Scott Speed was the last standard-bearer The U.S. had in the series, but after showing early promise with Formula Renault 2000 titles in Europe, he failed to shine in his seat with Scuderia Toro Rosso, ultimately moving back Stateside to NASCAR. Mario Andretti and Phil Hill both took the trophy home for America, but those titles were decades ago. What America needs now is a new talent to waive the Stars and Stripes at the grand prix circuits of the world. And it could have just that in Alexander Rossi.
The twenty-year-old Californian has shown serious promise in the feeder series, winning the Formula BMW title and landing third in the critical Formula Renault 3.5 series where, with two wins, he emerged as this season's rookie of the year. Rossi was linked to the failed USF1 team, and in 2009 was awarded a test drive for BMW Sauber F1, making him the only American to currently hold the FIA Superlicense required to compete in Formula 1.
Now Rossi's coming back for another try at F1, participating in the young driver test at Abu Dhabi for the outfit currently known as Team Lotus (soon to be renamed Caterham). He'll already be on hand for the GP2 race the same weekend, in which he'll drive for Caterham's feeder squad, Team AirAsia. We'll keep an eye out to see how the young Yank does. Follow the jump for the press release.
Thursday, November 03, 2011 6:04PM
Hingham, UK - 3rd November 2011
Alexander Rossi will have a busy end to the 2011 season, competing for Caterham team AirAsia in the forthcoming GP2 Finale in Abu Dhabi and then taking part in the F1 Young Driver Test for the GP2 team's senior counterparts Team Lotus.
The GP2 Series newcomer showed great pace in both recent GP2 tests at Barcelona and Jerez and finished the final test session P2 after just three days in the new car. The team have high hopes for the young American who adapted very quickly, proving he will be a strong contender in the GP2 2011 Finale race Abu Dhabi, 11th – 13th November. He will also be given the chance to take the next step up to F1 with one full day in the post-F1 race at the Yas Marina Circuit, taking place from 15th – 17th November.
Team Principal Riad Asmat: "We are very excited to have Alexander Rossi back onboard for the Abu Dhabi GP2 race and the subsequent F1 test. He worked very well with the GP2 team during the tests in Spain and it will be great to continue that working relationship in addition to giving him more exposure to the F1 environment with Team Lotus. He has shown maturity and confidence on track so the decision to put him in the car for the GP2 Finale was a simple one to make and we want to give him the chance to experience the pressure of an F1 environment so the young driver test is the natural place to give him that chance. We are all looking forward to both events and I am sure he will perform to the best of his ability whenever he is on track."
Caterham Team AirAsia Team Manager Phill Spencer: "I am very happy Alexander will be joining our GP2 team again in Abu Dhabi. He has shown great potential in the car and built up a good rapport with the team and especially his engineer during the post season tests. We have come a long way since the beginning of this year, it has been a roller coaster season with some highs and lows but I feel confident that with Alexander we can finish 2011 on a positive note."
Alexander Rossi: "I am very excited to finally announce I will be competing in Abu Dhabi with Caterham Team AirAsia and will have the chance to put more F1 miles on my CV with Team Lotus. After the positive Gp2 tests in Jerez and Barcelona I feel we have a good chance of a strong result in the GP2 races and I will definitely be going into the weekend fully focused and motivated for a race win - looking at the team's past results I see no reason why we can't achieve that. For the F1 test I will be looking to learn as much as possible, do the best job I can and soak up every minute, in and out of the car.
"The Yas Marina circuit is really pretty impressive. The track itself has some quite slow corners and not a great deal of overtaking opportunities, but it seems to combine a road course with a circuit course. In the first two sectors you can be quite brave with what you're doing but in the marina section there's very little run-off area as the walls are really close, so you have to restrain yourself somewhat. Every lap requires two different driving styles and that in itself makes it fun and very interesting to race for both the drivers and the engineers."