Rossi expects “very physical” race at St. Pete

Alexander Rossi says tomorrow’s IndyCar season finale, the Firestone GP of St. Petersburg, will be a tough test of driver fitness, given the heat, aeroscreen and nature of the track.

Rossi expects “very physical” race at St. Pete

Rossi qualified his Andretti Autosport-Honda on the front row for the first time this season, but the seven-time race winner and five-time polesitter is coming off a streak of four straight podium finishes.

Asked about the effect of IndyCar’s 2020-mandated aeroscreen in its first race on a street course, Rossi said the effect on vision was negligible but the lack of airflow to the cockpit was a bigger factor. Forecast for tomorrow at the 1.8-mile street and runway course suggests 85degF and high humidity (and 50 percent chance of rain).

“Quite honestly, the visibility has been great,” said Rossi. “From that standpoint I haven't even really noticed it… It changes a little bit about what you're looking for from the car, it's a little bit harder to see the tight stuff, the change of direction is a little bit slower.

“Really the biggest issue – if you call it an issue – is just the heat. It's hot. I think we've all kind of touched on this topic throughout the year. This was always going to be one of the bigger tests. It's usually a very hot race.

“The street courses are probably the most physically demanding just because they're so bumpy, low grip. You're fighting the car a lot more than you would on a permanent course. And they're slower, so not as much forced air coming in – an area we need to improve on.

“You don't get the cooling that you used to. It will be interesting tomorrow to see how guys fare. I think everyone is kind of managing it right now.

“It's hot, but you're only doing six, seven laps at a time. It will be interesting to discuss it after a 100-lap race tomorrow in some of the worst conditions – probably 85 degrees, direct sunlight, high humidity, street course. All the factors line up!

Yeah, it's going to be very physical. I guess I'll have a better answer to how it actually is come tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully it's not too bad.

Rossi said he would be aiming to beat Team Penske-Chevrolet’s pole winner Will Power into the first corner because controlling the pace “makes your life simpler”.

“For sure, we're going to try,” said the former Formula 1 driver. “Whether it's lap one or into one or whenever, we're going to try to get it done.

“Regardless of who it is, clean air in these cars is hugely important. It just makes everything easier. The pace is higher. It's easier on the tires. Makes your life simpler.

“That will be our goal. Our car on blacks [Firestone primary tires] is incredibly strong, probably stronger than anyone else out there, aside from maybe the #88 car [teammate Colton Herta, who qualified third but was the fastest car on primaries].

“We'll see how it goes. We're definitely going to try to get the lead early and manage the race from there.”

shares
comments
Power would give up win to help Newgarden beat Dixon to title
Previous article

Power would give up win to help Newgarden beat Dixon to title

Next article

Newgarden plans on aggression, Dixon aims to avoid trouble

Newgarden plans on aggression, Dixon aims to avoid trouble
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021