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David Malsher-Lopez

Rossi: No change within Andretti despite imminent IndyCar split

After a “very encouraging” test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course on Thursday, the 2016 Indy 500 champion told Autosport that he was continuing to work productively together with his team-mates and that their dedication to winning had not shifted.

“Everyone’s been very understanding with regard to my move,” said Rossi, who has been with Michael Andretti’s team since switching from Formula 1 at the end of 2015.

“They all get it, for the most part, and we’re very focused on the opportunity we have this year.

“I think everyone is allowing themselves to believe we have a shot at winning this championship, if we can keep the ball rolling and all the focus – including mine – is on that.

“I can say for my part I haven’t thought once about 2023. It’s all about seeing what we can pull off in ’22.”

Rossi lies seventh after eight rounds of the 2022 season and is 75 points behind championship leader Marcus Ericsson. 

Should he challenge for the title or even match the top three finish he achieved in 2018 and 2019, it would be a major bounceback from the last two seasons in which he finished ninth and tenth respectively.

“If we’re successful this year, if we can finish top three, get a couple of wins, we all look smarter – Andretti, Arrow McLaren SP, and myself,” he said. “It’s a win-win-win.”

Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda, NTT P1 Award, pole, Michael Andretti (Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images)

According to Rossi, pooling data with team-mates has also been unaffected by his departure in less than three months, and it remains an open-book policy at Andretti Autosport, for whom he has scored seven wins so far.

“Colton [Herta] is one of my very good friends,” he said. “Him and I work very well together.

“Honestly, nothing has changed whatsoever. And I’m very appreciative to my team for that, and for allowing us to continue to do everything we can to get the best results.

“So it feels I’m leaving on very good terms with the Andretti organisation, but ultimately, I reached a crossroads where I needed to make a decision.

“I fully believe in what McLaren is currently doing and what they’ve shown they can do, and I think I’ll be able to do nothing but contribute to that programme and help them. I’m excited about it.”

Rossi is also excited about his short-term prospects over the remaining nine rounds of the 2022 championship, saying that the test left him cautiously optimistic for IndyCar’s second race around the 2.439-mile Indy road course on 30 July.

“Usually I never wish for races to be hot, but I’ll be really hoping that one is,” he said.

“I think the car we developed in this test is really strong, superior in hot conditions.

“I don’t know how it will translate into cold conditions - you know how sensitive these cars are to temperature changes, different track conditions – but at the end of July I’m guessing it will be hot here.

“I think we’ll be in the hunt.”

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