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.