Rosenqvist has himself gone on record explaining how he became a Mercedes protege after his first Macau race and was subsequently placed with Mucke by Mercedes. Hardly a middling team! He also participated in those end of season Merc DTM tests on more than one occasion, but never showed enough to become the chosen one for one of their teams in the series. Every time someone else - younger and less experienced - got the nod. That must mean something.
Actually, it seems that he was first seen as a real asset by Mahindra, who apparently became very eager to secure him on a longterm deal.
I agree his start in Indycar is looking good, but having to spend five years in F3 (counting the German series) means he definitely was not hot property in the eyes of teams in senior formulae.
Rosenqvist‘s career path is one of the most intriguing ones im motorsport over the last decade.
I must‘ve completely missed that part about Mercedes. I can remember him testing the car on multiple occasions, but I never knew (or completely forgot) that he was an official Mercedes driver. However, I can still understand why they initially chose Ocon over him in 2016. He was already embedded in the team and "hot property" after his consecutive F3 & GP3 championships.
With regard to my "middling" comment, that’s no disrespect to Mücke at all (at least not for that particular time period). However, I would argue that 5th and 4th in the final two years of the EuroSeries with very solid, but not exactly all-time great competition can count as "middling" in hindsight, especially considering how Rosenqvist developed afterwards. And after the wretched 2014, his switch to Prema was the best that could‘ve happened to him.
Interestingly, though, his fortunes with Mercedes seemed to have turned around to such a degree during his 2016 season that they were very eager to work with him again in 2017. So Mahindra came along at just the right moment and snapped him up. Toto‘s loss, Dilbagh‘s gain.
Finally, I checked and if my maths is right, Rosenqvist actually spent six full years in F3 machinery! That stat in particular is kind of amazing considering how many cars he drove competitively in half that time afterwards.
All in all, I‘m still super chuffed to see him in IndyCar, and can‘t wait to see what he‘ll do next. I think the Americans were duly impressed as well, even though he didn‘t quite reach Wickensian levels of dominance in St. Pete (with the excuse of a blocked nerve, tbh).
And now, simply to end my rambling and justify this post being in the IndyCar season thread, here‘s an interesting report about the recent development of F1 drivers making off to IndyCar from the NY Times that I don‘t think has been posted before: