Caterham has announced the signing of American Alexander Rossi as a test driver for the 2012 F1 season.

Rossi joins Giedo van der Garde on the Caterham testing roster and will take part in a series of Friday practice sessions over the course of the year, with van der Garde unable to compete in Friday practice himself thanks to his GP2 commitments.

News of Rossi's role with the F1 team comes at the same time as he is announced in a drive in the Renault World Series with the newly-formed Arden Caterham team.

"I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to make this dual announcement today," Rossi said. "My goal to be in Formula One 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. The Caterham F1 Team support, coupled with the efforts of my management and investors, has brought my goal of reaching an F1 race seat one step closer.

"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.

"I have not been in a car since the F1 rookie test in Abu Dhabi last November, but have been on the simulator. I am very eager for World Series by Renault testing to begin next week and get down to work, where I'll be running with Arden Caterham in the classic green and yellow colors. The 2011 season was good, but now I have that experience under my belt and I'm determined to fight for the championship throughout the 2012 season. This is going to be an incredible year!"

Caterham F1 team principal Tony Fernandes was delighted to confirm Rossi in the new position.

"Today's announcement marks an important next step for Caterham F1 Team and Alexander's career," he said. "As our official F1 test driver, Alexander is a key figure in our long-term plans and the investment we are making in him now will help him make the most of the natural talent he has at his disposal.

"We see 2012 as an important year for Alexander as he will be combining a full calendar in World Series by Renault, a championship he has a very good chance of winning, with his test driver role and giving him the chance to take part in FP1 gives him the platform from which he can grow into an even bigger F1 role."