American driver Alexander Rossi has absolutely no idea where he’ll be racing next season, which is usually an indicator that he’s not had any offers put in front of him.
Earlier in the season, Rossi was linked with a Haas race seat for 2017, but that doesn’t seem to be happening anymore. He’s currently the reserve driver for Manor racing, which might have been a good position to be in if Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Ocon weren’t already in contention with the outgoing Rio Haryanto’s seat.
Rossi is currently competing in Indycar with Andretti-Hertha Autosport. His biggest result so far is a headline accolade – winning the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
— Andretti Autosport (@FollowAndretti) July 9, 2016
But he only signed up for Indycar for one season, and remains unsure of which step to take next in his racing career. He said,
“My role as reserve driver for Manor is that if they’re short of drivers then I’m there to fill in. Whether that is something that happens or not, I have zero idea.
“I’m just focused on IndyCar through Sonoma [the season finale in mid-September]. I’m also focused on looking at the potential future in IndyCar beyond that.
At the same time I have a contractual situation with Manor so if they need me for a certain situation, then we need to look into that. But there have been no specific discussions about me driving for them for the remainder of this year.
You’re always talking to other teams, for sure. There have been discussions with other F1 teams besides Manor and there have been some discussions with teams other than Andretti within IndyCar.
That’s what everyone does at this time of year if they don’t have anything locked in for next season. That’s just the intelligent thing to do because budgets are changing, drivers are moving.
But I wouldn’t say there’s been anything that’s made it so there’s a clear decision, where I’ve thought, ‘Oh, that’s way better than anything else I’ve been offered so that’s what I’m going to do.’ It’s more the normal talking to people here and there and wait and see what happens in the next couple of months.”
– Alexander Rossi
The point is that Rossi’s success in Indycar has put him in a position where finishing towards the back of the F1 grid doesn’t look as attractive to him as it once was. That’s surely the only type of F1 seat that he has the slimmest chance of clinching for 2017. Doing something special in the Indycar series for 2017 might attract the attention of bigger F1 teams for 2018. Patience young Padawan…