Sole American driver in the current Formula One line up, Alexander Rossi talks about the 2014 season.
Alexander Rossi: With the holidays and New Year fast approaching, I find myself busy preparing for a 2015 race program. This is also a good time to reflect on 2014 and it's important for me to share my journey and my appreciation towards all of you. This year has been an invaluable chapter in my racing career, as my pursuit of an F1 seat continued. Most years of a racecar driver’s career are important and memorable; however, this one had some extraordinary peaks and valleys filled with success, tragedy, new relationships, opportunities, missed opportunities, heartache and disappointment, but most of all, gratitude.
As an F1 Official Reserve and Test Driver for the past three seasons, I’ve been able to play an important and integral role with both the Caterham and Marussia F1 Teams. Both were new to F1 in 2010, fighting for their position and place in the World Championship. F1 is not easy and has become increasingly complex and difficult for teams to make progress up the grid. For reasons that are public knowledge it’s been a very tough year for both Caterham and Marussia; however, the passion, racing spirit, and desire that they’ve both shown to remain in F1 has been an inspiration to not only myself, but many up and down pit lane.
I was with Caterham F1 Team for nearly four seasons and had the privilege to test and assist with the development of each F1 car they constructed since 2010. I’m thankful for the time at Caterham and to have been a part of the team’s progress and successes, working with some very talented people across all departments and logging thousands of kilometers both on track and in the simulator. This past July, shortly after Caterham F1 Team announced an ownership transfer, my management and I made the decision to part ways with the team and begin a new chapter in my career. This had been anticipated for months and proved to be the correct decision.
Our discussions with Marussia F1 Team began in Silverstone where the opportunity to expand my role as the Official Reserve Driver was identified. Confirmation of this position came later in July at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where I immediately felt at home with the whole team and was able get up to speed with the day to day processes very quickly. The Marussia F1 Team’s management was a strong group of experienced racers who were passionate about the sport and this was something significant. On top of this, they recognized me as being an important asset to the team, which leaves me very thankful for the time that I spent at Marussia.
As reported in the media, I was called up to race five times in 2014, yet it just never seemed to come together for a variety of different reasons. Although I was obviously disappointed not to be racing, the fact that I was confirmed multiple times was proof to myself and to the entire industry that I was truly ready for a race seat. So I guess you could say that the road travelled thus far has certainly been a twisty one, but pride comes to mind when I think of what I’ve experienced in Europe and the relationships that have been built within the F1 community.
Bringing the United States closer to F1
Aside from my personal pursuit and ambitions to race in F1, I’ve been very vocal and motivated over the years regarding what I feel is my responsibility to bring the United States closer to F1. The State of Texas, City of Austin and Circuit of the Americas have done an amazing job promoting the USGP over the past few years. Last month they again showed their commitment to provide a world-class venue and event, as they strive to prove that F1 is very important to America.
Clearly, it would be of great benefit if I were to be in a race seat and/or there is an American team on the grid and with that I believe wholeheartedly that the time is right for America to shine in the sport. There is a lot more work to do in order to establish F1 as a household topic in the States, but with the effective activation of commercial partners coupled with Haas joining the F1 grid and my continual efforts to be in a race seat, 2016 could shape up to be a very good year for F1 in America.
Tragedy in Suzuka
At the beginning of this piece, I mentioned heartache and tragedy, and nearly two months on, Suzuka remains at the forefront of my mind. That Sunday, my perspective on everything widened and my focus became increasingly narrow. Jules Bianchi is my friend, competitor, and for a special time, he was my teammate. I think of him and his family each day and will continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.
Finally, I would like to personally thank my family, Marussia, Caterham, my partners, fans and the F1 community for staying by my side year upon year. It is a humbling reminder of where I came from and of your continual belief in my abilities and commitment. We are pushing forward, now harder then ever, and I look forward to sharing my 2015 plans with you in the near future. Until then, I wish the very best to everyone this Christmas and a prosperous New Year.