A Chat with Alexander Rossi Taking a look at an American F1 Driver By Leah Fisher Nyfeler
Alexander Rossi, age 21, is making a name for himself in Formula One. He is currently the reserve driver for Caterham F1 Team and the only American to hold an F1A Super License. The Californian had his debut at the Singapore Grand Prix this September (he qualified at 4th place but mechanical issues kept him from racing). When heâ€™s not touring with the circuit, he resides in the UK and works on his college courses online. Due to his busy schedule, AFM connected with Rossi via email.
How did you get started in F1? I was introduced to racing at a very young age by my father [Pieter Rossi]. When I was 10 years old, he took me to a karting school in Las Vegas as a birthday present and after three days in a go-kart, I fell in love with the sport and knew that one day I wanted to compete in F1. The journey started then and there, and it took a major step forward when I left California when I was sixteen to go and prove myself over in Europe. I received my [F1A] Super License (which allows me to compete in an F1 race) when I was 17 and joined Caterham F1 Team as a test driver when I was 18.
Do you feel that Americans have a harder time than Europeans working up through the ranks to succeed in Formula One racing? I feel that the most difficult aspect for any American wanting to reach F1 is the fact that, in order to be successful, you must commit your life to European motorsport. This means moving overseas, working your way up through the junior ladder in Europe,
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and fully immersing yourself into a different environment. If you can do that and win in Europe, then there is no reason that you will not have just as good of an opportunity as everyone else.
You graduated early from high schoolâ€”what was it like, being a teenager, working hard at school, and professionally racing? It was certainly not the easiest of times, but one that I have become very grateful for. So many people who I was racing with [while] growing up didn't make education their priority and they are now paying the consequences. From an obvious aspect, it was always a good idea to have a backup plan if racing weren't to work out; however, I have realized that it is highly beneficial in this sport to have an educated background due to the people and corporations that you come across on a week-to-week basis.
How has your family supported you throughout your career? My family has been with me every day of this journey for the past twelve years. We started together in go-karts and, now, here we are standing on the doorstep of the pinnacle of motorsport. I will openly admit that I would have had to stop racing a long time ago if it hadn't been for the continual dedication and perseverance of not only my parents but my grandparents as well.
Americans are notorious for speaking only English. Do you speak other languages? How is communication in this multi-national sport? Unfortunately, I do only speak English. I suppose the reason for this is because it is the main language in
Published on Oct 23, 2013
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