Le Grand Retour
Paul Ricard 2018
French Grand Prix
American Rossi takes step closer to F1 race seat with Caterham test role
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Mar 2012   |  6:05 pm GMT  |  45 comments

The next few years are big ones for Formula 1’s attempts to re-establish itself in the United States with the scheduled arrivals of Austin, and then New Jersey, on the calendar and so it is fitting that at least one American driver is back around the F1 scene for 2012, after Caterham confirmed Alexander Rossi as their official test driver for the new season.

Rossi joined the team’s young driver development programme last year and tested the then Team Lotus-branded car on one day of last November’s young driver test in Abu Dhabi, having already competed for the sister GP2 team in the non-championship GP2 final at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Caterham say the 20-year-old from California will drive in some Friday first practice sessions, a duty he will share with Dutchman Giedo van der Garde – who was named as the team’s reserve driver last month – and complete regular stints in the team’s simulator. In order to keep his racing instincts sharp, it was also confirmed today Rossi will remain in the World Series by Renault and drive for the Arden team which has recently linked up with Caterham.

Rossi said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to make this dual announcement today. My goal to be in Formula 1 is one step closer after being signed as Test Driver for Caterham F1 Team. I want to thank Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and Riad Asmat for their trust in me and long term commitment to my career. The Caterham F1 Team support, coupled with the efforts of my management and investors, has brought my goal of reaching an F1 race seat one step closer.”

Tony Fernandes hinted of bigger things to come for Rossi at Caterham when in the announcement he said the 20-year-old was “key figure in our long-term plans, and the investment we are making in him now will help him make the most of the natural talent he has at his disposal”. He added: “We see 2012 as an important year for Alexander, as he will be combining a full calendar in World Series by Renault, a championship he has a very good chance of winning, with his Test Driver role, and giving him the chance to take part in FP1 gives him the platform from which he can grow into an even bigger F1 role.”

Conveniently for both parties, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series will have been completed by the time of the inaugural grand prix in Austin, Texas in mid-November and Rossi’s almost certain appearance on the opening morning of track action there is likely to be welcomed by the organisers given the recent current dearth of American drivers in F1.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

If this guy gets a race seat for next year I hope it’s because he’s quick, not just because there are two US venues on the calendar.


There’s so much young drivers now vying for F1. But the super talented will be far and just maybe one or two at the most. The glamour is irresistible. I’d like to wish those who have the passion success.


While I’m American and would like to root for an American driver, the question I have is whether or not Alex Rossi is indeed worthy of being in F1.

Taking the example of Scott Speed, I was sorely disappointed both in how Toro Rosso dealt with him and his own attitude in F1.

My hope is someone like Marco Andretti gets a shot too, he’s got the name and some speed to back it up.

Either way, good luck to Alex Rossi.

Stone the crows

As much as I’d like to have a driver from the U.S., I don’t want a marketing ploy on the hoof. Rossi appears to be talented, hopefully he gets the chance to develop a bit as a driver. Scott Speed was indeed mishandled. I don’t know if he could have stayed in F-1 on his own merits, but those early years of Toro Rosso were harmful for Speed and Liuzzi’s progress as drivers. Tony Fernandes should be commended for showing both the buisness savy and the foresightedness to help some young talent regardless of where their from.

I had hoped that Mario would pursuade Marco to go to Formula One, but Michael has been the greater influence. It’s really too late for him to try it now, too late as far as his age, and too late to take advantage of his grandfather’s influence in the sport. I think all it will take for the US fans to be won over to a driver is for him to be successful.


Toro Rosso should ba ashamed of the way they man-handled Scott Speed!

I agree with you! Put an Andretti back in an F1 car and watch the US population take notice in a big way. He doesn’t even have to be any good (since there are so many pay drivers around).

It is a fantastic marketing ploy that would attract lots of US sponsorship money. IMO, the US market can only be won over by a well known American driver (eg an Indy Car Champ or the Andretti name).


I thought Rossi raced bikes ..


that another one rossi who race in MOTOGP ..


Next year I think Rossi will be promoted in place of Heikki, who will probably be offered a better ride elsewhere. Petrov and Rossi would be cool – an American and a Russian working together.


can’t be any worse than Scott speed



he is good for Caterham plan in future.


—– way way off topic ——-

Say what you want, but electric cars are at least good for a laugh!



My first reaction like your’s was to laugh, but the more I look at it the more I like it. Probably because it is so absurd.


Rossi is a very special talent. I hope he gets a race seat next year over the distinctly average Petrov and van der Garde


I agree, but in the scheme of things and F1 being primarily a money making business you can’t have the best drivers filling the seats. You have to have a representative of every “emerging” market no matter their skill level so as to keep F1 relevant in those markets. So in about 10 years time I would expect there to be no European drivers and Ferari/McLaren/RBR to move their respective headquarters to Uzbekistan or somewhere equally as important.


