The start of a new season brings the opportunity to make up for a disappointing ending in the previous year. Several drivers like Colton Herta, Simon Pagenaud, Graham Rahal, Rinus VeeKay, and Jack Harvey are all aiming to have a bounce-back season after a brutal 2022 campaign.

Those drivers are all returning with their same teams from a year ago. One driver that is making a complete refresh is Alexander Rossi, who transitions to the Arrow McLaren team after seven years with Andretti Autosport.

Rossi was finally able to break his 49-race winless drought last year on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. It was poetic in some regard, as that is where his IndyCar career took off. The 2016 Indy 500 winner was poised to be a title contender every season but the last few years did not go the way anyone wanted. Ultimately, the driver and the team agreed it was best for both parties to go their separate ways.

If there is a team on the rise in IndyCar, it is most certainly Arrow McLaren. They have been building for several seasons now, with a robust driver lineup that includes incredible talent like Pato O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist.

The addition of Rossi gives them a three-headed monster for the upcoming season to keep their momentum going. If that weren't enough, they have already landed another Indy 500 winner, Tony Kanaan, to drive a fourth Chevrolet entry for the team at Indianapolis.

The four-car effort for the Month of May will be arguably the strongest in the field. Between the four of them, there is no shortage of experience. All four are winning drivers, and they all finished inside the top-five at Indy last year. Throw in Kyle Larson joining the team for the 2024 race, and it truly will be quite the spectacle.

It will be important for the organization to keep progressing with Pato, while evaluating the performance of Felix, who had a terrific 2022 campaign. That could become Alex Palou’s seat next year, but it will be up to the Swede to show his value. Incorporating Rossi into the fold will play a pivotal role on how their season plays out. It will be key for the driver as well, but Rossi feels well prepared.

“I just think there's a lot of very detail-oriented people that are kind of in a senior role of the team. With that comes a lot of structure down the pipeline that you're able to very clearly see a path of progress as you go into the season. We do have the resources of the McLaren F1 team. They very much are being integrated in a lot of respects. It's not two separate entities. McLaren Racing is one organization that has its people and resources and intellect in kind of everything.”

By adding a third full-time car this year, Arrow McLaren also expanded their staffing crew. The organization hired 40 new people in the offseason. They are committed to providing the resources needed for their drivers, something which may not have happened on the same level at Andretti.

“It's been pretty cool to see how that can be an advantage to us in terms of people, resources, simulations, software, kind of everything. We've been able to kind of rely on that and use that as a tool that maybe other teams certainly don't have.”

While Rossi may have been supplanted by Herta as the primary driver there, he doesn't feel like there is competition at McLaren with O'Ward.

“The goal is for all of us to perform to our level and to execute what we know we’re capable of each weekend, and hopefully that means we can have three cars fighting for the championship come September in Laguna.”

The trio got their first taste of 2023 this week during the two-day Spring Training test at Thermal Club, the 3.067-mile road course in Palm Springs, California.

"It's been very productive," Rossi said. "Friday was heads and shoulders better than how Thursday went. I think we're getting settled in. It's a lot of new things, but we're getting there. I'm happy. The big thing is, everyone has kind of faced adversity and everyone has just kind of dealt with it. There's been no stress or panic. We're kind of taking it one step at a time, which is very encouraging."

It has been a long time since Rossi entered a season with this much confidence and excitement for what is ahead. He may be the new kid in class but he comes armed with valuable experience and knowledge. He is a serious championship contender once again, and this team now has multiple title contenders as they all chase that first championship trophy together.