Alexander Rossi has confirmed that he will race with number 53 in Formula 1 ahead of his long-awaited grand prix debut in Singapore this weekend.
Rossi will become the first American driver to race in F1 since Scott Speed in 2007 this weekend after agreeing a five-race deal with Manor that was announced on Wednesday.
Replacing Roberto Merhi, Rossi will race in Singapore, Japan, Mexico and Brazil as well as in front of his home fans at the United States Grand Prix at the end of October.
Prior to making their F1 debuts, drivers are required to pick a number that they will carry throughout their career in the sport.
Rossi confirmed on his Twitter account on Thursday that he had picked no. 53, accompanying the message with a picture of another famous no. 53 car.
Rossi’s arrival has been the focus of attention in the paddock during Thursday’s media duties as he prepares to make his grand prix debut on Sunday.
Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.
Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.
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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.
“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.
“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”
The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.
Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.