A Rare American Driver Roars Into the Formula 1 Grand Prix

Countrymen, start your engines: A California F1 ace is racing stateside this weekend. 
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Countrymen, start your engines: A California F1 ace is racing stateside this weekend. 
Rossi Marussia

F1 driver Alexander Rossi  races in front of a U.S. crowd for the first time this weekend as the United States Formula One Grand Prix arrives at Circuit of the Americas in Austin.

American F1 drivers are rare as undergarments at the Oscars, so F1 fans were thrilled when California's Rossi reached the pinnacle of racing.  “It is every athlete’s dream to compete at home,” he told Maxim.

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Rossi debuted at the Singapore Grand Prix last month and followed that with the Japanese Grand Prix, beating teammate Will Stevens in both races. (That's the benchmark of a driver’s performance in Formula One, because only his teammate is racing with a car that has the same speed potential.)

“It has been pretty much of  a whirlwind,” since he was promoted to race for the Manor Marussia team, Rossi said. Nevertheless, Rossi felt right at home once ensconced in the cockpit. “When the race started, I never felt out of my depth."

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Just to keep it interesting, the car’s radio for communication with the engineers in the pits failed, leaving them to communicate via hand-held message boards as Rossi sped past each lap. This was a new experience for Rossi, who said he’s always had a radio in his helmet, even when racing in the developmental series.

The Marussia team uses powerplants supplied by Ferrari, making it something of a Ferrari farm team. Ferrari’s fuel and oil supplier Shell developed this immersive web site giving visitors a feel for what F1 drivers see inside the teams’ garages at the track.

Rossi doused hopes for an American trifecta for next year’s race, when Charlotte, N.C.-based Haas F1 Team enters the series, creating the potential for a team with an American driver at the USGP. 

“There’s not much chance of that happening,” Rossi said. Apparently the novice team is seeking the experience of veteran drivers as it tries to catch up with the established outfits.  “They made it pretty clear they are going in a different direction."

For the latest car news, follow @MaximRides and Dan Carney on Twitter.

Photos by Team Rossi Motorsports