American F1 hopeful Alexander Rossi has been thrown a lifeline after losing out on claiming the final seat on the 2016 Formula 1 grid at Manor Racing.

The Californian, who finished as runner-up in the GP2 Series championship and contested five Grands Prix for the Manor team in 2015, will drive a fourth Andretti Autosport car in the upcoming IndyCar Series championship.

“I’m very much looking forward to making my IndyCar Series debut this season and am proud to be racing with a team of such high calibre and pedigree as that of Andretti Autosport,” he said.

“As a racer through and through, I cannot wait to get started: out goal is to be competitive immediately as the first race in St Petersburg [on March 13].”

Rossi will race alongside Colombia’s Carlos Muñoz and fellow Americans Ryan Hunter-Reay and Michael Andretti in an expanded four-car line-up following the team’s merger with the single-car Bryan Herta Autosport outfit.

Rossi lost out in a bidding war with fellow GP2 Series racer Rio Haryanto in securing a seat at Manor Racing for the 2016 Formula 1 season, despite an impressive debut showing with the Banbury squad during his late-season campaign last year.

He has made no secret of wanting to keep his foot in the door in Formula 1, and it is widely anticipated that he will dovetail his IndyCar rookie campaign with a test or reserve driver role.

Image via XPB Images

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.