Rossi: “We had the car to win Long Beach”

Alexander Rossi believes he was lined up for his second IndyCar victory until his Honda engine let go while running second in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on a day of disastrous fortune for Andretti Autosport.

Rossi: “We had the car to win Long Beach”
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda

All four Andretti cars failed to finish, with electrical problems accounting for Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, and Takuma Sato experiencing “a loss of power” which prompted him to stop.

Hunter-Reay’s issue occurred just five laps from the checkered flag, while he lay little more than a second behind eventual winner James Hinchcliffe, but Rossi believes that having red [softer compound] tires for the final stint gave his Andretti-Herta entry a crucial edge over Hunter-Reay, who was on harder compound blacks. Rossi had passed his teammate after the final pitstops and was closing on Hinchcliffe – who had jumped both Andretti cars by going a lap longer on the previous stint – when a “hole in the side of the engine” on the 62nd of the race’s 85 laps ended Rossi’s race.

“I don’t know why it happened, and there was no warning,” he told Motorsport.com. “I just know that it cost us a real shot at victory.

“We had a fast car and we’d closed the gap [on Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay] in the second stint by an obscene amount while still getting our fuel number. We had the right tires for that final stint as well, so I think the battle was going to be down to just me and James.

“Sure, it’s easy to say we’d have caught him; passing is another thing. But I truly feel we had the car to win today.”

Rossi paid tribute to the Andretti team for its vastly improved Long Beach form compared with last year when the cars finished but were very slow throughout the weekend.

“I think it’s unbelievable the turnaround we’ve had as a team during the offseason and it’s heartbreaking that we all DNFd today. I suppose the positive is that running legitimately in the top three with one of your teammates and actually fighting for something is pretty cool; I had a smile on my face the whole race!

“Seriously, it shows the team as a whole has taken a big step; that’s where we needed to be, and the confidence boost the team receives by running that well, even despite the end result, is huge.”

Rossi said he’s confident that the steps taken by Andretti Autosport in the offseason will see similar improvements at natural road courses, such as Barber Motorsports Park, the third round in the IndyCar schedule.

“The Sonoma test and Barber test I think suggest that we’re going to be taking a big step on road courses, yeah,” he said. “Obviously it’s not the same changes as on a street course, but our new methodology and approach is paying off.

“We’ll know more after qualifying right? That’s the true test. But the indications are very positive and I feel optimistic about it.”

 

shares
comments
Hildebrand breaks bone, not yet cleared to drive

Previous article

Hildebrand breaks bone, not yet cleared to drive

Next article

Chaves confirmed for Indy 500 with new team Harding Racing

Chaves confirmed for Indy 500 with new team Harding Racing
Load comments
Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call Prime

Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call

The fight for supremacy in the NTT IndyCar Series will be as intense as ever. David Malsher-Lopez is your guide to the main contenders and six intriguing sub-plots.

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight? Prime

Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight?

With Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up, 2021 could be the year Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet joins the IndyCar elite, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team Prime

Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team

Over 37 seasons, Dale Coyne has run no fewer than 80 Indy car drivers – including himself! Ahead of his first season running Romain Grosjean, we asked Coyne to pick the best 10 drivers ever to compete for him. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 10, 2021
Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed Prime

Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed

Last Friday, Marco Andretti announced he is withdrawing from fulltime IndyCar racing. David Malsher-Lopez explains how this third-gen racer was a puzzle in the car, but a straight shooter off-track.

IndyCar
Jan 19, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Is the mighty McLaren M16 the greatest ever Indy car? Prime

Is the mighty McLaren M16 the greatest ever Indy car?

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indy car game-changer that won three Indy 500s in six years.

IndyCar
Dec 23, 2020
How Newgarden delivered his best season, yet still lost Prime

How Newgarden delivered his best season, yet still lost

Josef Newgarden was our pick as top IndyCar driver of 2020 but his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield the championship. David Malsher-Lopez explains why.

IndyCar
Dec 18, 2020
2020 IndyCar Review and Top 10 drivers of the year Prime

2020 IndyCar Review and Top 10 drivers of the year

David Malsher-Lopez explains how the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series was unlike any other, and why it featured familiar and unfamiliar faces competing for glory.

IndyCar
Nov 27, 2020