Rossi to make F1 debut in place of Chilton

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 21, 2014 10:59 AM

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS Belgium (Reuters) - American Alexander Rossi will make his Formula One debut for Marussia at this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix after Britain's Max Chilton was sidelined for contractual reasons.

Rossi, 22, will race alongside Frenchman Jules Bianchi and become the first U.S. driver to start a grand prix since Scott Speed with Toro Rosso in 2006.

Rossi joined British-based Marussia as reserve driver last month after previously carrying out the role at tail-enders Caterham.

"It’s a very big moment for me and there’s a lot to prepare in a short space of time, but on the other hand I have felt ready for this for quite a while now," he said.

"It is also exciting to be given this opportunity at such a fantastic and historical circuit as Spa-Francorchamps. I can’t wait to drive the MR03 from tomorrow and I hope to reward the team with a solid race weekend."

Team principal John Booth indicated the change had not been planned.

"Naturally we hope to resume normal service with respect to our established race driver line-up as soon as possible, but for now we wish Alexander well for the weekend ahead and we look forward to seeing him in action," he said.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Robert Woodward)