Haas told Alexander Rossi ahead of 2016: ‘We are not interested in you’
Alexander Rossi says Haas brutally told him that he was not an option for them when they joined the Formula 1 grid.
The American racer did have some Formula 1 experience, having made five starts for the Manor Marussia team in 2015.
And with American team Haas preparing to join the grid for 2016, it seemed a logical opening for Rossi, but the interest turned out to be one-sided.
Rossi remains the last American driver to compete in Formula 1, though with the series now expanding in America, there is a desire to bring a driver from the nation into the series.
Haas and Rossi though were not meant to be, Rossi revealing that the team were clear on their stance that there was no seat for him.
“There were some conversations and then, in Monza of 2015, without mincing any words, it was basically, from management, ‘We are not interested in you’,” said Rossi, speaking on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“‘We don’t think any Americans are qualified to race in Formula 1 at this point and you are best to go off and go your own way’.
“That was the conversation. The Haas conversations were very short and to the point.
“There is no violin that I look for, it’s just a part of the sport and ultimately the thing that…if I had to say I had a problem with something, it is purely just that there are commitments and there were things that were said and done with Haas that ultimately didn’t happen for one reason or another.
“That is the disenchanting thing about it but that is the way that life goes and the way life works.”
Rossi has tasted plenty of success since making the move to IndyCar after his sort stint in Formula 1, finishing runner-up in the 2018 championship, while his first win in the series came at the 2016 Indianapolis 500.
Drivers like Romain Grosjean, who switched to IndyCar for 2021 after a Formula 1 career stretching back to more than a decade prior, spoke of IndyCar as a more level playing field than Formula 1, where more drivers were in the hunt for success.
What is somewhat similar between both series though according to Rossi, albeit to a lesser extent, is the need for drivers to bring healthy financial backing with them.
Rossi would highlight that Haas in their history has never fielded an American driver.
“But we see it over here in the States and in IndyCar,” he explained.
“It is to a lesser scale, obviously, but the budgets are much less so it all makes sense.
“But ultimately, we haven’t seen an American in a Haas car in seven years. Forget me, they haven’t put anyone in.”
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