Rossi understands but rejects oval safety concerns from F1 drivers

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Alexander Rossi says he understands but rejects Formula 1 drivers' safety concerns about racing on ovals.

The Californian is one of several former F1 pilots to have found their calling in IndyCar, which holds events on road, street and oval tracks in America.

In that series, the biggest race is of course the Indianapolis 500, one of the three jewels that make up motorsport's Triple Crown, alongside the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours.

However, while Fernando Alonso has tried on three occasions to become just the second driver to win all three races by competing at Indy, there is little appetite from current F1 drivers to do the same.

Alonso crossing the yard of bricks during Fast Friday LargeImageWithoutWatermark m12233

“I was that guy as well,” Rossi admitted speaking to Sky Sports after this year's race back in May.

“I think, when you are on a trajectory for Formula 1 and your entire world revolves around F1, it’s a sad state in the sense that other racing really doesn’t exist to you.

“It’s such a single-track focus you have in order to get there. I was the same way – I knew what the Indy 500 was but I didn’t ever really pay attention to it.

“But then, when you come and you have the opportunity to do it, it truly is an incredibly special event. Not only in motorsports but just globally, like it’s the largest single-day sporting event on Earth, right? So to have the opportunity to compete in that…”

Taking place on the most famous oval of them all, drivers race non-stop at speeds in excess of 220mph meaning there is no such thing as a small crash at Indianapolis.

As a result, many current F1 drivers, including reigning champion Max Verstappen, rule out a Triple Crown bid due to the risk of injury or worse.

Schumacher Crash MonacoGP

But Rossi played down those concerns, noting the crash of Mick Schumacher in Monaco on the same day as the Indy 500.

“In a sense, it’s more dangerous maybe, but we had four crashes and we didn’t have any cars splitting in half,” he said.

“You can’t say that about the Monaco Grand Prix, right? I think the safety argument is kind of a cop-out.”

And if F1 drivers need any more reason to feel at ease about oval racing, Rossi pointed to another recent convert to IndyCar in Romain Grosjean, who has embraced the speedways in 2022 after initially skipping them last year.

Romain Grosjean 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Presented By Gainbridge By Karl Zemlin LargeImageWithoutWatermark m60134

“I think Romain is someone that’s really good to talk to about it,” he said.

“Obviously, he had his incredibly dramatic and scary incident in Bahrain a couple of years ago. He thought long and hard about what he was going to do with his future and he shared that his passion for motorsports and racing has been renewed with a new car and he feels completely safe in the cars.

“It’s all relative, I think, at the end of the day, so those answers don’t surprise me, but that doesn’t mean I agree with them.”