeah, I only miss a win really. It was good to be on the podium,” Rosenqvist told Motorsport.com when asked to reflect on his maiden Super Formula campaign.
“It was always nice in the first year to show yourself on the podium Three times is pretty good, but the only thing I really miss was winning a race.
“I think Sugo was really the one that got away from us because we sort of had a really good strategy there. But we got stuck behind Kamui the whole race, who would eventually run out of fuel.
“So technically he ruined his own and our race as well because we were both on a lift and coast strategy. We lost a lot of time behind him. I think that was the race where we could have really won.
“Finally, looking back now we could have also won the championship if we had won that race. That’s the only thing looking back at saying we could have really done, should have had that one.”
Team restructuring behind early season struggles
Much like fellow rookie Pierre Gasly, Rosenqvist had a difficult start to his Super Formula campaign and was unable to score points in the first two races of the year.
Rosenqvist puts down lack of early results down to a restructuring process initiated by Team LeMans in response to a difficult 2016 season, in which it finished second-to-last in the standings.
“I think as a team we were very green at the beginning. Even if it’s an old team, the team sort of went through a new phase this year,” he explained.
“Because they were struggling hard last year so they had a lot of new people, new engineers, new mechanics, new drivers, two rookies.
“In the beginning, for sure we weren’t good, we weren’t where we wanted to be but it was just a phase we had to go through. Then we had some new people coming along the year which I think helped a lot to structure the team.
“But I think the car was always very good in the race. Even at the beginning of the year it was not bad but then it turned out to be very good. And that was our main strength all year. It was just that qualifying performance was missing.”
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