Former Caterham reserve driver Alexander Rossi will make his race debut for Marussia at Spa this weekend after the Banbury-based team announced that the Amercian racer will replace Max Chilton for this grand prix, with the Briton being sidelined due to “contractual issues”.
Team Principal John Booth said: “Although it was not our intention to offer Alexander the possibility to race this season, in light of the circumstances we are pleased to be providing him with the opportunity to make his Grand Prix debut at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Franchorchamps. “Naturally we hope to resume normal service with respect to our established race driver line-up as soon as possible,” he added. “But for now we wish Alexander well for the weekend ahead and we look forward to seeing him in action.”
Rossi, who joined Marussia as reserve driver last month, added: “It goes without saying that I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to race in Formula 1 for the first time and I cannot thank the Marussia F1 Team enough for the faith they are demonstrating in me.
“It’s a very big moment for me and there’s a lot to prepare in a short space of time, but on the other hand I have felt ready for this for quite a while now,” he said. “It is also exciting to be given this opportunity at such a fantastic and historical circuit as Spa-Francorchamps. I can’t wait to drive the MR03 from tomorrow and I hope to reward the team with a solid race weekend.”
A statement from Chilton’s camp added: “Max Chilton has volunteered to step out of his race seat for this weekend’s race in Spa, Belgium, to allow the team to attract much needed funds by selling his seat. Max will attend the race and be on hand to support the team in any way possible. Marussia are currently in talks with several new investors and it is expected the situation will be resolved before the next race in the F1 calendar in Monza.”
Rossi is the second driver to take over a race seat this weekend with Andre Lotterer set to replace Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham at Spa.