If anyone was going to side with Robert Wickens after being knocked out of the lead and a potential win in St. Petersburg, it’s his countryman, Paul Tracy. The Don of Canadian IndyCar racing, however, wasn’t swayed by love of country or his strong affinity for the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie in reviewing the incident between Wickens and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi.
“By all accounts, Wickens had an amazing first weekend in IndyCar, and he’s an amazing talent,” Tracy told RACER. “I’ve known him since he was a baby; his parents had me take a picture with him at the [Toronto] Molson Indy race when he was an infant, and then he was with my team where I won the [Champ Car] championship, Forsythe Racing, in Atlantics when he was 15 or 16, before he ventured off to Europe. So I’ve known him a long time. And I feel bad for him the way it ended.
“But in reality, it looks like he didn’t get a great restart, didn’t protect the inside, left the door wide open, and I can see it from Rossi’s perspective. If it was me, I would have drove it down the f*****g inside as well. You could’ve driven a Mack truck through there. I would have been disappointed in Rossi if he didn’t go for it. Rossi went for it, ultimately, they banged wheel to wheel, and he hip-checked Wickens out of the way. But the door was left open and that’s what racing is.”
Although Tracy was impressed by the class Wickens displayed after losing a race he dominated from pole position, he’s hoping for some interpersonal drama to build – akin to what PT had with Sebastien Bourdais in Champ Car.
“I do think he handled himself with class, but I’d like to see some rivalries,” he continued. “I’d like to see him say, ‘to hell with him. Next, race, I’m getting you back.’ And I want to see Rossi change his ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ thing and become the villain. People are talking right now and people are going crazy over it on social media, and it would be nice to them get after each other. I like Rossi; he races hard all the time, but then he gets out of the car and is quiet. But you can be quiet and be the villain.”