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Rossi cycles to the top of IndyCar free agent list



Indianapolis, Indiana – After seven seasons with Andretti Global, Alexander Rossi won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie and moved on to what he believed to be a superior IndyCar team.

Technically speaking, Arrow McLaren Racing appears to be ranked third among the top IndyCar teams at the moment. Therefore, it appeared to be a good two-year contract for the driver of Formula 1.

Nevertheless, Rossi and McLaren announced earlier this week that they would part ways at the end of the season due to an impasse over talks for a new contract. A little more than a week had passed since Rossi secured his first podium of the year and only his second since joining McLaren in 2023 when the news was made.

In 2025, Christian Lundgaard—the most sought-after IndyCar free agent available—will take Rossi’s seat.
Rossi must now find a new ride in an increasingly constricting free agent market as he comes to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend placed seventh in the championship standings but may be the most reliable McLaren driver through the first eight races.

Furthermore, Rossi needs to demonstrate that there are still seats available that will allow him to stay close to the front of the race even though he is probably the best candidate for the job right now. Although there are still competitive spots available, he stated there has been no communication with Prema Racing, an Italian team that has declared its intention to run two cars on the grid for the upcoming season.

Only drivers from Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing had claimed victories heading into Mid-Ohio. The season-opening race was won by Pato O’Ward, a teammate of Rossi, when Penske driver Josef Newgarden was later disqualified.

“There’s two teams that are winning every week, right? All the other teams are in some ways knocking on the door, they have potential, they have good things, they have bad things,” Rossi said. “But in a lot of respects, they are all kind of on the same level. None of us (including McLaren) have actually taken the step to be at a Penske-slash-Ganassi level.

“So when you say what’s going to be good for Alex? They each have their skeletons in the closet. They each have their own thing they don’t know about. But then they have these glimpses of really positive things. Then you have a conversation,” Rossi continued. “You listen to what they are doing and what things they are putting into place, and you base your decisions on what you learn, right?”

Pieter, Rossi’s father, is representing him and thinks a deal may be finalized by the end of the month. Later this month, all American motorsports will be suspended for two weeks due to the Paris Olympics.
According to Pieter Rossi, his son had no problems during his time at McLaren and is focused on finishing the championship standings as the top-ranked driver for Chevrolet. Rossi, an oval specialist who ends his career with the team with six ovals in the remaining nine races, is now surpassed only by Will Power of Penske at second and his McLaren teammate Pato O’Ward at sixth.

“Alexander has been an incredible teammate, and we’re grateful for the two seasons we’ve been racing with him,” said Arrow McLaren team principal Gavin Ward. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without him. Ultimately we couldn’t meet in the middle on terms, but we absolutely wish him the best and will do all we can the second half of the season to get him in the top five in the championship.”

Rossi is not at that concerned. The remaining spots aren’t quite the bottom of the barrel; Lundgaard needs to replace his seat at Rahal Letterman Lanigan, and Meyer Shank Racing might retain David Malukas or perhaps add another team for the upcoming season.

A lot of the negotiations that take place behind the scenes are subject to constant change, as Rossi pointed out, as IndyCar and its teams continue to negotiate over a charter structure like to that of NASCAR. A restriction restricting teams to three charters, for instance, might be introduced, which would encourage Meyer Shank to use the opportunity to grow.

Penske has been running three IndyCars for years, while Ganassi is running five. This season, Andretti reduced the number of cars from four to three. McLaren entered three cars in the Indianapolis 500 and also operated a fourth.

Rossi, who will turn 33 in September, said he finds people who claim Alex is elderly funny. “I’m not old,” he declares, and he can show it to the correct future team.

“I’m looking for a place that I go and fight and win races and get back to the place that I know I am capable of being at consistently.”