Rossi cycles to the top of IndyCar free agent list. The former Indy 500 winner seeks strong landing (2024)

Alexander Rossi won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie with Andretti Global, but when that relationship staled after seven seasons, he moved on to what he thought was a better IndyCar team.

And, technically, Arrow McLaren Racing does seem to rank third among the top teams in IndyCar right now. So it seemed like a pretty good two-year deal for the Formula 1 driver.

But at an impasse over negotiations on a new deal, Rossi and McLaren said earlier this week they’d split at the end of the season. The announcement came a little over a week after Rossi scored his first podium of the season and only second since joining McLaren in 2023.

Christian Lundgaard, the most sought-after IndyCar free agent on the market, will replace Rossi in 2025.

Now, as Rossi heads to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend ranked seventh in the championship standings but arguably the most consistent McLaren driver through the first eight races, he needs to find a new ride in an increasingly shrinking free agent market.

And even now that he’s quite likely the top available job candidate, Rossi must prove that there are seats still available that can keep him near the front of the field. He said there’s been no communication with Prema Racing, an Italian team that has announced its intent to field two cars on the grid next season, but that there are competitive seats still available.

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Headed into Mid-Ohio, only drivers from Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing have won races this year. Rossi teammate Pato O’Ward was moved from second to the winner of the season-opening race when Penske driver Josef Newgarden was later disqualified.

“There’s two teams that are winning every week, right? All the other teams are in some ways knocking on the door, they have potential, they have good things, they have bad things,” Rossi told The Associated Press. “But in a lot of respects, they are all kind of on the same level. None of us (including McLaren) have actually taken the step to be at a Penske-slash-Ganassi level.

“So when you say what’s going to be good for Alex? They each have their skeletons in the closet. They each have their own thing they don’t know about. But then they have these glimpses of really positive things. Then you have a conversation,” Rossi continued. “You listen to what they are doing and what things they are putting into place, and you base your decisions on what you learn, right?”

Rossi is represented by his dad, Pieter, who believes a contract can be done by the end of the month. All American motorsports come to a two-week pause later this month because of the Paris Olympics.

Pieter Rossi said his son had no issues with his time at McLaren and is determined to finish the championship standings as the highest-ranked Chevrolet driver. Will Power of Penske at second and McLaren teammate Pato O’Ward at sixth are the only two Chevy drivers currently outranking Rossi, an oval specialist who closes his time with the team with six ovals in the final nine races.

“Alexander has been an incredible teammate, and we’re grateful for our two seasons we’ve been racing with him,” said Arrow McLaren team principal Gavin Ward. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without him. Ultimately we couldn’t meet in the middle on terms, but we absolutely wish him the best and will do all we can the second half of the season to get him in the top five in the championship.”

Rossi is in no way worried. The seats still available aren’t exactly the bottom of the barrel; Lundgaard’s seat at Rahal Letterman Lanigan needs to be filled, and anything can happen at Meyer Shank Racing, which could keep David Malukas or even expand to three team next year.

Rossi noted that much of the negotiating behind the scenes is constantly fluctuating because of ongoing talks between IndyCar and its teams over a NASCAR-style charter system. For example, a rule could be added that teams can only have three charters, and that could push Meyer Shank to grab one while he can and expand.

Ganassi runs an IndyCar-high five cars, while Penske for years has run three. Andretti this season downsized from four to three cars. McLaren has three cars and ran a fourth at the Indianapolis 500.

Rossi, who turns 33 in September, said he’s laughing at those who say ‘Alex is old. I’m not old,” and with the right future team he can prove it.

“I’m looking for a place that I go and fight and win races and get back to the place that I know I am capable of being at consistently.”

