It goes without saying that Christian Lundgaard hasn’t had the best of seasons in Formula 2 with ART GP. In a year beset by bad luck and an often puzzling lack of pace, the Danish 20-year-old and F2 sophomore has not emerged as the title candidate that many expected him to be after a promising rookie season.
Time for a change of scenery then, as Lundgaard announced this week he has signed a multi-year deal with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, one of the stronger teams in the NTT IndyCar Series. The deal comes on the back of a spectacular IndyCar debut for Lundgaard in August at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
But speaking to selected media including F1 Feeder Series following the announcement of his new contract, Lundgaard pointed out the struggles faced by many European feeder series drivers as they try to reach Formula 1.
“My dream as a European has always been to go to F1, but we also know that there are 20 cars, and there’s 20 drivers,” he said. “If they perform to the level that the team wants, they’ve still got the seat and so on. So it’s very difficult for the younger drivers to come in without the proper funding, without the proper results. It’s all about timing. Look at Oscar (Piastri, ed.), he’s leading the championship, and what is he going to do for next year? The seats are taken.”
Asked by F1 Feeder Series whether he had considered a third year of Formula 2 when looking at his options for 2022, Lundgaard indicated that “everything was discussed” with regards to his future.
“There’s always different possibilities and different options. It was mentioned earlier to go do some LMP or whatever, but for me it’s always about what’s the most exciting for me. Where do I feel the most comfortable? Where will I enjoy whatever I’m doing the most?”
It turned out that his IndyCar debut back in August sparked pure joy. “When I did the race over here, that’s what I enjoyed the most,” Lundgaard explained, reflecting on a weekend that saw him qualify a spectacular 4th and finish the race in 12th, despite a nasty tummy flu that bothered him on race day.
“I haven’t enjoyed a race weekend as much as that one for years, except obviously when you have a very good weekend in whatever you’re doing and you are winning and dominating,” he smiled. “To come in for one race weekend and enjoy it that much surprised me. So from there on, that’s what I personally wanted to go to, and in the end we made that work, so I’m happy that we’re here now. It’s a complete new spark that just fired in me, and I wanted to continue with that.”
He hasn’t put F1 completely out of his head yet, though. Said Lundgaard: “For me to come over to America and to prove what I can do, and continue, you know, it’s not just for one single year. We can keep on building, and then maybe in four or five years if the time is right and the space is there, if that’s what it’s going to be, then that’s what it’s going to be. For me it’s always about winning what I’m doing and then we take it from there. I came into 2021 expecting to win the championship and it didn’t go that way. Now I’m coming here and I’ve got a fresh start, and then I’ll take it from there.”
Photo credit: Chris Jones, IndyCar Media
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