Rossi: F1 debut was “as good as it could have been”

2012 Spanish Grand Prix

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American driver Alexander Rossi made his first appearance at an F1 race weekend during practice for the Spanish Grand Prix today.

Rossi completed 25 laps for Caterham in the first practice session.

He ended up 21st overall, just under a second slower than team mate Vitaly Petrov.

“I am very pleased with how this morning’s session went,” he said. “We completed the programme the team had set and I acclimatised quickly to the step up to F1.

“This isn’t my first time working with the team, I already have a day at the Abu Dhbai young driver test last year under my belt, but coming into a full race weekend is a very different proposition to the young driver test.

“Today wasn’t about setting the quickest lap I could – there may have been another seven or eight tenths to be found but the main thing today was to learn as much as I could, contribute by following the plan, give the engineers clear, concise feedback, and not make any mistakes.

“That’s what we did so I think it’s been pretty much as good as it could have been.”

Pictures: Alexander Rossi’s F1 debut in Spain

2012 Spanish Grand Prix

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Image © Caterham/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Rossi: F1 debut was “as good as it could have been””

  1. On the SpeedTV broadcast of FP2, Steve Matchett was saying the team was really happy with how Rossi did today, because he did precisely everything they asked him to do rather than tryi to impress everyone by getting a super-quick lap time (which, with someone with so little experience, can occasionally lead to disaster). I don’t know how much of that was what he heard and how much was his own opinion based on what he heard, but it all sounded good to me! ;-)

    1. bernieslovechild
      11th May 2012, 16:42

      Is he a pay to drive recuit does anyone know?

      1. Its rather the team wanting to get a USA driver into the mix and giving him a chance to show what he has got.

  2. YAYY!!! USA! USA!!
    (sorry we don’t get much to brag about over here).
    Also, two North Americans racing on track together!!!
    Oh Happy Day (seriously).
    See you all in Austin!

    1. There are? I assume you’re including Sergio Perez as a North American. I’m sure he’d rather class himself as Mexican.

      1. It’s true, most people don’t go around identifying themselves as being “North American” first and foremost. However, that doesn’t stop Mexico from being part of North America…

        1. No denying that, but I classify myself as British rather than European. Some people go further to classify themselves as English/Welsh/Scottish/Irish (delete as appropriate) before classing themselves as British

      2. Yes but of course I was including Senor Perez of Mexico as a fellow North American. The lack of F1 drivers from this continent has generated great incontinence,, wait,, I may have said that wrong.

  3. Cool helmet! Simple, colorful, and I LOVE the cross!!!

    1. It’s alright, but I would love a proper star spangled banner across it :D

      1. Splech! I wouldn’t. I think it’s perfect just how it is. I think it’s my favorite new helmet design in ages.

        1. I like it too. In this day and age of busy, complicated helmet designs, Rossi’s helmet is really a throwback to the 1980s and 1990s, when simpler designs ruled. The first thing I thought of when I saw it was Alain Prost’s design.

    2. I like it, it’s quite easy to confuse with Kovy’s though with the red top.

  4. Good to see an American driver at a grand prix again, but the official F1 website’s Friday practice gallery thinks he’s Italian!

    1. Valentino Rossi, I’d imagine :P

      Understandable mistake, I guess!

    2. Well he probably is. Americans are basically a mix and many Italian families moved there. From the last name his probably from some Italian family.

  5. Great to see Rossi in his first official session. I hope he gets to do more this year, particularly Austin.

    The other interesting American to watch today was Ethan Ringel, in his first ever GP3 session he was 18th, only 2 seconds off the pace. He’s only 17 and has only been karting for a couple years. His twitter feed shows that last January was the first time he even drove a shifter kart. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on him this year.

    1. What about Conor Daly, the son of Derek Daly? He’s older than Ringel – he’s twenty-one – but he was just two-tenths of a second off Laine’s time, and what’s more, he’s with the Lotus-branded ART Grand Prix team, which has had a stranglehold on the GP3 series since its inception. Derek might have raced under an Irish licence, but Conor was born in Indiana and competes with an American licence.

      Twenty-one might be a little old to make his GP3 debut, but Valtteri Bottas went straight from winning the GP3 title to a test role with Williams. He hasn’t so much as turned a wheel of a GP2 car. Since a lot of people think Bottas is being lined up for a Williams seat in 2013, the test and reserve spot will be wide open. If Daly impresses in GP3, he could replace Bottas as test driver next year and maybe get promoted to a full-time drive in 2014. Of course, a lot of this hinges on the word if, but with his connection to the team, Daly has a prime opportunity. Three of the four drivers the team ran in GP3 last year have gone on to big things – Bottas went to Williams, Calado is doing very well in GP2, while Stanaway is racing with Lotus in Formula Renault 3.5; the only exception is Pedro Nunes, who underperformed all season long (embarassingly, he carried the number one on his car) and was replaced by Stanaway, and doesn’t seem to be doing anything this year. So Daly might be America’s best chance at a Formula 1 driver, especially if Rossi doesn’t come good.

      1. That was @us_peter – I’m curious to hear your throughts on Daly.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys, Daly doesn’t interest me personally. I’ve followed him on twitter for quite a while now, and it’s probably petty (and has nothing to do with him as a racing driver), but I just don’t care for him. I also would disagree that he’s the best shot at an American in F1. Rossi placed 4th in GP3 in his inaugural season and won 2 races. He then moved to WSR where he was consistently challenging Ricciardo, Vergne, and Wickens. He finished the series 3rd despite a lot of bad luck and one disqualification that was beyond his control. The fact that Bottas was picked up by Williams is no indication that Daly would get the same treatment from them (or any other team), that’s assuming he wins the championship, which frankly I kind of doubt.

          Reportedly Caterham were impressed with the feedback they received from Rossi running through their FP1 program, so given that he’s a race winner in a more competitive series than Daly is racing in (and has yet to even podium in) I think it would be very presumptuous to say that Daly has the best shot at making it to F1. If anything I think the opposite is true. Only time will tell. I do hope we see one of them in a decent race seat sooner rather than later though, and preferably not with one of the backmarker teams. It’s a competitive world though, so I won’t hold my breath. The fact that the sport as a whole wants to try and crack the US market though ought to give them all better odds though.

          Was that a rambling enough response?

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