IndyCar: Ganassi hires Formula E’s Felix Rosenqvist to drive in 2019

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Formula E driver Felix Rosenqvist will replace Ed Jones for 2019 behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing NTT DATA Honda in IndyCar.

The organization announced Rosenqvist’s hiring Friday morning. He will become teammates with 2018 series champ Scott Dixon.

“To say I’m thrilled or excited to be making this step in my career would be an understatement,” Rosenqvist said in a media release. “Coming to IndyCar and driving for Chip is just a dream come true.

“I’ve followed the team for as long as I can remember, and it’s the kind of team and owner any driver would want to race for. Scott has had another tremendous season with three wins and a fifth title, so you absolutely couldn’t ask for anything more in a teammate.

“I can’t wait to start contributing to the team and getting to spend more time with everyone at NTT DATA.”

It was also announced that NTT DATA has signed a multi-year renewal to remain the primary sponsor on the No. 10 car.

Rosenqvist isn’t exactly a stranger to team owner Chip Ganassi or his organization, having tested a CGR-prepared Indy car for Dixon at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in both 2016 and 2017.

“Felix has become familiar with our team and has worked in our system a little bit after coming over to test with us on a few occasions,” Ganassi said. “Our management and engineering groups, along with the entire team, were impressed by his ability.

“The time was right to get him in the No. 10 car and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that we are confident about what he can do behind the wheel next season.”

Rosenqvist, 26, of Sweden, spent the last two seasons in the Formula E series, finishing third in 2016-17 (earning the highest-finishing rookie honors) and sixth in the most recent 2017-18 season. In 24 total races over those two seasons, Rosenqvist amassed three wins, seven podiums and six poles.

Also in 2016, Rosenqvist took part in 10 of 18 Indy Lights races, earning three wins and one pole. He finished 12th in the season standings in the part-time season effort.

Prior to that, Rosenqvist capped off a four-year run in FIA Formula 3 by winning the 2015 Formula 3 European Championship.

Dating back to his teen years, the Varnamo, Sweden native won the 2009 Formula Renault 2.0 NEX and Formula Renault 2.0 Sweden championships and was the 2008 Formula Renault 2.0 Asia Championship winner.

As for Jones, his future plans have not been announced.

Jones spent his IndyCar rookie season in 2017 with Dale Coyne Racing, earning one podium and finishing 14th in the standings.

He moved to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018 and had two podium finishes, eight top-10 showings and finished 13th in the season rankings.

The Dubai, United Arab Emirates-born driver was the 2016 Indy Lights champion and was named 2017 IndyCar Rookie of the Year. He also was 2013 European F3 Open champ.

“It’s been a difficult year on the whole,” Jones conceded in a media release. “We’ve had some very good runs but we’ve also been extremely unlucky, with several things that didn’t go our way and six races where we hemorrhaged points due to reasons ranging from punctures to mechanical issues and a couple of crashes – one of them while I was running second close to the end.

“Without that, I’m fairly confident we would have finished inside the top eight in the drivers’ table, and when you consider that six of the top seven overall are former champions, that would have been a pretty decent outcome.

“On the positive side, I’ve learned so much from working alongside both Scott and Dario (driving coach and 4-time IndyCar champ Dario Franchitti) and the opportunity to draw upon their wealth of combined experience – and I’m a stronger driver for that.”

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AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”