Although his seat was given to Manor’s new team of drivers, Alexander Rossi’s Formula One career is far from over. He won’t be in a full-time Formula One seat in 2016, but he will be taking a different role for the team.
It was a couple of weeks ago, that Rossi would be joining the Andretti Autosport team in the Verizon IndyCar series for 2016. This came less than a week after Manor had confirmed that Rio Haryanto would be joining Pascal Wehrlein on the team for the 2016 Formula One season. Rossi’s invitation from IndyCar was a positive for him, as it was vital that he was racing inside of some sort of car for 2016.
Rossi will make history in 2016, as he prepares to be the first driver in history to compete in the IndyCar series, while also performing a role in Formula One. He will act as the team’s reserve driver. As a reserve driver, Rossi will help develop the MRT05 and will be ready to hop into the car during a race weekend if one of the team’s current drivers is unable to compete.
Alexander Rossi says that it is an honor to have been selected to compete in two prestigious motorsport series:
“I’ve invested most of my career in F1 and I’m not one to kick my heels and wait for things to happen, so this is my way of staying sharp and prepared. It was disappointing to miss out on a race seat with Manor Racing this year; everyone knows I pushed and worked hard for it. As Official Reserve Driver though, I have a very complimentary dual program at the highest level of motorsport. IndyCar Series is the premier category of open wheel racing in North America and extremely competitive. I also have the privilege of racing with a championship winning team, Andretti Autosport. I’m confident this experience will add to my role as a very important cog in an F1 team’s wheel. My schedule this year is demanding, but no more than a full time F1 schedule. I will attend 11 Grands Prix, only five of which take place during the IndyCar season, and I am certainly used to the travel demands of the F1 calendar. It’s great to be back with a team I know and with whom I share a mutual respect and passion for the sport we love.”
Rossi will attend a total of eleven scheduled race weekends, the first of which will be the Russian Grand Prix. Five of these race weekends will be during the IndyCar season, meaning that he will be required to travel back and forth between events. Ultimately, he shouldn’t miss any of the IndyCar races due to his Formula One activities, unless he is called to race in a Grand Prix.
It will be difficult to have a reserve driver that is racing in the IndyCar series, but the Manor racing director, Dave Ryan, is optimistic:
“We’re very fortunate to have someone of Alex’s calibre in the role of Official Reserve Driver. The fact that he’s racing full time in the IndyCar Series this year was simply a challenge to be overcome; something we’re pretty good at. We need a safe pair of hands for the role, which always carries the potential to have to step up to race, but also someone who can really contribute to the development of the car. For Alex, F1 is still unfinished business. He did a great job when he drove for us in five of last season’s races and he’s a highly rated and valuable part of our line-up. He does have one heck of a schedule ahead of him and it’s a commitment that only the most disciplined of drivers would be able to manage. We’re confident he’s the man for the job.”