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.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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