Caterham to give Rossi P1 run

Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi will become the first American driver to take part in a Grand Prix weekend for five years in Spain next week after Caterham confirmed the 21-year-old would drive their car in Practice One.

The 20-year-old Formula Renault 3.5 driver was made one of the team's test drivers for 2012 over the winter following an appearance behind the wheel of their 2011 car in last November's Young Driver Test and has now been handed the chance to get a first taste of a GP weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya next Friday.

Rossi will take over Heikki Kovalainen's CT01 for the opening 90-minute practice session of the weekend and is hoping to maximize the opportunity.

"I am looking forward to getting back into the F1 car in Spain and I want to thank the team for the chance to run in FP1 in Barcelona," he said.

"I have a clear goal for the session – make sure I run to the plan set by the engineers, not make any mistakes and learn as much as I can over the whole weekend.

"I know how much I will be able to take from my time with the team back to my Formula Renault 3.5 commitments and I know the team will do everything they can to help me maximize my performance on Friday."

Caterham Technical Director Mark Smith expressed confidence that Rossi was ready for the step up to full F1 level.

"We will also be giving our Test Driver Alexander Rossi his first FP1 run with us in Barcelona and we are all looking forward to giving him the chance to work with us at a full race weekend," Smith said.

"He did a good job in Abu Dhabi when we ran him in the young driver test in 2011 and I am sure he will perform well for us on Friday in Spain."

Scott Speed was the last American driver to compete in F1 for Toro Rosso prior to his acrimonious departure from the Red Bull junior team in 2007. Indeed, the United States will stage its first Grand Prix since that season at the new Circuit of the Americas venue in Austin in November.

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