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American Alexander Rossi is working his way toward Formula 1, signing with Caterham F1 Team as their official test driver, in support of Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov. Rossi will take part in the Friday free practice sessions on Formula 1 weekends and will work in the F1 simulator, helping him gain further experience as he takes the next step towards a race seat with the team.
His full-time job will be in the 2012 World Series by Renault FR 3.5 Championship, where Rossi, 20, contends for the title with Arden Caterham Motorsport as teammate to Lewis Williamson.
In his first season in the Renault FR 3.5 championship, Rossi finished third overall and won the rookie championship with two wins and seven podiums. His new role with Arden Caterham Motorsport is an ideal alignment to his relationship and duties with the Caterham F1 Team as their official test driver, coupled with his participation in the Friday F1 practice sessions.
The World Series by Renault FR 3.5 championship introduces a new car for the 2012 season and testing begins next week at Paul Ricard circuit in southern France. The last time Rossi raced at Paul Ricard, he came away with a win and is looking forward to continuing this trend.
"I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to make this dual announcement; my goal to be in Formula 1 is one step closer after being signed as test driver for Caterham F1 team. I want to thank Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and Riad Asmat for their trust in me and long-term commitment to my career," Rossi said. "In the past year I have spent time in Hingham at the factory and built solid relationships right across the team; I feel really comfortable with everyone and am looking forward to growing as a professional with Caterham and acquiring as much experience as possible from Friday practice, the F1 simulator and time with the team," he noted.
Fernandes sees the signing of Rossi as a forward step for both the Caterham F1 team and for Rossi's career: "As our official F1 test driver, Alexander is a key figure in our long-term plans, and the investment we are making i him now will help him make the most of the natural talent he has at his disposal. Giving him the chance to take part in free practice gives Alexander the platform from which he can grow into an even bigger F1 role."