Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global

Exclusive: Rossi opens up over Arrow McLaren split and future landing spot

The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner will depart McLaren squad at the end of this season and find a new home in the IndyCar Series for 2025

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Alexander Rossi says he is at peace with the decision to leave Arrow McLaren after what will be a two-year stint at the conclusion of the 2024 IndyCar Series season.

On Tuesday, both Rossi and Arrow McLaren confirmed a mutual parting of ways as the team also announced 22-year-old Christian Lundgaard, who currently drives for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, as his replacement for next year in its No. 7 Chevrolet-powered entry.

In some ways this move comes as a surprise considering Rossi only joined the team last season after seven previous years with Andretti Global.

Even with an expanding program that featured several new team members without prior experience in IndyCar, or even motorsports, he still managed to grab one podium, six top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 17 races to finish ninth in the championship.

And the patience during that development started to pay off for the California native through the opening eight points-paying races of this season, scoring one podium, three top-fives and six top-10s to currently sit seventh in the overall standings and just 10 points behind team-mate Pato O’Ward in sixth, and 12 points behind Andretti’s Kyle Kirkwood in fifth.

So, why after things appear to be trending upward does a split make sense?

“This was the most business-oriented kind of negotiations I think I’ve had in this sport and that really is ultimately all it came down to,” Rossi told Motorsport.com.

“There wasn’t really enough in the middle ground that we felt that we could move forward from; it wasn’t from a lack of effort. That’s just the way that this sport, which at the end of the day is also very much a business, kind of works sometimes.

“It’s not a negative thing. It’s something that, I think all of the conversations that I’ve had with the organization have been positive, but we just couldn’t find something that works for everyone.”

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Perry Nelson / Motorsport Images

For Rossi, who has amassed eight career wins including the 2016 Indianapolis 500, there wasn’t one ingredient missing that prevented either from achieving the success desired when he joined in 2023.

The expansion of the organization combined with him only having a previous understanding of how things were done at Andretti Global and Honda provided a steep learning curve for all involved.

“I had a very certain way of doing things and I had to learn a slightly different approach and a different way of going about a race weekend and making the car go fast,” said Rossi, who made five Formula 1 starts in 2015 before coming to IndyCar the following year.

“If anything, that’s for sure made me a better driver, but it doesn’t happen in three races. In this series, very little differences add up to a lot when qualifying is a couple of tenths (of a second) between the top 10.

“So, I would say last year was just everyone getting up to speed with each other. And then this year has been kind of putting everything that we learned to practice. We’ve done that so far and we’re continuing to get better every time we go on track.”

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Perry Nelson / Motorsport Images

The focus for Rossi moving forward is about doing what is necessary in helping himself and O’Ward elevate the team into the top five of the championship over their final nine races together.

Additionally, it’s not lost on Rossi the importance of the timing of this decision to happen at the midpoint of the season.

“You never want to be in August having these conversations,” Rossi said. “We’ve seen the past couple of years, this time of year is when things start to ramp up.

“We have quite a few conversations going on right now and that’s all very exciting.”

And the next place he’ll call home has yet to be decided.

“There’s nothing locked down in an envelope somewhere, if that’s what you’re asking,” said Rossi, the 2018 championship runner-up. “We’re at different points in conversations with a couple of different people, but no, there’s no pen to paper or anything.”

Although Rossi isn’t shying away from taking on the role of a team leader wherever he ends up, it’s also not something “that scares me not being that guy.”

The priority is simply finding the best environment that meets his needs, and he knows exactly what he is looking for in the next chapter of his IndyCar career.

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, Marcus Ericsson, Andretti Global Honda

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, Marcus Ericsson, Andretti Global Honda

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

“It’s easy,” Rossi said. “It’s where I can go out and challenge for championships and know that I have an opportunity to win another 500.

“I think that is always important for us as individuals. I know that sounds like a simple answer, but it really is kind of the motivating factor for doing this. You don’t do this to call yourself a race car driver, you don’t do this to just show up and have it be a job. You do this because you love being able to compete and love going out and fighting for wins.

“You talk about my time at Andretti and my time at McLaren and my evolution as a driver, and I think having been able to drive for these two organizations has taught me a huge amount.

“I thought there was only one way of doing things for seven years having only driven for one team and very quickly realized that’s not the case. I think that I’ve been able to grow a lot on and off the track because of that and that’s only going to pay dividends for me in the future.

“I don’t look back on any of these decisions with any sort of regret. It’s just a matter of not coming to terms and that’s the way that life and things go sometimes.”

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Lundgaard to replace Rossi at Arrow McLaren IndyCar squad in 2025
Next article Prema “talking” with F1 driver Sargeant over 2025 IndyCar switch

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global