USS Typhoon Welcomes American Formula One Driver Onboard

High performance racing met high technology when American Formula One driver Alexander Rossi visited patrol coastal (PC) ship USS Typhoon (PC 5) and Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 2 at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, April 17.

The 21-year-old Rossi was born in Auburn, Calif., and will race in the upcoming Gulf Air Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix 2013, April 19.

Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1, is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). ‘Formula’ refers to a set of rules that all drivers and teams must comply with. F1 cars are the fastest multi-turn circuit racecars in the world.

Rossi began his U.S. Navy experience with a visit to Typhoon, where he turned the pier into a racetrack by putting on a show in a miniature race car. He took several Sailors for rides in the two-seater, including Typhoon’s commanding officer and chief of the boat.

Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Gregory Wesson took many photos of the performance, and couldn’t wait to send them home.

“My 5-year-old son at home absolutely loves racing,” said Wesson. “I wish he could’ve been here to see it, but I know he’ll be excited to see the pictures of the race car.”

Rossi toured the PC, visiting the ship’s bridge, living spaces, galley, engine room and gun mounts. Will Buxton, a reporter for NBC Sports, also came aboard to interview Rossi as well as many of the Sailors. Buxton’s news package features Rossi’s experience with U.S. Navy Sailors, and highlights the fellowship between Americans, no matter how far from home they are.

The racer and reporter then made their way to RIVRON 2 where they donned helmets and flak jackets to ride on a Riverine Command Boat. The crew took Rossi and Buxton through many maneuvers and then, after seeing what the boat could do, Rossi got behind the wheel and took her for a spin.

“It’s really cool that he took the time to come down and hang out with us and see what we do,” said Aviation Ordinanceman 2nd Class Joseph McDonald. “He was so excited to be here and kept saying ‘cool’ and ‘awesome,’ and then he got to drive and he loved that. He was really a lot of fun.”

Rossi explained that the whole day was an eye-opening experience, and one that he’ll never forget.

“You know you hear stories, and you think you have a general understanding of what goes on,” said Rossi. “But then you get out here and get a tour of the ships and meet the guys and see the dedication, passion and commitment for what they do and it’s truly amazing.”

Rossi finished his day with one final interview with Buxton, who closed his story like this: “In the world of F1, we’re used to seeing heroes everyday, but here today, I think we’ve found ourselves a new definition of one.”

Naval Today Staff, April 19, 2013