There are many storylines to consider for 2016 season opening Indycar race in St Petersburg. Will Honda be competitive with Chevrolet? Has James Hinchcliffe fully recovered from his horrific injuries? Can Juan Pablo Montoya repeat as series champion. . .wait, seriously, explain to me again how he did not win the championship last season?
No matter. A quick survey around the blogosphere reveals the single burning question of our time: what’s up with this Alexander Rossi character?
Since the late announcement of the partnership between Bryan Herta Motorsport and Andretti Autosport (Bryandretti Automotosport?) the reaction to signing Rossi has been, shall we say, unenthusiastic. From Oilpressure:
Arrogant…cold…aloof …were all words that ran through my head as the seven-minute interview trudged along as if it were an eternity.
When Kevin Lee asked him about his comments a couple of years back when he said he had no interest in running IndyCar, he seemed to dismiss it as if it wasn’t even worth his time to answer such a question. There were a couple of moments when he was obviously distracted and seemed to be rambling. The only time I could perceive an uptick in emotion from Rossi was when Curt Cavin asked him if it would be a refreshing change to be in a formula that shares information with teammates. He proceeded to defend Formula One and say it is a misconception that F1 does not follow the team concept.
Maybe I’m wrong and I totally misread the interview. Perhaps Alexander Rossi is a great guy, who just happened to be interviewed at the wrong time when a million things were going through his mind. But what I heard sure sounded like someone who would have preferred getting a root canal rather than talking to a couple of reporters from IndyCar.
And Indycar Minnesota:
He will get a chance to earn my respect on the track, because Rossi has all but lost my respect off of the track. He hasn’t even raced in an Indycar race yet, and it seems like he already has one foot out the door.
And of course there’s and entire thread on the subject TrackForum. Where civil discourse goes to have bunion surgery.
In short: he doesn’t seem to want to be in the series, he’s going to be moonlighting as a reserve driver in F1, and he’s, umm, a low-energy interview. So yeah, that might rub some people the wrong way.
It is intriguing that right from the get go Rossi is a potential “black hat” type for the series simply because he’s never wanted to be in an Indycar. Actually, that’s probably inaccurate, since pretty much every driver in the Indycar series at some point in their career preferred to be in F1. No, it’s probably more because he’s an American who seems uninterested in being in an American open-wheel series. So his disappointment results in fans’ disappointment. Maybe Rossi is disappointed in the disappointment, and maybe we’re now trapped in a Disappointment Death Spiral.
Off topic: Disappointment Death Spiral – is that a better band name or an album name?
Then again, maybe it’s the perception of his ingratitude about having a seat, especially when a guy like Gabby Chaves gets cast aside after doing a respectable job in his rookie campaign for Herta. Because dollars.
We can only guess how Rossi feels about this, if anyone has noted this to him, and if we have indeed entered the Disappointment Death Spiral, but if he wants the “black hat” mantle as the driver We The People are cheering against then it is certainly there for the taking. Speaking of, who was the last “black hat” villian type in the Indycar series? Paul Tracy? Tomas Scheckter? Milka Duno? If he’s up for it, we can see if Rossi can fit in that spectacularly villainous outfit that’s no doubt still in Paul Tracy’s closet.
Final Lap: Rossi now knows what a weight jacker is, right?