Rossi back on F1 radar after Indy 500 win (3rd Update)

UPDATE

If Rossi has to tow the Honda Butt Bumpers parachute around the track next year with zero chance of winning (except on the Superspeedways where the Chevy Butt Bumpers are also closed off) he may as well return to F1.
If Rossi has to tow the Honda Butt Bumper parachute around the track next year with zero chance of winning (except on the Superspeedways where the Chevy Butt Bumpers are also closed off) he may as well return to F1.

Manor reserve driver and Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi is in talks with Formula 1 and IndyCar teams about 2017 race seats reports Autosport.

The American signed a one-year deal in February to race in IndyCar in a joint Andretti Autosport/Bryan Herta Autosport entry, going on to steal a shock Indy 500 win, after missing out on an F1 race seat with Manor.

He is having discussions about full-time 2017 deals with Manor, with which he holds a reserve role this year, and one other F1 outfit.

There are also opportunities in IndyCar, with Andretti the frontrunner.

"I have options both in IndyCar and Formula 1 for 2017," Rossi told Autosport.

"There have been talks with Manor for a race seat and we've also been approached by another F1 team that's quite interesting.

"There are options in IndyCar that I can't elaborate on, but I can say Andretti and I have a great working relationship.

"Everyone at Andretti is aligned and working in good faith to extend our deal for several years.

"There's a sense of loyalty to Michael [Andretti], his team and Honda.

"As a driver there are some really good opportunities here and the competition is fantastic."

As part of his reserve deal, Rossi was to be offered the opportunity of a race seat should it become available this year.

An offer was made in Hungary to take over Rio Haryanto's seat for the remainder of the season as the Indonesian requires more investment.

But the final three IndyCar races on the schedule clash with F1 grands prix, and as his American programmed takes priority, Rossi declined Manor's offer.

"My management and I are in constant communications with Manor and we knew there might be an opportunity to race for the last half of the 2016 season," he said.

"We gave it careful thought but declined the race seat due to my IndyCar contract.

"I have a lot of respect for Manor giving us first right on the seat as we agreed.

"I have a really good relationship at Manor and there are no hard feelings.

"They understand an F1 deal has to be right for my future and my career has taken some good steps forward."

Rossi retains dreams of returning to F1 but insists any deal must be right for his long-term future.

"Last year I did a partial F1 season, which was very successful," said Rossi, who contested five late-2015 grands prix for Manor alongside his GP2 campaign.

"When I didn't get the full time seat in 2016, this created a 'Y' in the road where now I cannot take that risk again.

"I've invested most of my career in F1 and I would love to continue but as I've said all year, an F1 deal must be right." Lawrence Barretto/Autosport

08/05/16

Rossi has not been asked by Manor to get ready to replace Haryanto
Rossi has not been asked by Manor to get ready to replace Haryanto

Manor Racing reserve driver Alexander Rossi has no intention of replacing Indonesian Formula One driver Rio Haryanto, whose place in the team is uncertain at the moment.

Rossi is the favorite to replace Rio if he is unable to retain his position due to financial reasons.

"My role as reserve driver for Manor is that if they're short of drivers, then I'm there to fill in. Whether that is something that happens or not, I have zero idea," Rossi said, as quoted on Motorsport.com.

Beside his role at Manor, Rossi also signed a contract with Andretti-Herta Autosport in February to race in IndyCar.

Even though Rossi said he enjoys racing in IndyCar at the moment, he was unable to hide his desire to compete in Formula 1.

"At the same time, I have a contractual situation with Manor, so if they need me for a certain situation, then we need to look into that. But there have been no specific discussions about me driving for them for the remainder of this year," Rossi said.

He insisted that he had no idea about his current position at Manor. The United Kingdom-based racing team needs to decide whether to use Rio or Rossi before the Belgian Grand Prix on Aug. 28.

"Let me put it this way, I'm not going to be replacing anyone at Manor. I don't know Haryanto's position; I've read the same reports and rumors as you have but I don't know what the actual scenario is," Rossi said. "If, for example, Rio's commercial sponsorship comes through, then I won't be driving. If someone gets hurt or someone gets sick, or for whatever reason doesn't have a commercial partner, then I can stand in."

07/19/16

Will Alexander Rossi go back to F1 with Manor to run at the back?
Will Alexander Rossi go back to F1 with Manor to run at the back?

(GMM) Alexander Rossi might have re-booted his F1 aspirations by winning the fabled Indianapolis 500 this year.

The Californian lost his Manor seat at the end of last year and for 2016 found himself in Indycar, where in May he shocked the racing world by winning the 100th running of the Indy 500.

"Manor and I, we've had a relationship since 2014 and it was kind of a surprise to all of us I wasn't racing this year," Rossi, 24, told USA Today.

He admits that his Indy 500 breakthrough might have given his career new life — on both sides of the pond.

"I think what happened after the 500 was my stock value as a racing driver changed dramatically on both sides," said Rossi.

Now, there may be a seat opening up again at Manor, because Rio Haryanto's manager has admitted the Indonesian currently lacks the sponsorship to race beyond Hungary this weekend.

As for Rossi and Manor, "There's obviously been discussions about the future," he admits.

"I'm definitely deciding between formula one and Indycar.

