Despite pulling out of Formula One, BMW is staying true to its promise of giving two talented young Formula BMW drivers their first taste of an F1 car. Alexander Rossi and Esteban Gutiérrez will take part in the official Formula One test for young drivers at Jerez from 1st - 3rd December 2009.
"Depriving these junior drivers of the test we had promised them was not an option for us, even after the withdrawal of BMW from Formula One," said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "BMW remains committed to motor sport and is keen to continue making a contribution to well-structured talent development."
Rossi, from Nevada City in California, earned his opportunity to test an F1 car by taking victory in the 2008 Formula BMW World Final in Mexico City. The 18-year-old qualified for the international showdown by winning the Formula BMW Americas series earlier that year.
The 2009 season saw Rossi finish fourth overall in the International Formula Master series and wrap up the rookies' title in the process. Shortly before his 18th birthday - which he celebrated on 25th September 2009 - the American was able to familiarize himself with the Jerez circuit during a test in a GP2 car. He went on to make his GP2 Asia debut in Abu Dhabi during the final weekend of the Formula One season on 31stOctober/1st November, finishing fourth in race 1 and fifth in the sprint race.
As Rossi is keen to emphasize: "I take the opportunity to present myself as a driver at Formula One level very seriously and I'm very aware of the far-reaching potential it has. I feel very fortunate and my goals for the test are to put in a fantastic performance while fully absorbing the whole experience. There is a growing list of people that have helped me get where I am today. This is a team effort and I am very grateful for this support. A special thanks to BMW Motorsport Director Dr. Mario Theissen for making this test possible and having the confidence in me."
Gutiérrez - another 18-year-old - also secured his place at the Formula One test on the back of strong performances in Formula BMW. Having swept to the 2008 Formula BMW Europe title in convincing fashion, the Mexican went into the World Final on home territory as favorite, eventually finishing third.
Gutiérrez was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon on 5th August 1991 and now lives in Paris. This year he finished ninth in the drivers' standings in the Formula 3 Euro Series. A GP2 test at Jerez in October enabled him, like Rossi, to gain prior knowledge of the track in southern Spain. In early November he completed a two- day test in a GP2 car in Le Castellet, southern France.
The Mexican explains: "We have put all our efforts into the preparations for this great opportunity that will provide me with an insight into what the future may bring. The opportunity to drive a Formula One car is the fulfillment of part of my dreams. I feel very pleased and will use this experience to learn about and experience the professionalism of a Formula One team. This will help me to find the aspects where I need to work on myself more. This test is the achievement of many people who have given me support. It is also an honor for me to represent my home country Mexico. I will deliver my best."
The three days of testing (for young drivers who have taken part in no more than two Formula One events) were written into the FIA rule-book for 2009. A large number of F1 teams are expected to travel to Jerez, not least because no other testing has been permitted since the start of the season and the ban remains in force until 31st December.
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