As he first told RACER last month, Alexander Rossi has admitted that he was “very, very close” to abandoning his pursuit of a Formula 1 future last year in favor of a Dale Coyne Racing IndyCar drive.
The 23-year old, who is currently second in the GP2 Series, competed in five grand prix this year for Manor in place of Roberto Merhi, becoming the first American to race in F1 since Scott Speed in 2007. But he almost threw in the towel to pursue an IndyCar career following a tough 2014 featuring financial problems at the Caterham and Marussia F1 teams that he was affiliated with, and an early end to an uncompetitive GP2 campaign.
“It was a very, very challenging 2014,” said Rossi. “The last four months were very difficult so my options in GP2 weren’t, in my mind, good enough in terms of the teams which were wanting me to drive for them.
“I had zero Formula 1 contact or any kind of future with a Formula 1 team in any capacity, so at that point, around late November/December, I very much pursued an IndyCar ride.”
Rossi subsequently entered into talks with the Coyne squad, and was on the brink of committing before being offered a lifeline in GP2 by Racing Engineering.
“I was very, very close in the beginning weeks of January to coming to an agreement with Dale Coyne’s team,” he said. “We were probably less than a week out when that [GP2] deal came to the table and we decided to come back to Europe.”
Coyne, a race winner in past seasons with Justin Wilson, Mike Conway and Carlos Huertas, ended up rotating its full-time 2015 entries between a total of eight drivers.
After picking up some grand prix experience, Rossi – despite being overlooked for a seat at Haas – is more confident than ever of securing a seat in F1.
“I feel that my chances to be in an F1 seat are the best they’ve ever been,” he said. “There’s zero focus going in any other direction. Even though I looked at IndyCar, F1 was still the end goal.
“I think that if I don’t end up in a race seat next year then I don’t really know if I ever will, so it’s definitely where all our focus needs to be.”