Alexander Rossi, Manor, Circuit of the Americas, 2015

Rossi returns to Manor as reserve driver

2016 F1 season

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Manor has retained Alexander Rossi as its official reserve driver for 2016 following his brief stint in their race line-up.

Rossi will attend 11 F1 races with the team this year beginning with the Russian Grand Prix in May. He has already been confirmed as part of Andretti’s line-up in the IndyCar championship which starts this weekend.

Alexander Rossi, Andretti, IndyCar, 2016
Rossi will also race for Andretti in IndyCar
“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,” said Rossi.

The 24-year-old started five races for the team at the end of last season before being replaced by Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.

“It was disappointing to miss out on a race seat with Manor Racing this year,” he said. “Everyone knows I pushed and worked hard for it.”

“As official reserve driver though, I have a very complimentary dual program at the highest level of motorsport.”

“IndyCar Series is the premier category of open wheel racing in North America and extremely competitive. I also have the privilege of racing with a championship winning team, Andretti Autosport.”

“My schedule this year is demanding,” he added, “but no more than a full time F1 schedule.”

“I will attend 11 grands prix, only five of which take place during the IndyCar season, and I am certainly used to the travel demands of the F1 calendar. It’s great to be back with a team I know and with whom I share a mutual respect and passion for the sport we love.”

Neither of Manor’s race drivers have any grand prix experience. Racing director Dave Ryan said the team “needed a safe pair of hands for the role, which always carries the potential to have to step up to race, but also someone who can really contribute to the development of the car”.

Rossi “did a great job when he drove for us in five of last season’s races”, Ryan added.

See the updated list of 2016 F1 drivers and teams

2016 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on “Rossi returns to Manor as reserve driver”

  1. I wonder if Manor are hedging their bets by using a proper pedaller as their reserve driver, in case Haryanto’s money doesn’t all come through?

    I wouldn’t mind at all if that should come to pass.

    1. I hope the new lord of the Manor is as enlightened as the old ones and gives Rossi a few races. Haryanto could surprise us all, but I’m not holding my breath. It’ll be good for the team, good for Wehrlein and would do F1 some good not to lose Rossi to Indycar.

      1. If Haryanto doesn’t become the next Maldonado, I’ll be impressed. If he can keep up with Pascal, I’ll be impressed.

        Meanwhile, I sincerely hope Rossi wins a few IndyCar events.

        1. Look up “Sean Gelael” he is the definition of a new Maldonado.

          1. At least Sean Gelael use his own (father) money and not state money (Pertamina) like Haryanto. Actually, Haryanto – Maldonado comparison is more valid than Gelael – Maldonado, since Gelael is nowhere in terms of speed. Heck, Maldonado is better than any of these drivers since he actually achieve something in the lower classes.

            Before someone said it’s within Pertamina rights to sponsor Haryanto, yes, it is within their rights, but you would think all those millions could be better spent for other sports where that kind of money can sponsors multiple athletes.

            I actually don’t mind Indonesian pushed Haryanto to enter F1 if he was as fast as Maldonado. Unfortunately, so far, he wasn’t.

            In the end, I would rather see Gelael competing vs Haryanto, not because I’m a fan but because Gelael use his own money. That could change if Haryanto can at least be on par with Wehrlein. Hopefully Rossi get a chance to drive so that I can make a proper assessment for Wehrlein and Haryanto.

    2. When that happen, Graeme Lowdon should take Rio to WEC..

    3. I was thinking exactly the same thing.

    4. Definitely the case, Rio camps must be all aware of the intention. Afterall from 15 mil euro agreed, he only able to provide 3.5 mil euro -ish in advance. For what it’s worth, at least until Russia, he’ll be in the seat

  2. To be honest, I don’t really believe that attending F1 races on the same weekend as IndyCar races is entirely a good idea. Perhaps attending too many F1 races this season isn’t a good idea at all, especially if all he is going to be doing is sitting on the sidelines and watching. The IndyCar schedule is rather hectic as it is (albeit spaced a bit better than was the case last year) and Rossi has very little knowledge of the car or the tracks – most notably the ovals. Having a lack of knowledge of the tracks really hurt Stefano Coletti last season, and it already looks as if his IndyCar career is completely done before it barely got started.

    Unless your name is Nigel Mansell, it’s really difficult to simply head over to the states, jump in the car and be at the sharp end right away and make such a strong impact in a very short space of time. Personally I believe Rossi should knuckle down, make a really strong impression this year, and then start to think about F1 again a bit closer towards the end of the year. Because as it stands, it almost looks as if he’s got a foot out of the door hardly before he’s got two feet in. And there is absolutely zero guarantee of a F1 seat next year, especially if certain teams are going for drivers with the largest wallet again.

    1. I don’t think Rossi will be doing any F1 attendances during IndyCar race weekends, the races he will attend during the IndyCar season will be in the brakes in between the races @craig-o.

      Apart from that, you do have a good point that it will make it harder to really get into the IndyCar series and have a solid season there.

      1. Oh right, I get it now @bascb

    2. I agree, I hope he won’t drop the ball in Indy by having one eye on F1 all the time.

  3. Alright! Fabulous! So happy for Rossi- although I’ll bet he’s faster than Haryanto…

  4. I find this both amusing and sad at the same time.

    1. Same here. He was close to drive back in 2014 and missed out for 2015, and when given the chance in a form of a few races, he really lived up to it, for me he was more convincing than Stevens and Merhi. I really wanted to see him on the grid this year from the very beginning, but that’s not how F1 works. However I’m glad that he is still close.

    2. I just find it sad, not even amusing. Here is a guy who wants to race, he has to do all the fitness routines, and yet it is almost certain he won’t get to race.
      I had thought maybe teams should be expected to have their main drivers take a “bye” week, to give their reserve drivers are race. Of course, the problem with that is fans going to a race expect to see their favourite driver, and would feel cheated if they didn’t race.

  5. Hokey Cokey champion 2016!

  6. I have never been a supporter of being test driver for a team and meanwhile race in a very competitive series with many weekends. Realize your F1 dream is gone and focus on IndyCar is what I would do now…

  7. Before Rossi, who was the last active IndyCar driver to simultaneously be an F1 test driver?

    1. Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso in 2007 maybe?

    2. You could argue for Simona de Silvestro in 2014 – she had, for a short period of time, a contract with Sauber (albeit as an “affiliated driver”) and undertook test sessions for the team, so you could perhaps make a case for her.

  8. Can we expect to see him driving the Manor in first practice at the GPs he attends…….that will help him….and keep the regular driver(s) on there toes

  9. I wonder if it’s possible that there is a performance clause in on of the drivers’ contracts so the team can put Rossi in a seat for at least part of the season?

  10. His_majesty
    10th March 2016, 1:26

    Is it me, or is that indy car just hideous? What happened to race cars looking cool and sexy?

  11. Aya (@ayatoybox)
    10th March 2016, 1:51

    well Kinda expected, since it’s long rumored that, if Rio Haryanto management can’t paid the rest of the money, by one-third races of the season he will have to step aside for another driver thought no-one in haryanto’s side admit such clause in the contract..

    1. The issue is that Rossi already has an Indy contract, that is a reason he will only attend 11 F1 races since the other weekends he will be in Indy. What happens if Haryanto fails to make the full payment and the Manor seat opens? Some weekends will conflict.

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