American Rossi named one of Caterham F1 reserves

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Alexander Rossi moves closer to becoming the next American driver to race in Formula 1, as on Friday he was confirmed as one of two reserve drivers for the fledgling Caterham squad.

Rossi and Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua join the team in the role, behind race drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde. Pic’s rookie season last year with fellow new-in-2010 team Marussia is the only year of Formula 1 racing experience between the four of them.

Still, Rossi, who’s progressed in his career after winning a Formula BMW championship in the U.S. before moving to Europe, now stands at the doorstep of his grand prix debut. He raced in the World Series by Renault a year ago.

“After many discussions this winter with Caterham F1 Team regarding my 2013 program, today’s announcement brings me even closer to my goal of racing in F1,” said Rossi, 21. “2013 will be my third season with the Caterham family and I’ve built solid relationships within the whole team.”

He’s expected to drive in multiple Friday first practice sessions this year. He made his first weekend free practice appearance in last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Hua drove four Friday sessions for HRT last year. The Spanish team was unable to find a buyer to keep it afloat into 2013.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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