Christian Lundgaard, the Danish former Formula 2 driver and Alpine junior who this week signed a new multi-year deal in the NTT IndyCar Series after taking to the series like a duck to water, is convinced that IndyCar is a great alternative for Formula 2 drivers looking to further their career.
By Jeroen Demmendaal
Both Lundgaard and 2020 Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott have had strong rookie seasons in IndyCar this year and the Danish 21-year-old thinks IndyCar could be a good option for former colleagues like Felipe Drugovich and Marcus Armstrong. Both have been mentioned regularly in the current IndyCar silly season for a seat in 2023.
“I was teammates with Marcus in 2020 in F2,” Lundgaard explained to F1 Feeder Series “I know he had a very tough year that year, but I know Marcus is a good driver. I know he can hustle a car as well. I don’t know that much about Felipe overall, but I think Marcus for sure would be able to be fast. The thing about IndyCar is you need to be fast every single time, and that’s tough. I think the transition into ovals is tough.”
Lundgaard was also complementary about Drugovich, currently the leader in the 2022 Formula 2 standings. “I think looking at Felipe, he’s done an extremely good job this year, had a very, very good start to the season, which has put him in this position to be able to get points and still keep the lead in the championship,” said Lundgaard.
The tyre factor
Asked by F1 Feeder Series why he thinks the transition from Formula 2 to IndyCar has been so smooth for him and Ilott this year, Lundgaard offered a few possibilities, one being the fact that both Formula 2 and IndyCar run with Dallara chassis.
“I would say the Dallara link is a big factor in it,” he said, “but I think coming from Pirelli tires into Firestone tyres was a big benefit for both Callum and I because I think we have the experience of proper saving tyres and looking after tyres because the Pirelli tyres are tough. They’re very difficult to understand, and from track to track, it’s also different.”
“Here I feel the Firestones can take a lot more, so you can actually push the tyres. But at the same time, we know how to be fast, but now we also know how to save the tires,” Lundgaard added. “I think for us as a racing driver, we’ve shown ourselves to be able to do a good job, be fast, but now I think it’s helped our race craft a lot more. But I think we’ve also qualified quite well.”
Asked to compare both cars, Lundgaard argued that “I think the IndyCar is able to hustle more, it’s got a gentle slide to it. The biggest difference for me, I think would be from the tyres, but the car handles pretty much the same. It’s a little different, but it’s not dramatically different.”
Liking life in America
The Danish driver also reflected on life in America, which has proven to be quite a different experience from his life back home in Denmark and Europe.
“I like the life in America,” Lundgaard enthused. “I’ve been driving to many of the races, get to see the country, and just drive through states and see the differences. When you cross the border into a new state, you start to see some differences, and you don’t see that in the same country in Denmark or in Europe. I’m happy here for sure.”
“I think for me personally the biggest difference has been traveling to races because obviously I’m used to it from Europe, traveling from country to country, but now I’m still traveling, but I’m still in the same country. It’s basically the same distances but it’s in the same country. For me that seems strange. I get on a flight, and I land in the same country, just I don’t know how many miles away. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult for me to get used to, but it’s just like a mental thing that’s different.”
Lundgaard also emphasised that he feels he made the right choice in committing to IndyCar rather than pursuing a distant Formula 1 opportunity. “When I moved over here and I’ve had the question what’s the difference about Europe and America, for me it’s about racing — it’s more about racing than it is about politics and et cetera. What I like about IndyCar is that the feeling I have here, is the feeling I got when I fell in love with go-karts. You put the car on the ground, and you race, and you have fun. But you compete, and once the helmet’s off, everyone is best buddies.”
Header photo credit: Penkse Entertainment
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