Alexander Rossi is one of the most recognizable names in racing circles, with the 31-year-old having achieved a whole lot behind the wheel to date.
The California native joined the Arrow McLaren IndyCar Team for the 2023 season last June and the team will be all the better for the acquisition as he brings a wealth of experience.
Rossi won the Indianapolis 500 in 2016 as a rookie, a remarkable feat. Having begun his career in the U.S., he moved to Europe, where he won four races in the developmental GP2 series for both EQ8 Caterham Racing and Racing Engineering.
He made his Formula One debut in 2015 after a role as a test and development driver for Caterham F1 and Marussia F1. He finished a season-best 12th driving in five Grand Prix in America.
He would return to the US to race in the IndyCar Series, winning the Indy 500 in 2016, as mentioned above. Still, his 2019 and 2019 campaigns have been his most successful as he finished second and third, respectively, in the Drivers’ Championship.
He started the 2023 season on the back of eight career IndyCar Series wins, as well as his Indianapolis 500 victory.
“I’m very honoured to have the chance to race for Arrow McLaren,” he told the team’s website following the move. “It’s an incredible organization, and it is clear to see why they have had so much success in recent years.”
Prior to the move, he has spent the last seven years with Andretti Autosport.
“I’ve only been with one organization where there were a lot of positive memories and high that came with all that,” he added. “Like everything in life, sometimes it is time for a change.”
Californians will have their eyes on the racing star, especially given the incentive pertaining to the upcoming regulation of online sports betting in California. Betting in the state is yet to become a reality, but things are still on track. Two propositions seeking to legalize sports betting were voted out last November, however, there is hope it could happen in 2024.
As for Rossi, there was a need for the racecar driver to familiarize himself with his latest team, which is normal. Joining a new crew would require anyone to get used to new teammates, engineers, and mechanics, among other things.
“The whole team is reintegrating with adding the third car, and there are a lot of new faces coming through the door,” Alexander said. “For me, it has been seamless. There are familiar faces here now with Brian Barnhart (General Manager and Alexander’s car communicator) and Craig Hampson (Race Engineer), who I’ve worked with in the past.
“We’ve been able to hit the ground running, and I’m looking forward to getting into the thick of it all. And, to work with Pato and Felix, we are only going to push each other.”
Fans will remember how hyped Rossi was at the Indianapolis 500 in 2019 but he did let them know they should not expect similar scenes ahead of his McLaren debut.
“I showed a lot of emotion there,” he admitted. “Honestly, I won’t say much on the radio during the race. That one event was an outlier, and I’ll be strictly focused on trying to maximize every lap out there this season.”
Rossi has his heart set on winning the Indy 500 again and says he would appreciate it way more than the first one if he manages to accomplish the feat a second time.
It’s part of what makes it special,” he told The Athletic ahead of the big race in May. “And we should have commitments; it’s the largest race on Earth.
“Yes, at times when you’ve had a bad day and you have to get pulled out of engineering (meetings) to go to something, it’s annoying. But big picture, you look forward to the traditions. Each of them seems small, but you add them up and it makes something special.”
Mclaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has made a reputation for making bets and promising rewards to his drivers but Rossi is only looking for a burger.
“If I win? No, I don’t really care (about a bonus gift),” he remarked. “Zak can buy me a nice burger or something.”
That treat is going to have to wait, though, as Josef Newgarden is the latest Indy 500 winner. However, there’s every hope that Rossi will bring it home for McLaren in due time.
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