Big changes are afoot within the Caterham F1 and GP2 Series teams following the purchase of the Formula 1 team by a consortium of mysterious Swiss and Middle Eastern investors.
The new frontline management, headed up by former F1 racer Christijan Albers with the support of ‘advisor’ Colin Kolles, have moved to make a number of major changes within the F1 team to try and turn its flagging fortunes around. A number of staff have been let go, and amid all the changes, reserve driver Alexander Rossi has also exited stage left from his role in the F1 and GP2 Series teams.
“I’m very thankful to everyone at Caterham throughout the time I have worked with the team,” Rossi said of his departure.
“We had meetings over the past couple months with the previous and new management. The decision we took to leave Caterham is the right decision for my career.
“I take with me only the positives from my time there, where I logged considerable F1 mileage, driving each of their F1 cars since Lotus Racing entered the F1 World Championship in 2010. I have proven my abilities in F1 equipment, in both testing and free practice sessions, and I’m ready for the next step.”
The 22-year-old joined Caterham in 2011 and raced for its Formula Renault 3.5 Series team before moving into its GP2 Series outfit in 2013. He stepped up to a reserve driver role in the F1 team in 2013, taking part in a number of test and practice sessions while he sought a promotion to its race line-up.
His 2014 GP2 Series campaign has not gone to plan either, with a pair of top-ten finishes at Austria being his only highlight in what has been a barren season.
The Californian will still be on the GP2 Series grid at this weekend’s round at Hockenheim, however. Rossi will race for Campos Racing in place of the underperforming Kimiya Sato – he will face a stern test against new teammate Arthur Pic, who has impressed in his debut season.
Rossi’s former seat at EQ8 Caterham Racing will be taken by Frenchman Tom Dillman, who has secured a two-race deal with the Leafield outfit. Dillman had a ‘super sub’ outing at the Spanish round with Arden International in place of André Negrão, finishing an impressive third in the Sprint Race on the Sunday.
Despite the upheaval, Rossi is confident that he can still become the first American driver on the Formula 1 grid in nearly a decade, and his comments appeared to suggest he had his sites set on the new US-based Formula 1 team headed by Gene Haas, which will join the grid in 2016.
“My goal is to be in F1 and add value to the sport,” he added. “We have a great opportunity to grow the sport in the States and I believe the timing is perfect. I’m also very pleased to see an American F1 entry, Haas Formula with plans to join the F1 grid in 2016.”
Images via XPB Images