Rosenqvist parts ways with McLaren, to replace Pagenaud at Meyer Shank

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Felix Rosenqvist will end his two-year waiting game with Arrow McLaren Racing by moving on next year to drive for Meyer Shank Racing.

The Swede will replace Simon Pagenaud, who has been sidelined since July with concussion-like symptoms suffered in a crash at Mid-Ohio. The MSR lineup will be completely new with Shank sports car star Tom Blomqvist set to replace Helio Castroneves.

Rosenqvist’s multi-year contract announced Tuesday ends his two seasons of uncertainty with McLaren. The team in 2022 hired Alex Palou to replace Rosenqvist this year, but then Palou could not get out of his deal with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Rosenqvist was in a holding pattern as the Palou situation worked its way through mediation. After it was decided Palou would not join McLaren until 2024, Rosenqvist still had a shot at staying with the team if it decided to expand to four cars.

McLaren was supposed to make that decision in July, but Rosenqvist could not wait with other seats in the IndyCar Series available. As it turned out, he’d agreed to move to Shank before Palou’s attorney’s informed McLaren he won’t be joining the team in 2024.

McLaren must now find a replacement for Rosenqvist, who finished a season-best second Sunday at Portland International Raceway. It was the second podium of the season for Rosenqvist, but first since Detroit in early June.

He has one career victory—at Road America in 2020, when he drove for Chip Ganassi Racing—and will complete his fifth full IndyCar season this weekend in the finale in Monterey, California.

“I’m super excited to start the next chapter of my IndyCar career together with MSR,” he said. “This will be a great opportunity for myself and MSR to elevate and get to the next level together. I’m also pretty excited to get to work with my old friend Tom again. I’m ready to start working together and getting the next season started.”

Blomqvist is already driving for Shank as Pagenaud’s replacement for the final two races of the season. He is a two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner for MSR and part of last year’s championship team.

“We’re very excited to have our 2024 IndyCar plans finalized and to welcome Felix to the team,” said co-owner Mike Shank. “Felix has been someone that has been on our radar for quite some time now and everything lined up this year to work something out with him. It’s no secret that we’ve had a difficult season, with some things out of our control and some things in our control.

“I think we are all looking forward to resetting completely, starting over and getting to work. I think Tom and Felix will work great together and really feed off of each other. We will also have Helio with us at every race to provide his feedback and advice which will be an added bonus, so I think we’re in for a solid year ahead.”

Pagenaud, the 2019 Indy 500 winner and 2016 IndyCar champion, will ultimately miss the final nine races of the year.

“I would like to wish MSR all the best and thank Mike Shank, Jim Meyer and the whole team for the valuable experiences I have gathered through the last two years,” Pagenaud posted on social media. “I wish we could have achieved more together over the last two seasons and win races, but we could not make it happen. For now my goal is to fully focus on myself and recuperating. It is a slow process, and I will continue to work with the doctors and do what is necessary to get my health back to 100%.”

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