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Rossi savors clear objectives, detail-oriented people at McLaren

Alexander Rossi says that his move to Arrow McLaren-Chevrolet has shown him why it has become a stronger force in IndyCar over the past three years.

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren-Chevrolet

Rossi has joined the team, previously known as Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and then Arrow McLaren SP from 2020, as it expands to three full-time entries for the first time. Explaining what enticed him to join the team the Californian who finished top three in the championship in 2018 and ’19 said: “I think there's just a very clear path in terms of what they're trying to accomplish, whether that's on a weekly, daily and monthly time frame.

“There's a very black-and-white set of objectives and a reason behind those objectives in terms of the development of the car, the development of people, the transition of people, helping someone in an area where they've previously struggled or whatever, right?

“I just think there's a lot of very detail-oriented people that are kind of in a senior role of the team. With that comes a lot of structure down the pipeline that you're able to very clearly see a path of progress as you go into the season.”

Asked if that felt drastically different after spending the first seven years of his IndyCar career at Andretti Autosport, Rossi replied: I don't think 'drastically different' is fair. I think it's different.

“I think what's very cool about Arrow McLaren is we do have the resources of the McLaren F1 team. They very much are being integrated in a lot of respects. It's not two separate entities. McLaren Racing is one organization that has its people and resources and intellect in kind of everything.

“It's been pretty cool to see how that can be an advantage to us in terms of people, resources, simulations, software, kind of everything. We've been able to kind of rely on that and use that as a tool that maybe other teams certainly don't have.”

Of the challenges in switching teams, Rossi said: “The biggest one is people – just learning who does what and what everyone's kind of roles are, experience levels, who you need to go to for help on whatever issue you may have. I think that's the biggest thing.

“Obviously, it's going to be a different car, right? They're going to have their own approach, methodology and way of doing things. Also switching manufacturers, that's also big. Not only was I with Andretti for so long, I also was with Honda for that whole time. It's going to be a transition from that standpoint, but nothing we can't overcome as a group.”

On that topic, Rossi said that getting to work with GM and Chevy “has been pretty cool as well, to see what they're doing, how they're helping push the program forward,” and he is also expecting to enjoy working directly with race engineer Craig Hampson. Hampson last year engineered Felix Rosenqvist, played a major part in making Dale Coyne Racing winners in 2018 and ’19, was R&D engineer at Andretti Autosport before that, and amassed four championships with Sebastien Bourdais at Newman/Haas Racing in the final years of Champ Car.

“I've known Craig since 2016,” said Rossi. “He was at Andretti when I was there, I got to work with him a little bit. We've always been friendly in the paddock.

“I have a huge amount of respect for what Craig has accomplished in his career. I think he's a brilliant engineer and just a great guy. We haven't done anything other than a couple of sim days. But his track record speaks for itself. Regardless of anything, I'm excited to be able to get the chance to work with him.”

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