Formula One is heading toward its first of two North American stops this season with the Canadian Grand Prix, and that means it’s almost time for American driver and Caterham reserve Alexander Rossi to suit up.
Back in April, Caterham confirmed that Rossi, the only American with a FIA superlicense, would run for the team in FP1 at both this weekend’s race in Montreal and again in the fall at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
Rossi has been diligently preparing with lots of simulator work and hopes that it will help him as he steps into the cockpit of the real-life, Renault-powered CT05 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“FP1 in Montreal will be my first drive of the year in the 2014 F1 car, but after the amount of laps I’ve done in the sim with the CT05, I’m already pretty familiar with how it’ll be inside the cockpit,” he said in a team release.
“Obviously, it’s not quite the same as actually being out on track, but I have a lot of F1 mileage under my belt with the various FP1s and test days I’ve completed and having driven in FP1 in Canada last year, I know I can go straight to work and help the team complete its plan for the session.
The 22-year-old has already had some FP1 experience with Caterham. In 2012, he drove Heikki Kovalainen’s car in FP1 at Barcelona, and in last year’s Canadian round, he did the same in Charles Pic’s car.
As you’d expect, Rossi is grateful to have another opportunity to drive an F1 machine.
“The chances for young drivers like me to be in current-season cars on track are very limited, and obviously every lap counts over a race weekend,” he said.
“But the fact the team sees that I can add value from the work I do in the car, and they can keep helping me to learn, shows great support and how committed they are to developing young talent.”
Last year in Montreal, Rossi had to deal with wet conditions that limited his practice time on the track. This year, he’s hopeful to have more cooperative weather and more laps – but is ready to deal with rain again if need be.
“The weather should hopefully be dry, so if that stays true we should have a full session run and be out as the green lights come on,” he said.
“If it rains, then so be it. I’ll still be focused 100 percent on the job the team asks me to do.”