Rossi hit with grid penalty for F1 debut

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Alexander Rossi has been hit with a five place grid penalty ahead of his Formula 1 debut in this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Rossi will become the first American to race in a grand prix since Scott Speed in 2007 on Sunday after agreeing a five-round deal with Manor earlier this week.

On Friday, Rossi enjoyed his first run in an F1 car since practice for last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, and put in a solid display despite crashing into the wall at the end of the session.

“It’s a shame that a small mistake overshadowed what for me was a very positive first day with the team here in Singapore,” Rossi said on Friday. “Prior to that, I was really pleased with how things were going, so I’m not too downhearted, although I have to acknowledge the supreme efforts of my car crew – both car crews in fact – in getting my car repaired so quickly.

“These are not ideal conditions to work in at the best of times, as the humidity is incredible, so I’ll try to reward their hard work over the rest of the weekend.

“I didn’t get the chance to do my option run, so it will be a busy FP3 session tomorrow, but I’m focused on the positives from today and looking forward to picking up where I left off.”

On Saturday morning, the FIA technical delegate in Singapore confirmed that both Rossi and Manor teammate Will Stevens will be hit with a grid penalties after their respective practice crashes forced the team to change their gearboxes.

“Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi, the original driver who is replaced by Alexander Rossi at this Event, did finish the last race in Monza and this gearbox change was before the six consecutive Events expired,” Jo Bauer wrote.

“Therefore this is not in compliance with Article 28.6a of the 2015 Formula One Sporting Regulations.”