Rosenqvist deal revelation creates new McLaren driver twist

IndyCar groups have been placed on excessive alert by the information that Felix Rosenqvist reportedly hasn’t signed a contract for 2023 with McLaren Racing, regardless of the crew asserting he had in June.

On Thursday a key participant within the foolish season, Rinus VeeKay, took himself out of the market by signing an extension along with his present crew Ed Carpenter Racing.

He gave the impression to be the final race successful driver accessible in the marketplace however the revelation that Rosenqvist has not signed a bodily contract – first reported by Racer and now independently verified by The Race’s personal sources – has reignited the motive force market.

A June 23 press launch from the crew had learn: “McLaren Racing has signed a multi-year cope with Felix Rosenqvist to stay on the crew’s driver roster from 2023 and past”.

In that press launch Rosenqvist was quoted as saying: “I’m excited and grateful to be given this chance to discover the brand new choices accessible to utilise my expertise to assist McLaren begin 2023 on the strongest doable footing.”

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The June announcement didn’t verify precisely the place Rosenqvist would race as McLaren has additionally launched a Components E crew and within the background it was engaged on signing reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou.

That has since blown up in dramatic style, with Ganassi asserting it had prolonged Palou’s contract after which McLaren asserting its perception it had truly signed him solely hours later.

The result of that saga is at the moment set to be determined in court docket though it’s nonetheless technically doable the groups may come to a non-public settlement.

Rosenqvist is the one driver who has gained in each IndyCar and Components E, so it’s straightforward to see why Zak Brown and McLaren wished to maintain him within the fold. Asserting that Rosenqvist would stay a part of McLaren ultimately would additionally deflect different groups away from pursuing him.

Sources recommend Rosenqvist was content material for McLaren to make the announcement in June, and the truth that he has talked about being “dedicated” to the crew for subsequent yr since then underlines his acceptance of the choice to announce an extended relationship despite the fact that an precise contract is now believed to not have been in place.

Maybe he was not involved with different groups pondering he was off the market as a result of he has been so vocal about how completely satisfied he’s with the crew engaged on the #7 automotive and wished to remain.

He’s been cautious to not focus on particulars of his contract on the file with the media.

Final month in the course of the Iowa weekend Rosenqvist mentioned: “I actually get pleasure from working with these guys and ladies. I believe it’s all the time onerous, from the emotional facet, to suppose that you just may depart them, depart your office.

“As a result of I believe as you get older, you’ve sort of realized that that’s every little thing you need, you need the place that you just’re completely satisfied to work with the individuals.

“It’s much less about what championship or which sponsor. I believe it’s all about having that group, which I believe I lastly have now.

“That’s clearly onerous, however we’ll see the place it goes. Clearly, I can solely do one factor and that’s simply push and we’ll see the place we land.”

Whether or not the connection with McLaren has soured amid a sophisticated state of affairs whereby he nonetheless doesn’t know the place he’ll be racing in 2023 – and the way the Palou state of affairs has been dealt with and impacted that – is unknown.

The information rising does seem like at a handy time given every little thing that’s occurring within the driver market.

Rosenqvist has admirers in different groups, too.

Again in July in Toronto, Graham Rahal made unprovoked feedback about Rosenqvist, praising the motive force and saying he hoped he would keep in IndyCar subsequent yr.

Requested about these feedback in on the subsequent race Rosenqvist mentioned: “I actually admire that, it was actually touching to listen to that from him after the race.

“Clearly I’m dedicated to McLaren Racing proper now however I actually admire it.”

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We all know now that that McLaren dedication just isn’t binding a minimum of on paper, so Rahal Letterman Lanigan is likely to be an possibility for Rosenqvist if he’s fascinated about testing the market.

Though the crew will likely be determined to maintain rookie ace Christian Lundgaard, Jack Harvey is on a long-term deal regardless of a poor run of type that leaves him twenty second within the championship and Rahal himself must retire to release his automotive.

Andretti Autosport is likely to be a extra apparent alternative for Rosenqvist as it would enter 2023 with 22-year-old Colton Herta as its most skilled IndyCar driver.

Rosenqvist debuted in the identical yr as Herta, however a minimum of combines related longer-term motorsport expertise like Andretti’s Romain Grosjean with that extra intensive IndyCar expertise.

Andretti doesn’t technically have a seat accessible at current. Together with Herta and Grosjean, it has signed Kyle Kirkwood to exchange Alexander Rossi (one other McLaren recruit). Its fourth automotive is occupied by Devlin DeFrancesco, who was signed as a rookie this season on a multi-year deal, however there was intense hypothesis not too long ago over whether or not he’ll proceed subsequent yr.

Each different crew on the grid that has a seat is prone to be in contact with Rosenqvist now too, together with Juncos which is increasing to a different automotive alongside Callum Ilott subsequent yr though it is likely to be extra tempted to deliver a driver with price range in, like AJ Foyt Racing.

Dropping Rosenqvist fully would additionally create a driver market headache for McLaren in Components E, the place it’s understood to have signed former Audi racer Rene Rast for one seat however can be in need of choices for the opposite if it can not slot Rosenqvist in.

Given Rosenqvist has made his desire for staying in IndyCar over returning to Components E clear, the possibilities of him being on the 2023 FE grid now seem close to zero if McLaren has no contractual manner of guaranteeing it.

This information additionally is available in the identical week that McLaren has turn into concerned in a bombshell Components 1 driver market state of affairs, as it’s considered the choice crew that Alpine reserve Oscar Piastri’s administration has performed a cope with.

Alpine introduced Piastri as a 2023 driver following the shock lack of Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin, just for Piastri to publicly declare two hours later that he had not signed a deal and wouldn’t be racing for the crew.

A Contract Recognition Board ruling is now prone to determine that row, with Piastri’s McLaren place additionally relying on the crew having discovered a approach to half firm with Daniel Ricciardo in a state of affairs the place the choice to finish the deal early is on Ricciardo’s facet, not McLaren’s.

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Within the area of two months, McLaren has introduced signing two drivers that it may not truly find yourself having in 2023 relying on the end result of Rosenqvist’s future and Palou’s court docket case.

It’s a really weird state of affairs.

The Race has contacted McLaren Racing for remark.

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