by Josh Farmer, IndyCar reporter
Alexander Rossi has been officially confirmed as the driver of the #98 Andretti Autosport Honda for the upcoming 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Rossi will get his first laps in an IndyCar during a rookie test next Tuesday at the Sebring International Raceway, rather than this weekend’s series test at the Phoenix International Raceway.
“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 caliber 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’s move to IndyCar comes after loosing the open seat at Manor F1 to Rio Haryanto. Last season, Rossi became the first American to compete in Formula One since Scott Speed in 2007 when he drove for Manor in five Grands Prix, including the US Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas.
The Nevada City, California native also finished as the runner up in GP2 last season, the only driver who mounted a serious challenge to champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
Rossi will join fellow Americans Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay and Columbian Carlos Munoz for the 2016 season.
“We’re really excited to have Alexander join the team,” said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti. “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.”
Bryan Herta, who owned the #98 Honda before merging with Andretti Autosport, will serve as Rossi’s race strategist.
Andretti Autosport has the distinction of being the only team to have the last three American drivers in Formula One: Michael Andretti, Scott Speed (Global RallyCross) and Alexander Rossi.