Rossi sees advantage for McLaren over rivals in unique F1-IndyCar team set-up | IndyCar


Alexander Rossi sees benefits in the McLaren’s unique combination of Formula 1 and IndyCar programmes, having joined the latter operation for 2023.

He arrives at McLaren after seven years at Andretti Autosport, which is seeking to emulate its rival team by adding an F1 entry alongside its existing IndyCar squad.

McLaren go into their fourth season in IndyCar since their full-time return to the series this year. In that time they have won four races, all with Rossi’s team mate Pato O’Ward, and have also expanded to race in Extreme E and now Formula E.

They added a third full-time IndyCar entry in order to field Rossi this year. “It’s been very cool to kind of watch them evolve and expand over the past couple of months,” their new driver said.

“Obviously I don’t have a benchmark of what they were before, but certainly the commitment to kind of performance and results goes without saying. It’s apparent throughout every level of the organisation. I’m very excited to get on track and stop talking about it and just get to work and start driving.”

Rossi’s IndyCar career so far includes eight race wins, the first being his famous Indianapolis 500 victory as a rookie, and he was championship runner-up in 2018.

He has already worked for McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, having driven in the Australian Supercars championship’s famous Bathurst 1000 race for the Walkinshaw Andretti United team, which Brown is a shareholder in through his United Autosports squad.

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Brown “leads the charge” in encouraging people to join McLaren, said Rossi. “It’s pretty amazing to me with how easy he is how involved he is with every aspect of the IndyCar organisation, the F1 organisation, his sports car program. I don’t know how he’s in so many places at once, seemingly.

Brown is “involved with every aspect of the IndyCar organisation”

“He makes an effort to keep everyone up-to-date from top to bottom as to where things are, what the current objectives are and what’s future looks like.”

Rossi sees clear benefits for McLaren’s IndyCar team from the fact the team also competes in F1. “I think what’s very cool about McLaren is we do have the resources of the McLaren F1 team,” he said. “They very much are being integrated in a lot of respects.

“It’s not two separate entities. McLaren Racing, if you will, is one organisation that has its people and resources and intellect in kind of everything. It’s been pretty cool to see how that can be an advantage to us in terms of people, resources, simulations, software, kind of everything. We’ve been able to kind of rely on that and use that as a tool that maybe other teams certainly don’t have.”

O’Ward will have some involvement with McLaren’s F1 team this year, most likely after the IndyCar season concludes in September. But there has been no indication that Rossi, who has five grand prix starts to his name, or Felix Rosenqvist will get F1 test mileage in 2023.

However McLaren’s F1 arm have already looked elsewhere in the IndyCar talent pool, signing Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou as one of their reserve drivers for this season.

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