Twenty-three-year-old American racer Alexander Rossi inked a deal with the Manor Marussia F1 Team, making him the first U.S. driver in the series since Scott Speed in 2007 and the second since Michael Andretti in 1993.
Rossi has been competing in the GP2 series, the last rung on the development ladder before F1, and won the last two races at Spa-Francochamps, Belgium and Monza, Italy. He will join F1 for the Singapore Grand Prix, where he has raced in GP2 and has also driven F1 cars during practice sessions as a reserve driver for teams such as Marussia, Caterham F1 and BMW Sauber F1. “Singapore is a circuit I really enjoy and the timing of my debut could not be more perfect," Rossi said.
He also had the opportunity to drive Marussia's F1 car in the practice session before the Belgian Grand Prix, so he is already familiar with the team's car. After Singapore, Rossi will compete in Japan, U.S., Mexico, and Brazil, but he will miss the races in Russia and Abu Dhabi so that he can complete his GP2 season with races on those weekends in a bid to win that championship.
Rossi is from Nevada City, Calif., but splits time now between homes in Spain and London. He left the U.S. after winning the U.S. Formula BMW national championship and subsequently the world championship in 2008. He moved to Europe and earned a Formula One Superlicense the following year at age 18, making him then the youngest to ever hold the F1-level license.
Rossi makes the move to F1 after several misfires, when teams have announced plans to employ Rossi, only to have other drivers end up in the car for various commercial reasons. The timing of this move is fortuitous because in 2016 the Haas F1 Team will launch as the only American team to compete in Formula One, so that team would make an ideal home for the series' only American driver.
Photos by Team Rossi Motorsports