Alexander Rossi to race in Singapore

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Last year American fans in F1 had a 24 hour period of hope. Despite the collective loathe of pay drivers on the grid, there was news that the sole U.S. based driver anywhere near the pinnacle of motorsport, Alexander Rossi, was set to drive for Caterham in Austin. Social media lit up as Western F1 fans finally had a “hometown” son to root for. Well our hopes were dashed shortly after, with the unsurprising announcement that Caterham was no more – forced into administration along with Marussia, and unable to make the fly-away races.

Those of us here in the TJ13 towers, and many others around the world, suggested that it was a truly missed opportunity for the commercial rights holder. Bernie failed to capitalize on the social media buzz, and failing to “help” the two bankrupt teams in a way that they would be able to at least compete in the closing races. The American market has been tough for F1 to crack since the debacle in Indianapolis, and this was a PR opportunity that does not come along very often.

Well sometimes you get two chances.

Financially insecure Manor has announced today that Alexander Rossi will drive 5 of the 7 races left in the 2015 season, (Singapore, Japan, US, Mexico, and Brazil. His GP2 commitments conflict with Russia and Abu Dhabi). This no doubt brings Manor a much needed influx of cash.

He is not completely new to the modern V6 turbo cars, having practiced for both Caterham and Marussia last year. The unusually quiet Silly Season has also grumbled rumors of Rossi finding at seat at HAAS.

Gene appeared to downplay that idea by saying in interviews that he wanted two “experienced” drivers. Prior to Manors announcement, Rossi would not have fit this criteria. But now Rossi should have 5 races under his belt, a secure super license, and a ton more data for the engineers to study about his driving skills.

His prospects for a 2016 drive have jumped enormously in the last 24 hours, and HAAS close relationship with Ferrari suddenly gives him an opportunity that many other drivers have fought their whole lives for. Let’s hope he makes the most of it.

Here are Manors official statements:

“Signing Alexander is a continuation of our proud record of providing young drivers with the opportunity to showcase their talents,” said team Principal John Booth.

“We believe he will do a great job and look forward to seeing him race for the first time this weekend in Singapore.

“It is also fantastic news for the sport that it will have an American driver again, particularly with the United States Grand Prix on our horizon and now two races in South America, in Mexico and Brazil.

“I know Alexander is very excited about that and we look forward to providing him with the opportunity to show the American public what he can do.

“While Roberto is obviously disappointed, he understands that this decision is in the long-term interests of the team and we thank him for his professionalism.

“No decision has been made regarding our 2016 driver line-up and we will continue to evaluate our options during the remainder of the season.”

“We are delighted to sign Alexander as race driver. He is widely-regarded as a driver who is on the cusp of an exciting F1 career and his current form in the GP2 Series has done much to reinforce his clear potential.”

In an official statement from the team, Rossi is quoted as saying. “I’m very thankful to race for the Manor Marussia F1 team and for their continued belief in me. I’ve been prepared for this opportunity for quite a while now.

“Many will know from 2014 that the team and I already have a strong relationship and there’s a bit of unfinished business for me here.

“This is a small F1 team that has been through so much. They exemplify passion and true strength of character, and their comeback this season is extraordinary. I’m honoured to be part of this legacy and their continued growth and success.”

 

 

**Updated 19:00 GMT** TD

21 responses to “Alexander Rossi to race in Singapore

  1. Poor Mehri, drops FR3.5 5 days ago to concentrate on F1 and is subsequently dropped by Manor, they must be running dry on funds!

  2. Well, judging by Rossi’s performances in other series, I don’t think he has anything to lose by going into the F1 now. After (almost?) 3 seasons of being a test driver to Caterham and later Marussia, it’s without a doubt only money which made the decision in his favor. He is not so outstanding a talent, that he could receive a better offer and I predict that he’ll be replaced by another well-sponsored rookie soon enough. Give the guy a year or two and his only chance to remain in the sport might be Haas Racing, solely because of his nationality this time.

