For years the complaint has been that there are not enough Americans in IndyCar racing. Recent rumors published on our rumors page indicate the Bryan Herta and Michael Andretti are talking to several drivers for the seat, including Pastor Maldonado and American Alexander Rossi.
Both drivers have F1 experience – Maldonado has driven for a number of years with backing from PDVSA, a national oil company in his home country of Venezuela. With oil prices down from $100 per barrel to around $28 per barrel, he has lost more than 50% of that backing and has now turned to IndyCar where a seat can be purchased for 25% of what it costs in F1.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Alexander Rossi drove five races for the Manor F1 team in 2015 but lost that seat this year to the country of Indonesia who are backing Rio Haryanto with a rumored $15 million. Rossi had no chance to outbid a country and now finds himself considering other options for 2016 and the #98 Andretti/Herta ride is his prime target if rumors are to be believed.
What is clear is that Bernie Ecclestone has no interest in seeing F1 succeed in the USA because if he did he would have made up the difference and got Rossi that Manor seat. Also at play is the fact that Mercedes does not want a driver as good as Rossi as Pascal Wehrlein's teammate. Wehrlein's has no open wheel experience to speak of and there is a good chance Rossi would clean his clock and Wehrlein's F1 career would be short lived.
|Rossi leads his teammate in Singapore last year|
I'm not sure F1 deserves a talent like Rossi anyway. The politics in F1 are rather anti-American and there is a history of prejudice against American drivers that is well documented.
Rossi is a proven talent who has won at every level in the European open wheel ladder system to this point despite never driving for the #1 team. Europe has a history of producing some of the best driving talent in the world. If you can win there, you know you are good.
While he did not win a race in F1 yet (no one could win with a car that was 5 to 6 seconds off the pace) he did consistently beat his teammate and in F1 that is really the only gauge one can use to measure a driver's talent. While he has no oval track experience, I have no doubt a talent like Rossi can quickly come up to speed.
More importantly IndyCar needs another talented American and he would be a good measure against some of the best drivers in the world today – drivers like Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Juan Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, etc.
Signing Rossi is a win-win.
It's a win for Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta, and it's a win for IndyCar. F1's loss is America's gain.
Michael and Bryan, you just need to get it done.
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