Alexander Rossi has confirmed that he turned down the opportunity to race for Manor Racing in the second half of the 2016 Formula 1 season as he wants to focus on IndyCar.
During the 2015 season, the American drove for Manor in five of the final seven races, replacing Roberto Merhi. Becoming the first American to compete in the championship since Scott Speed and his last appearance in the 2007 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.
Even though Rossi impressed he failed to land a full-time seat so instead moved to IndyCar, where he managed to win the Indy 500 on his debut. Current 2016 driver Rio Haryanto is struggling to secure the funding from the Indonesian government, so his position with Manor is under threat.
As Rossi is Manor’s reserve driver he was offered the Haryanto’s seat but declined as IndyCar clashes with the next three Grand Prix.
“My management and I are in constant communications with Manor and we knew there might be an opportunity to race for the last half of the 2016 season,” Rossi told Autosport. “We gave it careful thought but declined the race seat due to my IndyCar contract.
“I have a lot of respect for Manor giving us first right on the seat as we agreed. I have a really good relationship at Manor and there are no hard feelings. They understand an F1 deal has to be right for my future and my career has taken some good steps forward.”
Rossi is currently eleventh in the IndyCar Standings with a total of 316 for Andretti Herta Autosport. He has confirmed there are options that are open for him for his 2017 season. With options open in both F1 and IndyCar.
“I have options both in IndyCar and Formula 1 for 2017. There have been talks with Manor for a race seat and we’ve also been approached by another F1 team that’s quite interesting. There are options in IndyCar that I can’t elaborate on, but I can say Andretti and I have a great working relationship.
“Everyone at Andretti is aligned and working in good faith to extend our deal for several years. There’s a sense of loyalty to Michael [Andretti], his team and Honda. As a driver there are some really good opportunities here and the competition is fantastic.”