American F1 test driver Alexander Rossi has revealed his excitement ahead of his free practice run out at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Rossi will replace Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde for the first Friday practice session in Bahrain, and he is confident of making a good impression.
“I’m very much looking forward to that because it’s a chance to drive the car and I know the track pretty well,” Rossi told Sky Sports. “I did GP2 Asia there so, while it’s only 90 minutes, it gives me a chance to make an impression.”
This will be Rossi’s second practice session, having taken part in FP1 at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, and he was honest about what he wanted to get out of the Bahrain GP.
“The main focus is to carry out the programme for the team, but let’s be real here: motorsport is all about lap times isn’t it? So I’m going to need to find the balance between carrying out the job for the team and performance.
“At the end of the day everybody is going to look down at the results and see how you do, so while you have to ensure you can get through the run plan and you have to save the tires, you can’t be out for a Sunday drive because that will hurt you in another way.”
With the future of Caterham drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde under scrutiny, Rossi will be keen on impressing as he looks to become the first American driver to compete in a grand prix since Scott Speed in 2007.
Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.
The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.
“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.
“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.
“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”
The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.
Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.
Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.
McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.