"There are things about Formula 1 that I miss," Rossi admitted. "That's what I grew very accustomed to the last six years of my life."

Alexander Rossi
Alexander Rossi

07/18/16 TORONTO — The prodigious steak and the banana split dealt with, Alexander Rossi rose from his table in a corner of a venerable Elm Street steak house after being beckoned to another table of Honda Canada executives.

The introduction was made by a veteran of Honda media relations and was just audible enough, contained just the right sequence of words, to pierce the din on a busy Saturday evening.

“ … Indianapolis 500 winner …"

It’s a descriptor that will follow the 24-year-old Californian, to his pleasure, for the rest of his life.

“It’s pretty trippy," he said.

How many more chances he has to burnish his introduction as a potential multiple winner of open-wheel racing’s greatest spectacle is unclear. It could become clearer soon. The surprise victory has changed his life and his potential career arc. And he means to exploit it, as one would and should after slogging for a decade without getting what he really wanted: a full-time ride as a Formula 1 driver.

IndyCar hopes the intoxication of so much glory so fast leaves him yearning for what the next 15 years could bring back home. But it might have had the opposite effect.

“I think what happened after the 500 was my stock value as a racing driver changed dramatically on both sides," Rossi told USA TODAY Sports Sunday before the Honda Indy Toronto GP. “It’s opened doors I didn’t even know existed."

What’s simple and heartening for those who hope he stays is that Rossi enjoys racing in the Verizon IndyCar series — more than he expected — and said such before winning its most important race. Andretti Autosport, which fields his No. 98 Honda in a partnership with Bryan Herta, wants him back. Honda executives would like to see him return. All see the talent and acumen of the now and are enthralled by how it could develop in the future.

It gets complex when Rossi must make a decision. Manor Racing passed him over for a full-time F1 ride this season after fielding him in five races in 2015, but signed him as a reserve driver for this year — a duty he does in conjunction with his IndyCar schedule. There is an offer from Manor for 2017, he said. And he expects to make a decision in weeks, not months, with just five races remaining in his rookie IndyCar season.

“Manor and I, we’ve had a relationship since 2014 and it was kind of a surprise to all of us I wasn’t racing this year," he said. “There’s obviously been discussions about the future.

“I’m definitely deciding between Formula 1 and IndyCar."

This season has given him much to consider. That’s complex, too.

Rossi earned his career-defining moment at Indianapolis with a master class in fuel conservation at the end of the race, but his assimilation to North American open-wheel racing, particularly the oval tracks that were foreign to him before this season, has been equally impressive. In April, Rossi started and finished 14th at Phoenix International Raceway (a 1-mile track) in his first oval race, and after winning at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis circuit, finished sixth after starting 17th in the most recent oval race at the 7/8th-mile Iowa Speedway July 10.

“You just don’t know how you’re going to adapt to the ovals," team co-owner Michael Andretti said. “Some guys can and some guys can’t and he was luckily one of the guys who could and has done a really good job. He’s not intimidated by it at all."

Seventh in points after finishing 16th at the Toronto street race, Rossi and the rest of his teammates are scuttling for consistency after abysmal consecutive weekends at Iowa and Toronto. Although he is the highest of Andretti’s four drivers in points, Rossi doesn’t consider this season a success. He credits his quick assimilation on ovals to Andretti’s historical strength on them.

“Aside from Indy, I wouldn’t say it’s been a good year," he said. “We’ve capitalized on some situations. I think the whole month of May we were strong. I think that was to be expected. Andretti is always pretty spectacular anyway. … I think generally, except for the odd race here and there, we’ve struggled. I think as a four-car unit, we haven’t been anywhere near where we need to be. So yeah, I think we’re doing a good job to be seventh in the championship, and I want to be higher than that come Sonoma, and I think we have the potential to, we just need to unlock a bit of pace from the car, honestly."

Andretti is more complimentary of the entirety of his efforts, saying, “Obviously, he’s been great."

“We had good feelings about him when we talked to him before the season, but you never know before you get him in the heat of the season. He’s done a great job. He’s got a really good head on his shoulders you know? He’s a complete package," he said. “He’s fast, smart, great with the sponsors, I mean, he has the whole deal going."

Sponsorship, Andretti said “always is" the key to maintaining and cultivating a perceived commodity, and the team has yet to secure a package to coerce him to stay as it attempts to re-sign Rossi for 2017. Honda Performance Development president Art St. Cyr would like Rossi to remain in the manufacturer fold, but said the company doesn’t involve itself with lineups or sponsorships.

A spike in performance couldn’t hurt Andretti’s position, but F1 will have its leverage regardless.

“There are things about Formula 1 that I miss. That’s normal, I think," Rossi said. “That’s what I grew very accustomed to the last six years of my life. There’s things that I think Formula 1 does very well. There’s also things I think where IndyCar far exceeds Formula 1 and European racing, and one of those things is the on-track competitiveness and the actual racing, which is …

“I’m a racer and this is what I love to do, what I fell in love with when I was 10 years old and I think IndyCar is some of the best racing on planet."

So Andretti must make the cars worker better and the money work quickly and hope it’s enough. And hope that some other attractive IndyCar team doesn’t swing open one of those new doors Rossi has discovered since May.

For Rossi, it’s been much to digest. USA Today

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