From his F1 breakthrough in 2015 to the celebration and elation of securing a rookie Indy 500 victory in 2016, Alexander Rossi’s legacy in motorsports is already more complete than most. But there is plenty more to come from the man who currently holds precisely one more Indianapolis 500 win than Fernando Alonso, as Andy Webb found out…
‘Absolutely’, is Alexander Rossi’s unequivocal response to a now familiar opening question.
Since his 2016 move to the IndyCar Series, the former F1 driver has grown accustomed to being asked whether he is happy in his new racing ‘home’. From the outset, it was something of a loaded question on both sides of the Atlantic.
Sections of the F1 media seemed intent on characterising his ride with Andretti Autosport as some sort of hard-luck story. Another failed attempt by an American driver trying to crack the sport.
Back home, the reception was muted as fans and media lined up to offer their two cents worth on Rossi’s decision to pursue F1.
“Coming back, people viewed me as almost a traitor, if you will”, explains Rossi. “They were like, ‘Oh, why did you want to go and race in Formula 1 in the first place? IndyCar and American racing is the best thing ever’.”
Yet it was ambition, not treachery, that drove a then very young Rossi to chase a racing career in Europe. While his contemporaries dreamed of lifting the Astor Cup and racing at the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Rossi applied his focus towards reaching the top step of the F1 podium.
Aged 17, he left the USA to compete against the best and most aspiring F1 talent in the world. Six seasons in World Series by Renault, GP3 and GP2 – now F2 – saw Rossi take on and beat future F1 stars, including that of Daniel Ricciardo and....
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