American Formula One Alexander Rossi is back with Manor Racing for this year after all—as a reserve driver. While he lost out on the full-time drive to F1 rookies Rio Haryanto and Pascal Wehrlein, he’s still happy to split duties between IndyCar and the Manor F1 reserve role.
Manor Racing director Dave Ryan told the BBC that they needed “a safe pair of hands,” therefore, keeping Rossi around in the reserve role was a no brainer.
While reserve drivers always have the possibility to step into the driver’s seat, Rossi gave his honest assessment to the BBC:
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.
I’m confident this experience will add to my role as a very important cog in an F1 team’s wheel.
This is a great opportunity for Rossi to stay involved in some capacity with F1, but it’s obvious he’s still bummed about not getting a full-time drive.
That said, it’s good to see Rossi keep his plans to race in IndyCar and not just rely on the reserve driver role to give him enough seat time. The actual in-car seat time given to reserve drivers is pretty minimal nowadays, and if he wants to make it into a full-time F1 drive eventually, he needs to be racing somewhere to keep his skills up.
If for some reason Haryanto or Wehrlein can’t make it to a race next year, though, we’ll see an American compete in F1 again. Between that and the news that our grand prix is on, I feel like I should be setting off a few fireworks to Corvette burnouts or something. It’s a good week to be an American.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.