Alexander Rossi and Ma Qing Hua have been confirmed as the Caterham F1 team's official reserve drivers for the forthcoming 2013 season, joining Charles Pic
and Giedo van der Garde in the line-up.
American Rossi will shoulder the main reserve role, building on several seasons as part of the Caterham development squad and both GP2 and World Series by Renault
campaigns. He first drove for the F1 team at the 2011 Abu Dhabi 'young driver' test and filled the role of test driver last season, making his official F1 debut in FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Rossi will get more track time in 2013, following the confirmation that he is slated to drive one of the team's two cars in free practice at a number of grands prix.
"After many discussions this winter with Caterham regarding my 2013 programme, today's announcement brings me even closer to my goal of racing in F1,” he insisted, "2013 will be my third season with the Caterham family and I've built solid relationships within the whole team.
“My goals from the Friday practice sessions that I will drive this season is to fulfil the team's run plan for each session, work closely with everyone and learn as much as possible, always being ready for the next opportunity. As Caterham F1's reserve driver I will attend all F1 events, allowing me to integrate fully within in the team technically, commercially and from a sporting perspective in F1, best preparing me for the next step. I plan to make the most of this season and the opportunities afforded to me so I'll be best prepared for what comes next."
Ma, meanwhile, transfers from the now defunct-HRT team, where he made several FP1 outings towards the end of 2012. The Chinese driver will appear in FP1 at his home grand prix as part of his programme, but his signing is likely to be as much about the backing he can bring to the team as the contribution he can make to its development.
In addition to his F1 programme, however, Ma will contest the full GP2 Series with Caterham Racing, giving him the opportunity to compete, and develop, against some of the best young talent in motorsport as he takes the next step up in a career that has seen him race in the Asian Formula Renault
Challenge, Italian F3000, A1 Grand Prix and British F3.
"I am very excited about joining the Caterham family and would like to thank everyone at the Caterham F1 team and Caterham Racing for giving me the chance to race in GP2 and to extend my F1 experience,” Ma noted.
"Both teams have everything they need to keep growing in the right direction and I am looking forward to playing an important role in helping them achieve what they've set out to this year. I know the fans at home will be really excited to see me race in GP2 and with the F1 work I also have ahead of me, China can be proud that it continues to have a driver involved in motor racing at the very highest level."