Force India reserve driver James Rossiter will have his first outing on a Grand Prix weekend at his home Grand Prix. The 29-year-old Englishman will drive Adrian Sutil’s chassis in free practice one on Friday at Silverstone.
Rossiter joined the team ahead of 2012 and has primarily focused on simulator runs. He did test the VJM06 earlier this year at Jerez.
“This is an amazing opportunity and I’m really looking forward to taking part in an official practice session during a Grand Prix weekend,” Rossiter said in a team release. “The fact that Silverstone is my home race makes the news even sweeter. The main reason for driving the car is to help progress the team’s simulator program, which I’ve been working on for almost twelve months. I drove the car during winter testing in February, but it’s valuable to have another opportunity to experience the real car and make sure it’s in harmony with the simulator.”
Rossiter has a prior history in Formula One with Honda, serving as a test driver for both the factory and offshoot Super Aguri teams last decade. He was also linked to a seat at the stillborn USF1 team before it failed to make the 2010 grid.
He’s competed in sports car racing with Acura (Andretti Green Racing in 2008 in the U.S.) and Lotus, both in a GTE-spec Evora and LMP2 car that Lotus had sponsored. He had one test for KV Racing Technology ahead of the 2010 IndyCar season and was in line for that team’s third seat before Mario Moraes found the backing to continue.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.