One of the busiest men in motorsports this month, Alexander Rossi, had his first free practice one outing of the season aboard Caterham’s Formula One car in Montreal.
The American had a single FP1 outing in Barcelona last year, but this morning marked the first time an American had been in a car on a North American Grand Prix weekend since Scott Speed at Indianapolis in 2007.
Rossi was cautious through the first half of the session as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve track dried out from heavy rain in the morning.
Still, it didn’t mean he wasn’t impressed with the grip levels of Pirelli’s wet-weather tires, in comparison to other rubber he’s driven on.
“Even just in one lap the amount of grip you have in the wet compared to GP2 is huge. It’s amazing, really good…” he reported back to his team on the radio, which was then tweeted out. “For everyone else it’s ‘yeah, it’s too wet to go out’ but for me, from what I’m used to, it’s ‘there’s so much grip!”
Rossi adapted to the changing conditions, noting an acceptable level of understeer in entry and mid-corner, with some power oversteer on exit. Later in the session he performed more aero tests to get used to the KERS on board the car.
Fast times weren’t necessarily the end goal but in Charles Pic’s chassis, Rossi got down to a 1:27.143 in 20 laps. That was nearly a full 1.4 seconds off teammate Giedo van der Garde, but Rossi got limited running when the track was its driest at the end of the session.
He leaves Montreal straightaway to head to Le Mans, for the Sunday test day ahead of the 24-hour race there June 22-23. Rossi will co-drive the No. 41 Caterham-backed Zytek Nissan for Greaves Motorsport in the LMP2 class, with Eric Lux and Tom Kimber-Smith.