Alexander Rossi could become one of the NTT IndyCar series’ biggest free agents if he and team owner Michael Andretti do not come to terms on a new contract to keep the 2016 Indy 500 winner in place after the 2022 season concludes.
With his most recent multi-year deal set to expire at the end of the next championship run, the driver of the No. 27 Honda could become a prized talent to acquire by Arrow McLaren SP, Chip Ganassi Racing, or Team Penske. So far, there’s been no movement from either side on securing the six-year veteran for 2023 and beyond.
“Yeah, I don’t think he’s ready to commit, yet,” Andretti said during his Monday morning visit to the RACER/Epartrade.com Race Industry Week video interview series. “I think we’re both looking at how this [next] year’s going to go. We have to do a better job on our side for him. And he thinks he’s got to do as well on his side. So it’ll be an interesting year to see how it goes.”
In their first four years together, Rossi and the Andretti Herta Autosport/Andretti Autosport entry captured seven wins, 19 podiums, and strong runs to second in the 2018 championship and third in 2019. A sharp change of fortunes followed in 2020 where the No. 27 Honda program earned five more podiums, but went winless and fell to a surprising ninth in the standings after a number of misfortunes hindered Rossi’s progress.
Despite their collective desire to move past those struggles, 2021 offered no reprieve as another winless season and a single podium left Rossi an unfulfilled 10th in the championship. Altogether, two seasons of hardships have given Andretti and Rossi a valid reason to wait and see if 2023 brings a return to form for the No. 27 entry before either side considers extending the relationship.
And provided the program gets back to its title-contending ways, Andretti also expects to have competition for Rossi’s services.
“I’m hoping that he can turn his luck around and perform like he did the first few years with us,” he added. “And you know, if we can get to that point, it’ll be interesting to see if he’ll still be driving for us or somebody else is going to go after him.”