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American racer Alexander Rossi has joined Caterham F1 as a test driver for the 2012 campaign, joining full time drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov plus reserve pilot Giedo van der Garde at the Norfolk-based squad.
The 20-year-old finished the 2011 World Series by Renault championship in third placeand will be competing in the series again this year, racing for Arden Caterham.
"I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to make this dual announcement today,” said California's Rossi. “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.”
“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.”
Team Principal Tony Fernandes was equally positive about Rossi's arrival, with a returning United States Grand Prix lniking in well with the announcement.
“Today’s announcement marks an important next step for Caterham F1 Team and Alexander’s career," he explained. "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 Free Practice 1 gives him the platform from which he can grow into an even bigger Formula 1 role.”
Van der Garde is expected to contest between six and eight Friday sessions this season, while Formula 1's trip to Austin presents an ideal practice outing for Rossi.
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