By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Alexander Rossi has enjoyed a stellar rookie campaign in the Verizon IndyCar Series, and recently stated he has taken to it better than originally expected.
Entering this season, the 24-year-old Californian was hoping for a full-time race seat in Formula 1, but various circumstances didn’t allow that to happen and he found himself signing with Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian and competing in North America’s top open wheel series.
During that time the 2015 GP2 Series runner-up went on to win the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, along with five top 10 finishes and has led in four different races. Currently sitting 11th in the championship standings, Rossi is aiming to finish the season in the top 10 in the standings as he tries for top Honda honors and with double points awarded at the final race at Sonoma Raceway, anything is possible.
The former Manor Racing driver noted the competitive nature of the series and how much “fun” it has been.
“I’ve honestly enjoyed it more than I thought I would and that’s even if you remove the Month of May,” Rossi said. “I came out the first race weekend at St. Pete and it was a horrible weekend from a performance standpoint, but I enjoyed it (the racing), which is odd, because when you have a bad weekend you want nothing to do with it.
“It’s very different. I wouldn’t say there is much crossover at all between Formula 1 and IndyCar, but it has its good sides and negatives, like everything in life, but there are a lot of things I’ve come to really enjoy and respect out of the championship. I think it’s a great championship, incredibly competitive and a lot of fun being a part of it.”
The No. 98 Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian driver mentioned that the biggest learning for him has been learning the tracks on the IndyCar schedule and how the cars drive compared to ones he became accustomed to in Europe.
“I think it’s just the different tracks,” Rossi said. “I had only seen two of the tracks that we raced on this year. So that was the biggest thing to deal with. One of the things that was a surprise to me was how the cars drive.
“For example, a GP2 car, which from a numbers of perspectives you would think to be very similar, but the driving style and the driving technique, if you will, are radically different. So I think that was another big learning curve that took a little bit of time to get used to.”
One certainty that became apparent a month ago is that the IndyCar schedule is home to his new favorite track – Watkins Glen International.
“Well, it’s not Indy (Indianapolis Motor Speedway). That one obviously stands out in my mind,” Rossi said. “My favorite track, so far, is Watkins Glen. It’s massively fast. It’s a great track, man. The level of commitment around there is unlike anything else.
“That’s probably tops my list of overall of all race tracks I’ve been to as well.”