  3. How to put off Americans?
    By having their driver trundling along on the last place. How many uninformed American journo’s will ask if he feels he can get a podium or win?

  4. Mmmm..me thinks a super license and experience has a little something to do here. Maybe Rossi is for the Hass seat and with Manor having the Ferrari back end a deal has been done for the bum time…that and a few shackles

    • That’s my thinking. With his sponsor/racing connections, cobbling together the price of a Manor race seat for a few events would be pretty easy for Haas, without ever getting his name involved.

  5. Can’t imagine poor Fabio is all too pleased at the announcement either. Vandoorne might want to consider throwing the end of the season, no place in F1 for a GP2 champ nowadays now is there 😉

    • Well there was no room this year for last years champion, which is why he’s a TV commentator for this year. Sad really, they should get rid of the GP2 rule where the champion isn’t allowed to compete the next year.

  6. a lot of ways to look at this and at this point in time, we do not have the definitive answer. providing the season plays out as per the announcement, I am very happy, just as I would be if it was VanDorn, Werlein, Palmer or Ocho (all sic) getting this or a better opportunity!
    I just hope Manor did not steal Merhi’s $$ only to rather kick him to the curb. at least he stated up front that he did not know how much of the season he would be running! this is likely a very different scenario to the scum-sucking artists we have recently seen at Williams, Lotus, Sauber, HRT, Caterham, and USF1.
    while on these issues, I have never been a real fan of Force India, BUT, somehow and someway, they seem to have been almost able to capture the near perfect blend of competitiveness/quality/sustainable budget/upgrades/etc..
    I long for the days when the teams would “support” a privateer or run a 3’rd car to showcase a newcomers’ talent – mostly in their home region.
    I am in no way suggesting any of the above drivers are future WDC contenders, but it is reasonable to suggest they all deserve the opportunity to show their worthiness…
    IMHO, it was great for the Sport and the show and the buzz in the ’60’s and it would and will be just as great today if all the stakeholders could get on board!!!

    • Loved your response but Force India get major $$$ from Perez’s sponsor Carlos Slim “Claro”

      • truly and correctly observed situation!!!
        I SO wish this was not the case or need for like 2/3 of FZero 🙂

        and we ALL LUV NICO H, but what has he shown via Perez this year??? hmmm.

        just sayin”….

    • and I in no way deliberately intended to leave out a few other potentially great up-and-coming drivers looking for their opportunity… yeah, as a stupid ‘Murican, I am happy for Rossi, but seriously, I see the need for MUCH more or this feel good/advertising/PR opportunity for our beloved Sport!!!
      it is obvious the greedy narcissistic bastard teams will not do it. neither will the FIA/FOM/CVC/Bernie… also obvious the midfield cannot afford it. so, kewl as hell that SOMEBODY has the damned guts to shake it up!!!
      Nico is done this year. replace him for 2 races. Kimi is done this year. replace him for 4 races. Botox has not and is not impressing me – give him the same treatment the gimp gave Brunno and see how mediocre he is…
      Fred and Jens are done because of Ron and Honder. replace both of them for the rest of the year with someone with a possible future and a few bucks!!!!!! or, go back to the roots and allow a part time 3’rd car or a “supported” privateer car – and I ain’t talking of the shit last year’s car and -1 current engine bullshit, either…
      FZero and it’s myopic stakeholders is in a very serious state of huge disrepair and NONE seem to be listening to fans/sponsors/tracks/promoters/Governments/media, etc…

      I will leave my thoughts re: the incredibly and massively stupid Strategy Group “need” to have FZero go 5 to 6 seconds faster for a more appropriate blog post…

  7. Holy shit !! Who knew Mexico was part of South America! Just another American who will fail abysmally…..anybody remember Michael Andretti or the great Scott Slow,

