It has been confirmed that Alexander Rossi will race for Caterham Team AirAsia in the GP2 Final at Abu Dhabi next weekend, before taking part in the Formula 1 Young Driver Test for parent outfit Team Lotus at the same track the following week.
The American, who finished third overall in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2011, was amongst the pacesetters at the recent GP2 tests at Jerez and Barcelona. His drive for Team Lotus will be his first proper test with the team since joining them as the leading driver in the AirAsia Driver Development Program earlier this year. He previously tested with BMW Sauber at the end of 2009 as a prize for winning the Formula BMW World Final the year before.
“I am very excited to finally announce I will be competing in Abu Dhabi with Caterham Team AirAsia and will have the chance to put more F1 miles on my CV with Team Lotus,” said Rossi.
“After the positive GP2 tests in Jerez and Barcelona I feel we have a good chance of a strong result in the GP2 races and I will definitely be going into the weekend fully focused and motivated for a race win – looking at the team's past results I see no reason why we can't achieve that. For the F1 test I will be looking to learn as much as possible, do the best job I can and soak up every minute, in and out of the car.
“The Yas Marina circuit is really pretty impressive. The track itself has some quite slow corners and not a great deal of overtaking opportunities, but it seems to combine a road course with a circuit course. In the first two sectors you can be quite brave with what you're doing but in the marina section there's very little run-off area as the walls are really close, so you have to restrain yourself somewhat. Every lap requires two different driving styles and that in itself makes it fun and very interesting to race for both the drivers and the engineers.”
Riad Asmat, F1 team CEO and GP2 Team Principal, said: “We are very excited to have Alexander Rossi back onboard for the Abu Dhabi GP2 race and the subsequent F1 test. He worked very well with the GP2 team during the tests in Spain and it will be great to continue that working relationship in addition to giving him more exposure to the F1 environment with Team Lotus.
“He has shown maturity and confidence on track so the decision to put him in the car for the GP2 Finale was a simple one to make and we want to give him the chance to experience the pressure of an F1 environment so the young driver test is the natural place to give him that chance. We are all looking forward to both events and I am sure he will perform to the best of his ability whenever he is on track.”
GP2 Team Manager Phill Spencer added: “I am very happy Alexander will be joining our GP2 team again in Abu Dhabi. He has shown great potential in the car and built up a good rapport with the team and especially his engineer during the post season tests. We have come a long way since the beginning of this year, it has been a roller coaster season with some highs and lows but I feel confident that with Alexander we can finish 2011 on a positive note.”