IndyCar: McLaren make minor change to 2023 lineup

Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Felix Rosenqvist, not Alexander Rossi, is set to drive the third Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet in the 2023 IndyCar season, amid the team’s expansion to three cars.

After running two full-time entries in each of their first three seasons in IndyCar following the merger of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and McLaren, Arrow McLaren SP are set to expand to three cars on a full-time basis for the 2023 season.

While the team did sign Alex Palou, a bizarre sequence of events ultimately led to the 2021 champion remaining with Chip Ganassi Racing for another year behind the wheel of the #10 Honda. Palou is slated to join Arrow McLaren SP in 2024, though official confirmation hasn’t been made.

Pato O’Ward is set to remain behind the wheel of the #5 Chevrolet for a fourth year, but while Felix Rosenqvist is set to return for a third year as his teammate, he will not be behind the wheel of the #7 Chevrolet for a third season.

Instead, Alexander Rossi, who spent the first seven years of his career with Andretti Autosport, is set to drive the #7 Chevrolet in 2023.

Rosenqvist is set to move to the #6 Chevrolet.

The #6 car hasn’t been run full-time since 2018, when it was rookie Robert Wickens behind the wheel before his devastating accident at Pocono Raceway.

Aside from the two races in which Carlos Munoz drove the #6 Honda to close out the 2018 campaign, the number 6 hadn’t been run in an IndyCar race since Wickens’s accident until this past season, when Arrow McLaren SP ran the #6 Chevrolet for Juan Pablo Montoya in the May race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then again in the Indy 500.

Team co-owner Sam Schmidt had long stated that the #6 car would be there for Wickens, should he ever be capable of returning to IndyCar, but Wickens himself admitted earlier this year that a return to America’s top level of open-wheel racing simply doesn’t seem feasible.

Arrow McLaren SP have fielded a third Indy 500 entry in each of the last three years, and despite now running three cars full-time, their plan is still to field what would be a fourth car for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2023. NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch had been rumored as a possible fourth driver, but Tony Kanaan has emerged as the favorite.

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The 2023 season is scheduled to begin on Sunday, March 5 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.