Alexander Rossi has been confirmed, not surprisingly, to run in first practice at Circuit of the Americas in Austin next Friday. The Caterham reserve driver will thus become the first American to run in a Grand Prix weekend at this circuit.
“I’ve already driven COTA several times, including in a classic Grand Prix car, so I know the layout well, but driving a current-season F1 car is a bit different altogether and on Grand Prix weekend it’s a very important responsibility,” Rossi said in the team’s advance release.
“With the amount of F1 testing I’ve already done over the last few years, I’m fully prepared to do the best job for the team in FP1,” he added. “As it’s an official practice session it’s important that I help the team as much as possible to set the car up right for the rest of the weekend, while, for me, this is another chance to use the session to continue to learn, develop and progress towards the next step up to being the next full-time F1 race driver.”
Rossi will take Giedo van der Garde’s chassis for the session, leaving the Dutchman to learn the circuit in FP2. Charles Pic raced at Austin last year with Marussia.
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.