Rossi: Winning strategy was decided during the race

Mid-Ohio IndyCar winner Alexander Rossi admits that his Andretti Autosport team only concluded a two-stop strategy was feasible when they saw his fuel consumption in the opening laps of the race.

Rossi: Winning strategy was decided during the race
Race winner Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Race winner Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Rob Edwards, Andretti Autosport Honda
Race winner Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Race winner Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Polesitter Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda

Rossi was the sole driver to stop only twice in the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course, and it gave him a huge lead in the final stint that he nursed over the closing laps.

However, Rossi admitted that the strategy was only decided upon by himself and Rob Edwards – his strategist and AA’s team manager – during the early laps of the race once they had observed his fuel consumption figures.

“Without a warmup, you don't know what fuel mileage you're capable of getting," he said. "All of the work leading into the weekend is really focused on qualifying, so you don't really get race mileage information.

"We went into it with the option of doing the two stop if we could hit a fuel number in the first two or three laps. We were able to do that while opening up a gap on Will [Power]. It was at that point that we decided to commit to it.

“It was concerning at times because there were guys who started off trying to do it, then bailed out. They were potentially quicker than me. It's, like, if they pass me, I’d have to bail out as well and lost track position. Or if the yellow comes out… we were exposed for a lot of the race.

“At the end of the day, it was obviously the quicker strategy. It was a huge testament to the pace of the car, as well. To hit the fuel mileage we needed to hit to do it in two stops, I lifted [off the throttle] a lot of the lap. You have to be able to carry a lot of rolling speed, have a balance you're comfortable with.”

Rossi said that the two-stop strategy had to be called early in order to start the fuel-saving immediately, although not knowing if there would be a full-course caution meant the decision was surrounded by anxiety.

“You couldn't try and do a two-stop if you, like, pushed for the first 12 laps. It was really a Lap 2 or Lap 3 thing," he explained. "That's hard to do, especially at the beginning of the race when you don't know what yellows are going to happen. Guys are doing different things, are close to each other, overtaking each other. You have to stay the course.

“I was very fortunate to have Rob Edwards. He’s such a calming voice, a voice of reason, that despite me being frustrated in the first stint in traffic, with Josef [Newgarden] and Will kind of abandoning the strategy, he’s like, ‘We're the only ones doing this, the only ones that can make it happen.’”

Rossi said that he wasn’t surprised that the best of the three-stoppers couldn’t hunt him down after their third stops.

“When you go that hard on a three stopper, you have tire deg,” he observed. “I mean, there is a tradeoff. There's a period of time where, yeah, you're substantially quicker on a three stopper, using the tire a lot more.

"They have to back up, not because they're saving fuel, but because they have to look after the tires, whereas I'm just looking after a fuel number.”

shares
comments
Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Rossi's two-stop strategy defeats all rivals

Previous article

Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Rossi's two-stop strategy defeats all rivals

Next article

Wickens: Backmarker, blue-flag situation was “comical”

Wickens: Backmarker, blue-flag situation was “comical”
Load comments
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021