Rossi's F1 dream on hold after Indy 500 win

Sports Monday 30/May/2016 13:42 PM
By: Times News Service
Rossi's F1 dream on hold after Indy 500 win

Indianapolis: Only three men have ever won both the Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix and Alexander Rossi is halfway to becoming the fourth after the rookie scored an unlikely win at the Brickyard on Sunday.
Better known in Formula One circles than the IndyCar circuit before Sunday, Rossi will now be forever remembered as the winner of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, his likeness engraved onto the Borg Warner Trophy alongside a host of motor racing greats like Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and AJ Foyt.
Many who do not know Rossi soon will, with the 24-year-old American set to be jetted around the United States on a whirlwind post-500 media junket that will include dozens of appearances on early morning and late night talk shows.
While nearly every driver in the 33-car field had grown up dreaming of winning what American's label the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing', Rossi grew up in California dreaming of racing Formula One and at 16 left home for Europe to pursue that ambition.
"It isn't. It isn't at all (where I expected to be). That's no secret," admitted Rossi following his stunning win. "I left California when I was 16 to go to Europe. The goal was to get to Formula One. It was that way ever since I was 10 years old.
"The reason I went to Europe was I won a test with BMW Sauber F1 after winning the Formula BMW World Finals in 2008. Went over there, started racing in Europe."
Last year, Rossi realised his lifelong dream when he moved into a seat with minnows Manor and started five Grand Prix.
But this season the reality of Formula One hit home when he found himself on the outside looking in after Indonesian Rio Haryanto's backers had offered the struggling outfit more money.
Running out of time and options, Rossi signed on with one of IndyCar's top teams, Andretti Autosport, although he remains a reserve driver for Manor.
Only Montoya, Clark and Hill won both Indy and Monaco, which are traditionally run on the same day and with his F1 connections and desires, Rossi could yet find himself on the Monte Carlo starting grid.
But a return to F1 may now be on hold.
"I can certainly say I'm not in a Grand Prix car anytime soon," smiled Rossi. "I'm a reserve driver. I sit around and pretend to look important. There is no driving involved.
"I drive to the track in a rental car.
"Things worked out incredibly well for me to come here and work with Andretti Autosport.
"Four months later, here we are."
Certainly team owner Michael Andretti and Rossi share star-crossed Formula One experiences.
A winning IndyCar driver and son of former Formula One world champion Mario, Michael made an ill-fated move to the glamour circuit in 1993 joining McLaren as Ayrton Senna's team mate but lasted just one season, earning a single podium finish with a third place at Monza before returning home.
"I guess there are some things we can definitely relate to," said Andretti. "The thing that I tried to explain to him, when you come over here, you're going to really enjoy the racing.
"Over there it's a lot more politics and it's just not as fun. Over here, it's all about racing and its fun if you're a driver.
"I think he sees what I was talking about now."