Special talent? Based on …? He did’t compare well against the new toro rosso drivers and wickens in 2011.


He compared very well with Vergne and Wickens, finishing 3rd in a strong field and with far less exeprience at this level than the two ahead.


You can say it for Wickens but not for vergne, he’s a good driver but he’s not vergne Who is a top class driver


wickens and rossi drove in the same series in 2010 and 2011. In 2010 wickens was 2nd in gp3 while rossi finished 4th. In 2011 wickens was FR3.5 champion with 5 wins. Rossi was 3rd with only 2 victories. Over a 2 year period wickens had the measure of rossi in the same formula and cars. Facts are facts.


Considering he was a first year driver and Wickens, Vergne and Ricciardo weren’t he did very well. He had a lot of bad luck also, so to come 3rd in the FR 3.5 championship was a very good effort.


It was vergne first full season also


I suspect Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin

Meranun and Riad Asmat must not be very popular in their country for what must be going on in their minds to not give any Asian drivers a chance in their team.

Also with this new appointment, it looks like Heikki’s seat is far from safe for it’s most likely Caterham plan to do a Torro Rosso clean sweep next season especially as both their new test drivers are highly regarded plus will have Friday duties ever grand prix.

But congrats to Rossi for getting his foot in the door, it appears like we will have two Alexanders on the grid pretty soon in the form of Jenson + Rossi.

Meanwhile, it would be beneficial for all concerned if F1 did quit trying to re-establish itself in the US, I mean helloooooo that’s like never going to happen, why don’t people ever learn —> This is just common sense.


The only Asian driver of any quality is Ryo Harianto, and he’s aligned with the Marussia team.

Given that the team know Heikki is their best chance for points, I doubt they’ll boot him out any time soon.


It might be the other way around – Heikki might feel that he can do better elsewhere. If he has another season like 2011 – it would show that he gets along with Pirelli tyres, he could get a number #2 slot in a bigger team. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull all have potential vacancies next year. All outside shots given his McLaren history, but if he spins the right message about that time, it could be forgotten.


F1 needs more cars on the grid.

We have F1 drivers driving around for 15-20 years still hogging seats while new talent being test drivers sitting at home watching their team on a TV screen?

3 cars a team gets more attractive everytime I read news like this.


3 cars sounds good… but then there’s the cost issue.


Whilst there may not be any Italian in F1 it’s nice to see a driver of Italian heritage pottentially coming through the ranks ha ha

Stephen Johnson

Don’t forget about Paul di Resta.


Dario Franchitti is his cousin isn’t he? Good Italian-Scottish heritage!!


Have you fogotten Di Resta?


Whats ricciardo then?


Thanks guys I forgot about Ricciard, looks like I’ll be cheering him on this year.

Grayzee (Australia)

He’s an Aussie, born and bred….with Italian ancestery. Leave him alone, he’s ours!! 🙂


Ozzie! Ozzie! Ozzie!


There is one already – in the form of Daniel Ricciardo 🙂


BTW Does anyone *really think American teenagers talk like this: “I am absolutely delighted…”

If he said anything other than “sweet” or “awesome” I’m afraid he’s an impostor!

Could the PR ppl *please get up to date!?



This will never work out: he’s not a blonde!


This is good for USA. Small Step. Meanwhile I admit getting quite confused about so many teams naming so many Reserve Drivers: I get the impression there have been more Reserve Drivers named in the past few months than there are teams on the grid! Or am I getting confused with ‘Test Drivers’? (Are they the same?).

So, please could some kind F1-head who knows all these things be kind enough to list all the teams and the names of their drivers, test drivers, reserve drivers (currently – presumably subject to change!!) PLUS also list the names of drivers who WERE named but now seemed to have been side-lined? THANKS to anyone who can do this!


A team can have as many test drivers as it likes, but only one driver will be nominated as its reserve in case one of the race drivers falls ill or something.


Great news. Finally a american driver on a F1 team. The f 3.5 series has now promoted 3 drivers to F1. Only problem is how can the winner of the series not get a ride? Robert wickens beat all three of the drivers that got promoted and still hasn’t got a ride. Canadians have always done well in F1, give the guy a break.


Hear hear! Canadians have also supported F1 far more enthusiastically than Americans, in my opinion. Really hope Wickens isn’t forgotten. But there are other Canucks who are in DTM (as Wickens likely will be) and not being offered a shot in F1, too. Unfortunate.


Stan you are absolutely right. Wickens beats out the 2 toro rosso guys and rossi and he gets left behind. Does not make any sense. Read reports that he may be headed to DTM with MB. Hopefully he can get noticed there and find himself in a F1 ride in the near future like PDR.


This is good news for F1 as a whole. It also shows how serious Caterham are about F1 and they mean business unlike Marussia who in my opinion went on the wrong direction with Villota.


Yeah that was clearly just for Publicity! Poor Woman!


Can anyone tell me how to know in advance at which races he will be in the first Friday practices?

Top Tags