I’ve been a fan of Alexander Rossi for more years than I care to remember. I think he was 14 when we first met and I have watched with pleasure and just a little awe as he has risen through the ranks, battling to be an F1 driver, without having millions behind him. I love his never-say-die attitude, the way he turns setbacks into strength, and the calmness that keeps his eye firmly on the target. He gets knocked down and he gets up again, and again. Even Rocky Balboa would be impressed. And when he gets a sniff of a decent car, he makes an impression. There are a lot of spoilt brats who turn up in F1 but Alex is not one of them. He has had moments of being too confident but he has learned to keep his feet on the ground. This is a sign that not only does he listen and learn, but he has good support around him. What he deserves and does not have is a suitable US brand looking for more global exposure. He would be perfect for that role. I only hope that Gene Haas sees the value in Alex. The team needs to emphasize its American-ness to distinguish itself from the rest and hiring Rossi would be a great move. No doubt Ferrari will be looking to place one of its drivers in one of the seats and a new team needs an experienced driver to lead the way, so I can see that there is potential for Rossi to be overlooked. He shouldn’t be.
An indication of why he should be given an F1 seat is a blog he has just started. F1 drivers use Twitter but stringing words together is not their métier, just as few journalists can stitch together a great qualifying lap. They tend to chatter away for TV sound bytes and then anything over 100 words is left for the PR people to create: the result is blandness, without charm nor opinion. This is because most F1 PR is more about health and safety and people management than it is about engagement. The raw materials (driver personality, energy etc) are watered down to very thin soup in the name of corporate blah-blah.
Rossi has seen this and had spotted an opportunity and has started a blog. He writes well and with intelligence – and it will be interesting see how this develops. As a means of engaging with the public, it’s a great idea.