Alexander Rossi is a racing driver from the United States whose greatest achievement is a victory in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May 2016. Rossi currently competes in the IndyCar Series with Andretti Autosport, scoring seven wins so far.
As of 2017, Rossi is the last American driver who has competed in Formula 1. He recorded five F1 starts for Manor in 2015. Prior to that, he was test driver for Caterham F1 Team.
From Skip Barber Racing School to Formula BMW World champion
He was born on September 25, 1991 in Auburn, California, and as a boy started to drive karting. In 2005, he was IKF Grand National champion in the Yamaha 100 cc class and also the semi-finalist of the Red Bull Formula 1 American Drivers search that helped him to make further progress. The following year, he received the Skip Barber Racing School scholarship to race in the National Championship. Rossi finished 3rd overall and at the age of 14 he became the youngest race winner in the series.
In 2007, Alex moved to Formula BMW Americas and did really well in his rookie season. Driving for Team Apex Racing, Rossi finished 3rd in the standings, after he has won three races. Next year, he became the series champion, this time as a driver of the Eurointernational team. His performances were impressive after he has won 10 out of 15 races that season and became the first US driver who won the title in the series. The brilliant season was crowned at Formula BMW World Final in Mexico City where Rossi claimed the world title.
Departure to Europe and test with Sauber F1 team
After several impressive results, Alex was tested at Jerez circuit with Sauber Formula 1 team which was a preparation for his departure to Europe. Surprisingly, the young American decided to compete in the International Formula Master championship, driving for Hitech Racing. After just two rounds, Rossi moved to ISR Racing with which he remained until the end of the season in which he scored three wins, at Brno, Spa and Imola, and a total of five podiums. He finished 4th overall.
Strong performances in GP3 Series and Formula Renault 3.5
For the season of 2010, Alexander moved to GP3 Series, driving for ART Grand Prix, one of the most consistent teams of the series. Again, Rossi did pretty good job. He won two out of 15 races, had other three podiums before finishing 4th overall, behind Esteban Gutierrez, Robert Wickens, and Nico Muller. He also appeared in Formula Renault 3.5 Series race which was a preparation for the following year.
In 2011, driving for Fortec Motorsport, Rossi took 3rd place in Formula Renault 3.5 Series, with two wins, at Aragon and Circuit Paul Ricard, and a total of five podiums. He finished behind Wickens and Jean-Eric Vergne but was the best-placed rookie driver. He stayed in the series for another year, driving for Arden Caterham, but the results were far below the ones achieved a year before.
Waiting for the chance in Formula 1
Anyway, the most important fact for Rossi was that he became a test driver for Caterham F1 Team. He was the first American driver in the most popular racing series after five years, so the expectations were quite big. However, he had to wait a bit more for a chance to race in F1.
Rossi wanted to stay sharp and in the racing form, so he entered the GP2 Series. That was a season marked by many ups and downs for this American. Alex managed to score one victory, in Abu Dhabi, but at the end of the year, he was 9th in the Drivers’ championship, well behind the leading pack.
Le Mans debut and move to Marussia
For the first time in his career, Rossi experienced endurance racing that year. Driving for Greaves Motorsport alongside Eric Lux and Tom Kimber-Smith, he finished 23rd overall and 10th in LMP2 class in 24 Hours of Le Mans.
After leaving Caterham before the beginning of 2014 campaign, Alex signed with Marussia F1 team. He again became a test and a reserve driver and was near debuting at Spa but the team decided to keep Max Chilton in the seat. Later that year, Rossi was planned as a replacement for injured Jules Bianchi at the Russian Grand Prix but the team decided to use only one car in that race, so Rossi again had to wait for his momentum.
In a meantime he raced in selected GP2 Series races, driving for Caterham and Campos Racing, but picked only 12 points out from 12 starts, which was a miserable achievement.
2015 - finally F1 debut and GP2 Series runner-up
The things were much better in 2015. Rossi finally debuted in Formula 1, appearing in five races for Manor Marussia later in the season. His debut was in Singapore Grand Prix in which he finished 14th while in the next race in Japan he was 18th. In the remaining three starts, Rossi’s best result was a 12th place in the US Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas.
Before he got the chance in Formula 1, Alex drove in GP2 Series for Racing Engineering team and finished the season as a vice-champion, losing to Stoffel Vandoorne. American driver scored three wins, at Spa, Monza, and Sochi, and had other four podium finishes.
Rossi wins Indianapolis 500
Unable to find a new drive in Formula 1, Alex returned to the US in 2016. He signed a contract with Andretti Autosport to race in the IndyCar Series.
The start in the new championship wasn’t a glorious one but everything changed after Rossi won Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious races in the world. He started the race from the 11th position but in the finish, his gambling with fuel strategy proved to be a good decision.
By the end of the season, he had a couple of strong results that moved him up to the 11th place in the Drivers’ Championship and he was rightfully named as a Rookie of the Year.
Fighting for titles in 2018 and 2019 until the last race
In the 2017 IndyCar season, he stayed in the #98 car. His performances were better towards the end of the season. After podiums at Toronto and Pocono, he finally scored his second IndyCar win in the penultimate round of the season at Watkins Glen. He finished 7th in the final standings.
In 2018, Rossi moved to the #27 Honda of Andretti Autosport, scoring three wins over the season and fighting for the championship until the last race against Scott Dixon. In the season's finale at Sonoma, Rossi had an accident on the opening lap and lost a chance to fight for the victory, losing a championship title to Dixon and finishing second in the points.
The similar situation repeated in 2019 when Rossi was again one of championship contenders until the last race. He won two races during the season and finished third in the points, behind Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud.