• Rossi shifts to IndyCar from F1

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    Alexander Rossi is one of the few American drivers to compete in Formula One. ALEXANDERROSSI.COM

    Alexander Rossi is one of the few American drivers to compete in Formula One. ALEXANDERROSSI.COM

    Alexander Rossi has been named as the fourth driver to compete for Andretti Autosport in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series after a 2015 stint with the Manor Formula One team.

    The 24-year-old American will drive the No. 98 Honda, following a merger last week with Bryan Herta Autosport that moved the entry into the Andretti stable.

    Rossi boasts an impressive racing portfolio. He drove in five F1 races in 2015 for Manor while also finishing runner-up in GP2, the top developmental series for aspiring F1 drivers. The California native has made 209 career open-wheel starts, with 42 wins, 75 podiums, 36 poles and an impressive win percentage of 20.1 percent.

    “I’m very much looking forward to making my [Verizon] IndyCar Series debut this season and am proud to be racing with a team of such high caliber and pedigree as that of Andretti Autosport,” Rossi said. “As a racer through and through, I cannot wait to get started. Our goal is to be competitive immediately at the first race in Saint Petersburg.”

    Rossi will not participate in this weekend’s promoter test at Phoenix International Raceway, instead getting his first time in an IndyCar machine March 2 in a private test at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. He becomes part of the team that features the last three American-born drivers to race in Formula One, along with team owner Michael Andretti and Andretti’s Global Rallycross driver Scott Speed.

    “We’re really excited to have Alexander join the team,” Andretti said. “His credentials speak for his ability and we’re confident he’ll transition seamlessly into Indy car racing. It’s neat to have the last three American F1 drivers in 25 years to be under one roof. I think it speaks to the level of talent we have.”

    Rossi joins Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz as the team’s drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Herta, a former driver for Andretti, will serve as Rossi’s pit strategist.

    “I’m really pleased at how well all these pieces have come into place for this group,” said Herta. “Adding Alex as a driver is going from strength to strength for us. We can’t wait to get on track together and start our preparation for the 2016 season.”

    The 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series championship begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of Saint Petersburg on March 14 and includes the historic 100th Running of the Indiana¬polis 500 Mile Race presented by Penn¬Grade Motor Oil on May 30.

    TNS

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