The immediate future of Andretti Autosport is set as Alexander Rossi has re-upped with the team that’s catapulted his open-wheel career and Honda will remain the source of power for the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner.
In a decision predicted for the past couple weeks on RACER.com, Rossi may have turned down Roger Penske to stay with the team that gave him a chance in 2016.
After many weeks of negotiation and speculation, Rossi chose to stay with Michael Andretti’s operation rather than test the waters elsewhere — which supposedly included Team Penske.
It’s believed Rossi and Honda signed a multi-year contract with the former CART champion’s Indianapolis-based team.
“We’ve been working hard on this, and I’m happy to see everything come together,” said team boss Michael Andretti. “Since 2016, we’ve built a strong relationship with NAPA Auto Parts – they’re such a natural fit for the series, Alexander and for the team and we’re pleased to be able to continue working with them into 2020 and beyond. We first met AutoNation through Ryan Hunter-Reay – and we can’t thank Ryan enough for his support and efforts in helping the continued growth of that relationship. It’s been exciting to see AutoNation grow within the sport, and to see them now welcome Alexander to their family is just great.”
“It feels good to continue with Andretti Autosport,” said Rossi. “Over the past four years, we’ve built a very strong team with great chemistry and I believe that we have the tools necessary to win races and championships. I’m looking forward to not just calling this my team, but my home in the IndyCar Series. Michael [Andretti], J-F [Thormann], Doug [Bresnahan] and the entire team have been working very hard to put all the pieces of this deal together and it’s definitely a relief to have the future settled and be able to focus on the championship fight ahead of us.
“It’s fantastic to have NAPA Auto Parts, AutoNation and Honda supporting the 27 program. I’ve had the pleasure of developing a great relationship with both NAPA and Honda and couldn’t imagine not having them in my corner. AutoNation has always had a strong partnership with the team through Ryan [Hunter-Reay] and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to represent the Drive Pink campaign and getting to know the AutoNation team better.”
The 27-year-old Californian has followed in the footsteps of teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, who also turned The Captain down a few years ago to remain loyal to Andretti, who gave him a shot when it appeared his IndyCar career was over back in 2010.
After a successful run in GP2, Rossi was a Formula 1 test driver for Caterham and Marussia who made five starts with the underfunded Manor/Marussia team in 2015 before getting a last-minute ride with Bryan Herta and Andretti for 2016 in IndyCar. He won Indy that May by combining early speed with late fuel saving but his best driving has come in the past two seasons.
He was runner-up to Scott Dixon in the 2018 NTT IndyCar Series and currently ranks second to Josef Newgarden in the point standings with five races remaining. He’s scored a pair of runaway victories in 2019, Long Beach and Road America, to go with his four podiums, while also winning three races in 2018 in his NAPA-backed Honda.
Andretti also paid tribute to Honda for its role in his team’s ongoing success.
“We have a longstanding relationship of success with Honda and we’re happy to continue to build accolades together,” Andretti said. “All five of our Indy 500 wins have come under Honda power, and I’m looking forward to working with the entire HPD team to add to that count.”
“This is an important moment for Honda Performance Development,” said Ted Klaus, President, Honda Performance Development. “Andretti Autosport is unquestionably one of the premier teams in the NTT IndyCar Series, and we are gratified to earn their confidence for the foreseeable future. At HPD, our first goal every season is winning the Indianapolis 500, and Andretti Autosport has won more ‘500s’ for Honda than any other team. That said, HPD is fortunate to work with multiple high-caliber racing organizations. This commitment from Andretti Autosport strengthens our entire effort, as we move into the next era of Indy car competition.”