IndyCar rising star linked to third Arrow McLaren seat

Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

David Malukas is the favorite to replace the Meyer Shank Racing-bound Felix Rosenqvist at Arrow McLaren for the 2024 IndyCar season.

Meyer Shank Racing officially confirmed on Tuesday that Arrow McLaren driver Felix Rosenqvist is set to join the team for the 2024 IndyCar season, replacing Simon Pagenaud behind the wheel of the No. 60 Honda.

Pagenaud has not competed since late June, as he was involved in a nasty crash at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in early July. While there were questions as to whether Meyer Shank Racing would cut ties with a driver who hadn’t physically been able to compete, it was clear that a change was needed. Pagenaud’s best result in eight starts this year was 13th place.

The team had already confirmed that rookie Tom Blomqvist is set to replace Helio Castroneves behind the wheel of the No. 06 Honda next year, and now their lineup overhaul is complete.

Rosenqvist joins the team after having spent the last three seasons at Arrow McLaren. There were rumors last summer that he wouldn’t be back with Arrow McLaren in 2023 amid speculation that Alex Palou would join the team, but with Palou having stayed put at Chip Ganassi Racing, he was brought back for another year.

The assumption for 2024 was that Palou would replace Rosenqvist, but even with Palou again set to stay put, Rosenqvist remained on the hot seat. Now he has officially signed elsewhere, and the No. 6 Chevrolet needs a new driver.

Arrow McLaren’s new driver for the 2024 IndyCar season will likely be David Malukas.

At the start of summer, Malukas confirmed that he would not be back for a third season with Dale Coyne Racing in 2024. While many drivers are known to keep quiet on their future plans for as long as possible, Malukas straight-up said that he would not be back and was aiming to join a bigger and more competitive team.

With Devlin DeFrancesco definitely out and Romain Grosjean having long been viewed as on the hot seat, Andretti Autosport was viewed as a possibility, even after signing Marcus Ericsson.

But those talks have cooled, and even with Grosjean having since confirmed that he won’t be back with Andretti Autosport next year, Malukas moving to the team is no longer seen as the most likely scenario.

With Rosenqvist officially out, the door is open for Arrow McLaren to sign the 21-year-old. And in some ways, this may put them in a better position than had they managed to sign Palou.

It’s no secret that Palou’s goal in joining McLaren was to compete in Formula 1. Zak Brown indicated that more times than one, Palou’s lawyer indicated that in a statement aimed against Chip Ganassi Racing last year, and Palou himself has not exactly tried to hide it.

So had Palou joined Arrow McLaren for 2024, it likely would have been as somewhat of a stop-gap measure before a Formula 1 seat in 2025.

Arrow McLaren want to expand to four cars in 2025 when they acquire Andretti Autosport’s Indianapolis headquarters, so adding Palou for just one season would have put them in a position to need to fill two of their four seats upon expansion.

But by adding the second youngest driver in the series, and one who has already recorded multiple podium finishes in less than two seasons with one of the sport’s smallest teams, they would be making what they believe is a move with long-term benefits, thus putting themselves in position to have to sign only one more new driver for 2025.

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Formal confirmation has not yet been made, but Malukas recently stated that an announcement regarding his future would be made in either the days leading up to or after the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, September 10.