Alexander Rossi switches to IndyCar Series with Andretti

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by R.J. O'Connell, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. R.J. O'Connell

    R.J. O'Connell

    Rossi Indycar Switch.jpg
    Former Manor Racing driver and American F1 hopeful Alexander Rossi will race in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2016, as the fourth driver for Andretti Autosport.

    Robin Miller of RACER Magazine first reported Rossi's move to the IndyCar circuit on Monday, a deal that was officially confirmed today. Rossi will drive the #98 Dallara/Honda under the Bryan Herta Autosport with Andretti Autosport banner, created as the result of a recent merger between Herta's single-car team and Andretti's three-car team.

    “I'm very much looking forward to making my IndyCar Series debut this season and am proud to be racing with a team of such high calibre and pedigree as that of Andretti Autosport,” said Rossi. “As a racer through and through, I cannot wait to get started; our goal is to be competitive immediately at the first race in St. Petersburg.”

    Rossi, who was informed last week that he would not return to Manor Racing in F1 after the signings of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto, is scheduled to take part in a rookie test on 1 March at Sebring International Raceway in preparation for his series debut on 13 March at the St. Petersburg Street Circuit in Florida.

    His Andretti Autosport teammates for 2016 will be former series champion and Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, third-generation star Marco Andretti, and 2015 race winner Carlos Muñoz. Having won four IndyCar Series championships with Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon, and Dario Franchitti, they are the leading Honda team in the IndyCar Series.

    "We’re really excited to have Alexander join the team,”
    said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti, who raced in Formula 1 for McLaren in 1993. “His credentials speak for his ability and we’re confident he’ll transition seamlessly into IndyCar racing. It’s neat to have the last three American F1 drivers in 25 years to be under one roof, I think it speaks to the level of talent we have.” Scott Speed, who raced for Scuderia Toro Rosso from 2006-07, currently drives for Andretti Autosport in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series.

    Last year, Rossi finished second in the GP2 Series with three wins, one feature race pole position, seven total podiums, and 181.5 championship points. He stepped up to Formula 1 for Manor F1 Team for five of the last seven races of the 2015 World Championship, scoring the team's best finish of 12th at the United States Grand Prix. He was also a test driver for Manor's previous incarnation, Marussia, in 2014, and for Caterham F1 Team from 2012-14.

    Rossi will be one of a few drivers battling for Rookie of the Year honours in the IndyCar Series for 2016: His friend and former GP2 Series rival Conor Daly will race full-time for Dale Coyne Racing, while another former Manor F1 driver, Max Chilton, joins Chip Ganassi Racing after competing in the Indy Lights series in 2015.

    What do you think about Rossi's move to the American championship? Discuss this and more in the comments below!

    Image Credit: Brian Simpson / INDYCAR
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