Alexander Rossi has confirmed his departure from the Caterham F1 and GP2 Series teams with immediate effect. He has stepped down before this weekend’s round at Hockenheim and joined Campos Racing in place of Kimiya Sato; Tom Dillmann has come in to replace the American at EQ8 Caterham Racing.
Rossi has been part of the Caterham family since 2011, and has raced for the operation in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and in GP2, and has participated in a handful of free practice sessions for the F1 team, most recently at Montreal this year. He was scheduled for another run in front of his home fans at Austin later in the year, but that will no longer happen.
“I’m very thankful to everyone at Caterham throughout the time I have worked with the team,” said Rossi. “We had meetings over the past couple months with the previous and new management. The decision we took to leave Caterham is the right decision for my career.
“I take with me only the positives from my time there, where I logged considerable F1 mileage, driving each of their F1 cars since Lotus Racing entered the F1 World Championship in 2010. I have proven my abilities in F1 equipment, in both testing and free practice sessions, and I’m ready for the next step.”
The next step for now is a one-off appearance for the Campos Racing squad at Hockenheim this weekend. Regular driver Sato has stepped aside so he can concentrate on his Auto GP World Series commitments where he currently leads the championship, so Rossi takes his place alongside Arthur Pic in Germany.
“I’m very much looking forward to joining the Campos GP2 team this weekend in Germany,” said the American. “I had a chance to work with the team’s Technical Director Philippe Gautheron during the latter part of the 2013 season, including my win in Abu Dhabi. I feel we have a very good opportunity for a strong race weekend in Hockenheim.”
Team Principal Adrian Campos, who brought the team back into GP2 this season, is delighted to have Rossi driving one of his cars this weekend, even if it is just for the round in Germany.
″We are very pleased to welcome a driver of Alexander’s speed and experience into our GP2 team and we’re looking forward to a good weekend in Hockenheim,” said Campos. “It’s a great opportunity for both us and Alexander and we’re confident that he will settle into the car very quickly and we will work together to get the absolute maximum out of the weekend.
“He will replace Kimiya Sato who is currently leading the Auto GP Championship and, due to a clash of races this weekend, the decision was made for him to focus on that series. Alexander has clearly shown his talent, speed and skill by winning races and bringing home several podium positions, so we are very much looking forward to working with him.”
While Rossi finds himself at Campos, Frenchman Dillmann has joined Caterham for at least the German and Hungarian weekends. The twenty-five year old has not raced full time in GP2 this year, but made a one-off appearance for Arden International in Spain and finished on the podium.
“I am really happy to be back in the GP2 Series with EQ8 Caterham Racing,” said Dillmann. “Driving for a successful team means that we should be able to achieve good results together and I hope that these two race weekends will help me find a GP2 seat for the rest of the season.
“Hockenheim is the closest circuit to my house and I consider it my home race, I have spent many hours driving the track in various categories and had several wins there. This weekend I hope to be straight on the pace, fighting for the top step of the podium and making a good impression on my new team.”
EQ8 Caterham Racing Team Principal Mia Sharizman has wished outgoing driver Rossi the best of luck for the future, but is happy with the team remaining within the Caterham Group after all the upheaval with the F1 team in recent weeks.
“There has been a lot of well publicised change at Caterham during the last few weeks, but we are very pleased to remain part of Caterham Group, alongside Caterham Moto Racing Team and fly the Caterham motorsport flag in our respective Series,” said Sharizman. “We wish Alexander all the best for the future, but now welcome Tom to our team and have confidence that he can help us gain top results and further boost our championship position.
“Every single EQ8 Caterham Racing team member has put in a huge effort this season and I would like to thank them for their hard work and continued dedication to the team.”
Despite leaving Caterham, Rossi remains positive and still has ambitions to reach Formula 1, and will do everything he can to make it happen.
“My goal is to be in F1 and add value to the sport,” insisted Rossi. “We have a great opportunity to grow the sport in the States and I believe the timing is perfect. I’m also very pleased to see an American F1 entry, Haas Formula with plans to join the F1 grid in 2016.”