Alexander Rossi set for FP1 in Montreal and Austin

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Caterham has confirmed that reserve driver Alexander Rossi will get the chance to take part in the first free practice session ahead of both Formula 1 grands prix in North America this year.

Rossi is currently the only American driver to hold an FIA superlicense that is required to race in Formula 1, and has been an integral part of Caterham’s team since 2012. Last year, he balanced his duties with a GP2 campaign that saw him finish as the top rookie and claim one race win.

This season, he will again get the chance to put in some laps in front of his home fans at Austin at the end of October, as well as running in practice for the  Canadian Grand Prix in June.

“Each time I step into F1 machinery there is an important job to do,” Rossi said. “Montreal and Austin are important races for me and I want to thank Caterham for the opportunity to continue my development to a full time race seat in F1.

“My GP2 program combined with my F1 team reserve driver duties give me invaluable insight and experience for my future.”

Rossi is looking forward to finally getting behind the wheel of the CT05 car, and it will be made all the sweeter by the fact that there will be a number of American fans in Montreal to see him do so.

“I’ve built up a lot of hours in the F1 simulator already this year, but Montreal will be my first visit behind the wheel of the CT05 on track,” he said. “I look forward to a positive runplan for both the Canadian and USA sessions.”

Last year, Rossi’s practice time in Montreal was limited because of the weather, whilst practice in Austin was delayed as there was no medical helicopter on site.

Following the announcement of Haas Formula earlier this month, Rossi will undoubtedly be looking to impress during practice in order to secure a seat with the American team, which could possibly line up on the grid in Australia next March.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

SMP Racing
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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.