Alexander Rossi believes McLaren’s presence in both IndyCar and Formula 1 will help drivers in the United States have a chance of racing in F1 due to increased awareness of their talents.
Colton Herta tested for McLaren in 2022 (pictured above) while being linked with a move to AlphaTauri, but ultimately ended up staying in IndyCar due to a lack of a Super License. Rossi is joining Arrow McLaren as part of the IndyCar set-up but thinks all drivers in the series will benefit because of the transfer of knowledge that happens within a team competing in both IndyCar and F1.
“Because they have feet on the ground, if you will, in this championship, they will have a very direct understanding of people’s performance,” Rossi told RACER. “They’ll know the equipment that they’re in, they’ll know the race that they did something special, or they’ll know a qualifying session that they’ll be able to very easily analyze it because they’re actively involved.
“It’s a lot harder when you have a Sauber or Alfa Romeo that’s looking at an IndyCar race and looking at a driver and not really knowing was that season that they had a result of incredible driver performance, or was it a result of they got really fortunate in a couple of situations that set them up for a championship contention? It’s harder to know when you’re not involved.
“So I do think that having McLaren and how closely connected the F1 team and IndyCar team is, it’ll definitely bridge that gap. And most likely give guys an opportunity, if it’s deserved, that doesn’t necessarily mean it comes from within the organization.
“If there’s someone that’s doing something incredibly special, that’s beating all of us, it’s a small world and that news will travel rather quickly.”
However, despite now being a part of the McLaren set-up, Rossi himself has no ambitions to return to F1 having started five races for Marussia at the end of 2015.
“No, honestly, the only attraction was I might get some passes for Austin or Miami or something! No, honestly, that ship for me has sailed.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities that I got. I established a huge amount of relationships and lifelong friends from over there, I got to do it as an American.
“I have so much that I want to accomplish in IndyCar and that’s my focus. There’s more stuff that I want to accomplish in the sportscar world in the States, potentially getting back to Le Mans as well. So that’s really where I’m at.
“Obviously, if the opportunity came to do a test in a car or something like that, of course I’d jump at it, because I still believe the cars are head and shoulders above everything else, and they just would be fun to drive. But in terms of actively putting pressure on or trying to get back into that side of things, it’s not where I’m at and where I want to be focusing my attention.”