Team: Manor Marussia F1 Team
Car No.: 53
Best Finish: 12th (USA)
Fastest Laps: 0
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 20th
Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)
After coming so, so close to making his Formula 1 debut on no less than five occasions in 2014, Alexander Rossi had a winter that saw him nearly bail on the European racing scene altogether and take a seat in IndyCar.
Thankfully, he struck a deal to race in GP2 at the beginning of the year before stepping up to his long-awaited F1 race seat with Manor in place of Roberto Merhi from the Singapore Grand Prix.
Despite having not even driven an F1 car since the previous October, Rossi managed to immediately match and beat Will Stevens for pace, ending the year 4-1 up over the Briton. His finest hour came on home soil in Austin when he came close to scoring points, finishing 12th, and many up and down the grid are eager to see what he can do with a full season under his belt.
Haas may have overlooked him for a seat in 2016, but the future is still looking bright for Rossi and American F1 hopes.
Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)
Finally, Rossi made his F1 race debut, and when he did in typical fashion he was thrown in at the deep end at Singapore. His accident in practice there was his only misstep in five races; he achieved nearly the maximum he could despite low expectations.
His home race at Austin was typical Alexander by way of his luck. Rossi and his PR team did an excellent job making the rounds to build up the excitement and anticipation – then naturally, the weather decided to go south and it bucketed rain on top of rain for two days. Rossi was finally an American in a U.S. Grand Prix, but noticeably fewer fans were there to see it until race day.
But come race day, with the crowd back, mixed conditions and high attrition, Rossi kept his cool and delivered arguably the best 12th place finish of the season. It was a welcome end to a chaotic week and showcased his poise and potential. He beat teammate Will Stevens in four of five races and helped raise his stock for 2016.