It has been confirmed that Caterham F1 Team reserve driver Alexander Rossi has secured a drive during the morning practice session on Friday, April 19 for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Rossi seems understandably excited about the chance to get out on the track and impress both the team at Caterham and the other teams on the circuit.
“It’s a chance to drive the car and I know the track pretty well…it gives me a chance to make an impression”, said the California native. Rossi is familiar with the track due to his experience driving there as part of Caterham’s GP2 team.
This is the next step in an ongoing revolution for Rossi. He has been a standout for Caterham in the lower formulas and took a Friday session drive last season in Spain for the team. It is his second year to be tagged as a Caterham reserve driver, and from what officials with the team have been saying he will likely be seen in the cockpit more frequently as the year progresses.
Caterham is one of the teams in F1 that typically has a revolving door of drivers due to the fact that they aren’t an established powerhouse team with decades of tradition and money backing them like Ferrari or McLaren. Typically that instability is a bad thing, but for Rossi it is exactly what he needs.
Rossi has been with Caterham, both in Formula One and in the lower formulas, for a number of years and has grown up in their organization. With the team looking to get him in the cockpit more frequently I’d say it is a safe bet to assume that he is being looked at for a race seat in 2014, which is why drives like the upcoming one in Bahrain will be of momentous importance for him.
Rossi’s fellow reserve driver at Caterham, Ma Qing Hua, will be driving the Renault-powered CT03 during FP1 of the Chinese Grand Prix one week prior to Rossi’s turn. For Ma it will be an opportunity to drive at the site of his home Grand Prix, a chance that Rossi hopefully receives in November when F1 heads to Circuit of the Americas for the United States Grand Prix.
It was a major stride towards seeing an American back in an F1 driver’s seat when it was announced that Rossi would once again be a reserve driver for Caterham in 2013, but to have a date for his first drive with talk of an increasing number of drives over the season is a gigantic leap forward. If Rossi grabs a race seat for 2014 it will be a huge personal accomplishment for the young man, as well as a big step forward for the potential growth of Formula 1 in the US.
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