___

AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing

Rossi cycles to the top of IndyCar free agent list. The former Indy 500 winner seeks strong landing (2024)

FAQs

Rossi cycles to the top of IndyCar free agent list. The former Indy 500 winner seeks strong landing? ›

The former Indy 500 winner seeks strong landing. Alexander Rossi won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie with Andretti Global

Andretti Global
Andretti Global, formerly known as Andretti Autosport, is an American motorsports organization with teams competing in the IndyCar Series, Indy NXT, Formula E, Extreme E, and joint entries in IMSA and the Australian Supercars Championship.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Andretti_Global
, but when that relationship staled after seven seasons, he moved on to what he thought was a better IndyCar team.

Has a rookie driver ever won the Indy 500? ›

Juan Pablo Montoya (2000), Hélio Castroneves (2001) and Alexander Rossi (2016) are the three drivers who have won both the rookie prize and the race in the same calendar year. Josele Garza is the youngest winner of the award; he was 19 years and 70 days old when he won it after the 1981 event.

Who won the 1994 Indy 500? ›

Al Unser Jr.

How tall is Will Power? ›

Ht./Wt. 5-8, 155 lbs.

Who is Formula One driver Rossi? ›

Formula One World Championship

Alexander Michael Rossi (born September 25, 1991 in Auburn, California) is a driver who currently drives for Arrow Mclaren IndyCar Team in the IndyCar Series and competed in five races for Manor Marussia in F1.

Who is the only female driver in the Indy 500? ›

At 43, Katherine Legge Is The Only Female Driver At This Year's Indy 500 - Yahoo Sports.

Who is the oldest driver to win the Indy 500? ›

Al Unser: Oldest Indianapolis 500 Winner at 47

Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. won his final Indy 500 in 1987 at the age of 47.

How much does Scott Dixon earn? ›

According to sites such as The Net Worth Portal, Scott Dixon's net worth in 2022 is $36.5 million and he has an annual salary of $12 million, which has made him the third highest paid sports personality in the New Zealand.

How many IndyCar wins does Will Power have? ›

Power is one of the most successful drivers in Indy car racing history, currently tied for fourth all-time in wins (42), first all-time in poles (70), and fourth all-time in podiums (102).

Who drives Shell IndyCar? ›

Shell also supports Penske teams in the NTT INDYCAR Series, including primary sponsorships on two cars during the prestigious Indianapolis 500. In 2021, two-time INDYCAR champion Josef Newgarden drove the No. 2 Shell V-Power NiTRO+ Chevrolet while newcomer Scott McLaughlin piloted the No.

How much do Indy drivers get paid? ›

According to a report, the salary range for IndyCar drivers is from $250,000 to over $1 million, with the top earners commanding multi-million dollar salaries.

What car does Rossi drive? ›

Valentino “The Doctor” Rossi has signed up as a BMW M works driver. The move means the Italian will be testing BMW M Motorsport cars, as well as making race appearances for Team WRT in the 2023 GT World Challenge Europe.

What does Rossi race now? ›

Rossi owns and manages the Racing Team VR46, which competes in MotoGP as of 2024. In addition to his team management role, Rossi competes full-time in the FIA World Endurance Championship, driving for Team WRT, in a BMW M4 GT3, which also bears the now iconic number 46.

Who was the youngest winner of the Indy 500? ›

Who is the youngest Indy 500 winner? In 1952, Troy Ruttman won at 22 years, 80 days old.

Who was the youngest to start the Indy 500? ›

A.J. Foyt is the oldest driver to start the Indianapolis 500. He was 57 years, 128 days old when he made his last start in 1992. A.J. Foyt IV is the youngest driver to start the Indianapolis 500. His 19th birthday was on Race Day, 2003.

How much money do you win for IndyCar Rookie of the Year? ›

Larson earned a $50,000 bonus for being named Rookie of the Year, adding to a total take-home prize of $178,000. The Indianapolis 500 purse is comprised of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and NTT INDYCAR SERIES awards, plus other designated and special awards.

Who was the first foreigner to win the Indy 500? ›

Frenchman Jules Goux became the first foreign-born, and first European winner of the Indianapolis 500. His margin of victory of 13 minutes, 8 seconds (approximately 7 laps) over second place Spencer Wishart still stands, as of 2024, as the largest margin of victory in Indianapolis 500 history.

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