Rossi: American driver crucial to F1's success in the US

Alexander Rossi believes that Formula 1 will only make a big breakthrough in America if it has a successful local hero racing at the front.

Rossi: American driver crucial to F1's success in the US
Alexander Rossi, Manor F1 Team
Alexander Rossi with Manor's new livery
Stars and Stripes on the rear wing of Alexander Rossi's Manor
Manor F1 Team car of Alexander Rossi, Manor F1 Team in the pits
Alexander Rossi, Manor F1 Team
Alexander Rossi, Manor F1 Team
Alexander Rossi, Manor F1 Team

Citing how Lance Armstrong transformed cycling's image in the United States when he achieved success, Rossi suggests that the country will only really wake up to Grand Prix racing if it has someone fans can get behind.

When asked if F1 was difficult to sell to America, Rossi said: “It is, because there is not an American in it up until now, and there is not an American who is winning. And that is not going to happen for a bit.

“I don't really think the format is the issue – it is just that there isn't a strong American presence yet. We saw what Lance was able to do to cycling – and when he started dominating the sport, everyone wanted to pay attention to that.

“It was a similar sort of thing with soccer. When it came over here, people started to gain a bit of interest in it and you see so many kids do it now.

“So it just takes someone promoting the sport from within to their home nation. If they are successful at it, then it makes it a lot easier and then the interest will start to spike.”

Future optimism

Rossi believes that his promotion to an F1 race seat at the end of this season has been a boost in lifting American interest – both in the media and in finding potential future sponsors.

“To be honest it is a much easier sell, but obviously we are getting to the very end of this year and focus is shifting to next year.

“From my side, things are looking a lot stronger than they ever have in the past, and I'm feeling quite good about it.

“But it is very important to maximise these last three weekends in F1 and the two in GP2 to keep the momentum going.

“Right now, we have a lot of momentum. But there are five more races to go, so we need to make sure it remains the same.”

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