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IndyCar Road America

Rossi: IndyCar rivals are “taking the piss” by jumping starts

Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi believes IndyCar needs to do a better job of enforcing jump starts, after last weekend’s Road America race underlined his Indianapolis 500 “frustration”.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda, start, Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Autosport Honda, Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Rossi first spoke out about the topic after he felt was ‘jumped’ on a number of restarts at the Indy 500 in May.

Then a video tweeted by IndyCar’s social media team showing Jack Harvey’s start at Road America last weekend, from his nose-mounted camera, sparked Rossi to criticize the way starts and restarts are being handled by race control, as it appeared to show him jumping ahead of cars before the traditional “green, green, green” command.

 

Speaking on his SiriusXM podcast that the 2016 Indy 500 winner hosts with James Hinchcliffe – Off Track with Hinch and Rossi – he voiced his bemusement about how starts were being judged as jumps or not.

“IndyCar tweets a video of young Jack Harvey who jumped a start – like, just straight up jumped a start,” said Rossi. “[He] realized he jumped a start ’cuz he got outta the gas, and like almost thought about going back in line and then was like ‘ah, screw it’ and just went and gained five, six positions before Turn 1. Seven maybe.

“And there was nothing, absolutely nothing that happened. And that fascinates me.”

The tweet also led to an exchange between Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin, accusing Harvey of going before the green, to which Jack responded: “Haha when the accordion gets fruity it’s the safest way [cry-laughing emoji]”

Road America race start

Road America race start

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

Rossi added: “I expressed after Indy my confusion and frustration with the restarts and I went from being, in my mind, a car that had a shot to fight for the win, to at the end kind of be shuffled back on every restart, which really isn't my MO – especially at Indy. Because I felt like guys were jumping the start.

“This was a new team for me with a new spotter, so I didn't know if the way that we were going about our process was different than what I had been used to. But in talking to other people and watching tape back and lining it up with radio communication and all this stuff, it was like we weren't really doing anything wrong.

“It was just that a lot of other people were kind of taking the piss and just jumping starts. And so there were comments afterwards from a lot of different drivers who kind of felt the same thing was happening.”

Rossi said he appreciates the difficult task that race control has with subjective calls during all-action IndyCar races but doesn’t understand why no action was taken on a matter-of-fact start rule.

“What's frustrating is, I understand that the steward's job is very, very difficult, especially when you come to racing incidents,” he said. “And I understand that in that sort of situation, there's this gray area and there's always gonna be different interpretations of what happened.

“But just like my pit speed penalty that happened the day before, there are also things that are black and white in the rules. And I just don't understand, like, I get why it's tough on the gray area stuff to enforce it, but the black and white stuff shouldn't be hard.”

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