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Up-and-comer Rossi hopes youth will be served on F1 circuit
Alexander Rossi
Last year, Sebastian Vettel, at 23, became the youngest driver to win Formula One's championship. This past weekend, Trevor Bayne stunned the motorsports world by taking the Daytona 500 one day after he turned 20.

Race car driver Alexander Rossi, 19, said it's good to be young. Always has been.

"I think young drivers are always looked at and regarded as the next thing to come onto the big stage, whether it's sports cars or Formula cars or NASCAR," Rossi said. "I think it has been the same for quite some time, and I think the young guys winning is a testament that the talent is there regardless of what the age is."

Rossi has his own goals, one of them to be on the grid in 2012 when the U.S. Grand Prix debuts here.

Rossi and his father and manager, Peter, were in Austin on Wednesday and Thursday, meeting with promoters of the planned U.S. Grand Prix and visiting the track site in Elroy. Rossi said that for him to land an F1 ride in the future would probably take more than talent and connections with teams and sponsors.

"You have to have something that they don't already have, and fortunately I have that. And that's America," Rossi said. "Being an American, a lot of people think that it's almost a disadvantage. But for me, I look at it as a very big advantage because there's many German drivers and there's a lot of German junior drivers, but teams aren't necessarily massively attracted to that. They're attracted to the things that they don't yet have, and so the American market is something we definitely have at our disposal. It's going to play a big part in getting me there."

On Sunday, Rossi will be the lone U.S. driver in an elite group of 12 racing prospects for a young drivers' academy in Scotland. After that, he'll attend the world's largest computer trade show — CeBit, in Hanover, Germany — to man a gaming exhibit for Intel, demonstrating a racing simulator and announcing the finals of an Internet race.

Rossi, who has 36 wins in various formats, recently signed with Fortec Motorsports, a British team, to compete in the 2011 World Series by Renault, which will have 17 races in nine events in Europe.

"Our goal was to be in GP2 this year, but certain budgetary restrictions prevented that from happening," Rossi said "So, World Series was the next best option for us and really it's a very good championship because you are in a car that's equivalent to a GP2 car, but you get probably five times the amount of track time for a third of the budget."

For the past two years, Rossi has been living in Italy to be near his trainer, Beppe Sebastiani. He works out six hours a day, six days a week.

"If you can be more fit than your competitors, you're more than halfway there," Peter Rossi said.

Of the upcoming season, Alexander Rossi said, "It needs to go very well. The opportunity is definitely there, it's just about putting all the pieces together."

A main goal, however, has little to do with racing results.

"The one thing that I want to do this year is learn Italian, so that's a big thing on my to-do list," Rossi said. The Statesman

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