Alexander Rossi is poised to follow in the footsteps of Formula 1 U.S. legends Phil Hill and Mario Andretti. Taking a break from the busy F1 and GP2 circuits, he spoke about life on and off the fast-moving world of motor racing. (Read more about Rossi in TLM’s fall print magazine.)
Where is home?
Rossi lives in Kingston, England, but he returns to visit family in northern California as often as he can. “It’s nice to be able to experience the world, but the U.S. is always home for me….Lake Tahoe is a beautiful part of the world, and it’s a privilege every time I get to go back there. Most of my life now is in Europe, even though I go back [to the U.S.] as often as I can; my life, my friends are overseas…I enjoy spending time in London because it’s the closest thing to the U.S. I’ve found in Europe.”
When does Rossi get a break from training?
F1 drivers are elite athletes who, much like boxers, must pay close attention to their weight. Per regulations, car and driver weight, prior to fueling, must be no greater than 642 kilos (1,415 pounds). That puts taller drivers – such as the 6’1” Rossi – at a disadvantage (in contrast, Mario Andretti is 5’7” tall). “Whether I’m driving or not, I train every day that I’m not travelling, two hours a day, strength and cardio based.”
What constitutes fun for Rossi?
“Down time for me is definitely the winter break.* I go back to California, and it’s when I have the most time there, mostly spent skiing. I really love being up on a mountain; it’s very similar to racing, actually. At the end of the day, I’m always doing something that involves going really quickly.”
Thoughts on the Mexico Grand Prix
Though 2008 was the last time Rossi had the opportunity to drive the Mexico City circuit, he shared some thoughts on the newly added Grand Prix: “I think it’s impossible to predict [how the race will affect USGP attendance]; it could go either way. People could stay more toward the Mexico Grand Prix or more people could come to the USGP and make a back-to-back week trip out of this. Regardless, I think it’s a very positive thing, the return of F1 to Mexico City, because it’s showing the growth of F1 in the Americas. It’s also showing that F1 is still trying to pursue new opportunities and fan bases around the world.”
U.S. interest in F1
“I think Americans are much more interested in F1. Austin has been a great event; it was an amazing debut for F1’s return to America. The track goes a long way to ensuring that that’s the case; the circuit is very nice for drivers to drive, just to be a part of. I’ve said it before—Austin is one of my favorite cities. I love coming back, and I think the entire F1 paddock does as well.”
* In 2016, the F1 calendar expands to 21 races, beginning with the Australian Grand Prix on April 3 and ending with Abu Dhabi (Nov. 27); the USGP will fall on Oct. 23.
By Leah Fisher Nyfeler
Images courtesy Team Rossi Motorsports