    • I am not totally disagreeing with you, BUT, I do not feel your comments are completely correct.
      true, Michael TOTALLY screwed his chance at F1 greatness. but, had you seen many times (up close and personal) the brilliance of Jimmy, Graham, Jocqin, Jodi, AJ, Parnelli, Mark, Cale, Dan, Richard, Mario, all 3 of the Unsers, Nigel, John, Jack, Bruce and Denny and more, you would understand all the above (and others) were extraordinary fast and winning driver/racers over MULTIPLE series/technology/tracks/competitors the World OVER for a number of years!!!!!!!

      regarding Scott Speed: most often bested in quali by Liuzi, BUT mostly passed more cars during the F1 races than ANY other driver. certainly does NOT an F1 champion make!
      do a wee bit of research and you will find he was too outspoken for Toro Rosso/Berger/Tost/Red Bull Narcissistic POS self-entitled asswipes….

      he still has a bit of a following in a successful racing career. – one I seriously doubt the bestest of FZero could beat today…

      • whether true or not, it has been reported by MANY sources that multiple CART champions DeMatta and Bordais (sic) were told to “shut up and drive what we give you by Toyucka and Torro Dipshits… unlike Jacque Villineuve who forever brought US Indycar tech to FZero in demanding all 4 corners of the car be set up separately and differently!

        • I did find a story about Villeneuve setting up a ’96 Williams at each four corners of the car separately and unique to major corners on the track. Fascinating.

          Now I consider Schumacher to have had more talent in one finger than Villeneuve could dream of, but that Indy set-up experience helped him put a pass on Schumacher at that race right around the outside of a corner previously considered not possible to overtake at.

          Irrespective of the sheer dominance of the ’96 Williams, It was telling that there was still more F1 could learn. It’s also telling how good Schumacher is that passing him is a career landmark for most. But that’s another story.

      • Seriously you impress me with your knowledge but if you go back to the start of my comment I am making fun of the ignorance of the idiot who puts Mexico as part of South America. It seems that certain people have never seen a map.
        Also, I agree with all the names that you mentioned have been great drivers BUT again I’m referring to F1 drivers. The article is about a new driver joining the circus and that is all I refer to.
        Now about a new American driver In “F1” I know for a fact that the U.S. has failed in producing a great talent since Mario Andretti! Oh, wait a second, he was NOT really an American as he was born in Italy where the love for auto racing bit him at an early age. So if the great Mario is discarded the last great American to conquer F1 was Phil Hill and now we’re going back to 1961.
        Don’t get me wrong, I respect drivers like Dan Gurney and Parnelli Jones but the U.S. has not produced anything of their quality since. Moving to a different series and being successful is great news for Mr. Speed but deep down we all know that he wanted to succeed in the pinnacle of open wheel racing.
        Loved your comment about Ayrton in how you believe you were going to create a firestorm about his lack of success in other international series. If you ever have the time or the opportunity ask Ron about his contract and all the “conditions” that permitted him to race in other series.
        Before I go, we all know he died a little too early but in his career he dominated in all the early categories and once he got to F1 he stayed there. The F1 of the 80’s and 90’s and you can say up to today is very different from the 60’s and 70’s in which you do NOT see top drivers racing in other series (Sorry Nico H.).

  8. I screwed up in failing to mention Sir Jackie as one of the greatest of the greatest. he was. and I was ignorant in failing to mention him… I am REALLY sure there are other heros I forgot to mention, BUT, I deliberately failed to mention Aryton as he failed to ever impress in ANY international series besides FZero
    I am certain this will create a total firestorm of hatred toward me, but woohoo. try proving me wrong that he successfully competed for YEARS in many multiple series with many multiple technological differences…
    he played the single string guitar to perfection, but failed to ever play the full instrument in a high school competition.
    hate me as you will, but prove me wrong in the context of real and true skilled racers!!

    • Interesting perspective. I see where you’re coming from – whether I agree or not. I’ll have a look, have a think and have a beer.

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