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F1 Singapore Grand Prix: Rossi set for F1 debut with Manor in Singapore

Alexander Rossi is set to race for the Manor F1 team in five of the seven remaining rounds of the 2015 Formula 1 season, starting this weekend as he replaces Roberto Merhi.
Alexander Rossi has agreed a deal to race for Manor F1 in five of the seven remaining rounds of the 2015 Formula 1 season, starting this weekend as he replaces Roberto Merhi.

The 23-year-old will make his F1 debut at the Singapore Grand Prix and is also set to compete in all the rounds which do not clash with his GP2 commitments.

This means Rossi will drive for Manor in Singapore, Japan, the USA, Mexico and Brazil but will return to the F1 feeder series with Racing Engineering for Russia and the season finale in Abu Dhabi to fight for the GP2 title.

As a result of this deal, Merhi will become an official reserve driver alongside Fabio Leimer but will regain his race seat in Sochi and at Yas Marina. Manor has not confirmed its driver line-up for 2016, while British driver Will Stevens remains unaffected by Rossi's move.

Manor team principal John Booth says the team support Rossi's decision to keep fighting for the GP2 title and consequently miss out on the Russian and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The American driver currently trails GP2 Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne by 108 points with three rounds remaining.

“We are delighted to sign Alexander as race driver,” Booth said. “He is widely-regarded as a driver who is on the cusp of an exciting F1 career and his current form in the GP2 Series has done much to reinforce his clear potential. With that in mind, we are pleased to support his current GP2 commitments while he continues to battle for the championship win."

Rossi will be familiar with many at the Manor Marussia F1 Team, having acted as reserve driver during the back end of the 2014 season, in which he took part in the Free Practice 1 session at Spa during the Belgian Grand Prix. Singapore will mark his Formula 1 debut competing in a full Grand Prix.

“Signing Alexander is a continuation of our proud record of providing young drivers with the opportunity to showcase their talents," Booth added. "We believe he will do a great job and look forward to seeing him race for the first time this weekend in Singapore."

The GP2 challenger will become the first American F1 driver since Scott Speed in 2007 and will compete in his home Grand Prix when Formula 1 visits the Circuit of the Americas in Texas in October.

“It is also fantastic news for the sport that it will have an American driver again, particularly with the United States Grand Prix on our horizon,” he said. “I know Alexander is very excited about that and we look forward to providing him with the opportunity to show the American public what he can do.

“While Roberto is obviously disappointed, he understands that this decision is in the long-term interests of the team and we thank him for his professionalism.

“No decision has been made regarding our 2016 driver line-up and we will continue to evaluate our options during the remainder of the season.”

Rossi says he has 'unfinished business' with Manor having moved to the team midway through last season but his time was cut short when the F1 squad fell into administration.

“I'm very thankful to race for the Manor Marussia F1 Team and for their continued belief in me,” Rossi said. “I've been prepared for this opportunity for quite a while now. Many will know from 2014 that the team and I already have a strong relationship and there's a bit of unfinished business for me here.

“They exemplify passion and true strength of character, and their comeback this season is extraordinary. I'm honored to be part of this legacy and their continued growth and success.

“Since Monza, my return to F1 came together rather quickly and seamlessly. The collective support of both Manor and Racing Engineering was instrumental in making this opportunity possible. Singapore is a circuit I really enjoy and the timing of my debut could not be more perfect. There's a lot of work ahead and I'm looking forward to a busy end to the 2015 season.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
22.08.2014- Free Practice 1, Alexander Rossi (USA) Marussia F1 Team
Alexander Rossi (USA) Caterham F1 Reserve Driver. 08.07.2014. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, Tuesday.
25.07.2014- Free Practice 1, Alexander Rossi (USA), Marussia
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20.10.2016 - Track detail
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September 17, 2015 2:11 AM

JJJ: Desperate attempt to make Haas have to come up with a different excuse to put Guttierez in the car? I kind of like the change though, Mehri for whatever reason has mostly come up short versus Stevens this year so let's see what Rossi can do. I think he's a pretty decent driver, not top 5 and most likely not top 10 material in F1 but he's the best 'Murican out there right now and I look at it like this: I'd rather see a fairly decent driver in F1 that hasn't had a chance yet than someone who has already had two full years of getting beaten badly by subsequently Hulk and Sutil. If Guttierez gets that seat it's a lost seat to me. If Rossi gets it who knows what he can do...he's not gonna be much worse (if any) and at least with him there is upside potential. Who knows maybe he gets along well with these F1 cars.
He may be the best "murican" in Gp2 but he's not even close to the most talented formula car racer from America. Josef Newgarden, Sean Rahal, Sage

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