Rossi cuts ties with Caterham in F1 and GP2

2014 F1 season

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Alexander Rossi has separated from Caterham despite having been set to drive for their F1 team during the practice session for the upcoming United States Grand Prix.

Rossi has also left the Caterham GP2 team which he had been driving for since last year, according to his management team.

The Caterham F1 team was sold by Tony Fernandes ahead of the British Grand Prix. Now run by former F1 driver Christijan Albers, the team announced the hiring of Nathanael Berthon last week as part of a “new Driver Development Programme”.

Rossi previously drove the team’s F1 car during the first practice session at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Robin Frijns, Will Stevens and Julian Leal have also had runs in the CT05 since the start of the season in practice or test sessions. Rio Haryanto was also due to drive the car at Silverstone but was unable to do so due to technical problems.

Rossi had his first F1 test for BMW in 2009 after winning the Formula BMW Americas championship and world final. He first tested for Caterham in 2011, when the team was called Lotus.

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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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35 comments on “Rossi cuts ties with Caterham in F1 and GP2”

  1. No doubt he is cutting ties so he can position himself for HAAS.

    1. @optimaximal My hunch is it has nothing to do with that and everything to do with the change in management at Caterham. If for no other reason that Haas won’t even be racing until 2016 at the earliest.

      1. @keithcollantine Question – Did General Electric follow Rossi to Caterham, or did Rossi only get his seat via GE? The way it just disappeared off the car could mean they’re either disappointed with the new direction of the team *or* they’re looking elsewhere. Where better to promote an American brand than on an American-registered team.

        Playing the long game, Rossi’s best route into a racing seat could be as the rookie half of Haas’s driver line-up. He could merc a bit for next year whilst working with the team behind the scenes.

        Time will tell.

        1. I think Fernandes got them on the car with his connections through AirAsia. Tony leaves – his connections soon follow. I wonder if they’ll all be present on the Haas car.. Rossi needs to go to them now and start development ASAP.

          There are still guys like Kovalainen around who could do that equally as well. From the sounds of it, Sutil and Kobayashi should be looking in that direction too, possibly even Paul di Resta.

        2. As @fastiesty mentions, GE was purely a deal that came about as the result of Fernandes’ Air Asia buying new jets (from Airbus) with GE engines, even though the parties off course mentioned intensive cooperation in a broad field at the time @optimaximal

  2. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    16th July 2014, 10:01

    I think he sees the writing on the wall for Caterham F1.

  3. Shame about GP2, Probably doesn’t have enough $$$ for the F1 team reserve roll. Im now awaiting the hiring of Sakon Yamamoto for one of the F1 Drives.

    1. or Klien or Nahrain ;)

      1. Karthikeyan is keeping himself fresh in Japanese F3000, so theoretically could come back to F1..

      2. Karthikeyan is keeping himself fresh in Japanese F3000, so theoretically could come back to F1..

  4. I am assuming he still holds his superlicence because of his various Caterham runs, any idea how long those are valid for?

    It’s a shame, he is the American closest to getting an F1 seat. That said and even before the change in management at Caterham, the chance of him actually getting a race seat seemed to be a mile off, but it was nice knowing he was on the periphery. I suspect a career in sportscars or Formula E beckons.

    1. Indeed, there was always the option to finish in GP2 and then go to Caterham sports cars. But that can now always be a second option behind the Haas F1 operation.. 1.5 years to develop it into an F1 ride, probably with Daly there as a test driver as well after this year’s GP2.

    2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      16th July 2014, 14:52

      @geemac – Shame for America, yes, shame for F1, not really. He is, not unlike Felipe Nasr or Marco Sorensen, maddeningly inconsistent; either truly fabulous or truly mediocre. Personally the notion of Rossi not getting to F1 is not nearly as depressing as the sight of great F1 prospects like Calado, Da Costa, Bird and Wickens in sportscars and touring cars…and that’s without referencing the tragic tale of Robin Frijns…

      1. @william-brierty I agree. Even as an American F1 fan I don’t consider it any great loss. I’d rather see talent than any specific nationality in F1.

      2. All of those names are tragic, but of all, Frijns is probably the most tragic.

      3. Have to agree @william-brierty, it’s sad, but at the same time, not.

  5. He’s a good driver, with not that much money. The Caterham GP2 team have been miles off the pace this year anyway, but I don’t know what his plans are now. I suppose he’ll try to be the American driver at Haas (if that ever happens). He’d be very useful, having F1 experience and having raced on most of the tracks.

  6. This doesn’t really come as a surprise to me. It’s no secret that Rossi is actually a half decent driver, and the GP2 team this year have been making him look a bit pathetic with issues and setup problems and just generally not delivering a genuine points-scoring package even, especially after their dominant showing in the final Bahrain test.

    I also doubt he’d want to be associated with what is quickly becoming a farce of an F1 team with regular changing identities that looks to be on the verge of collapse any day. Which is a shame, because I think they were a lot of people’s favourite back-marker when they started in 2010 and ran Heikki Kovalainen, who did things with those cars that he had no real right to do.

    But I do still think we’ll see Rossi in F1, likely with Haas. Gene seems determined to want an American driver, and unless some real star comes out of nowhere in the next few years, Rossi’s his best option, because Daly is nowhere near Rossi’s level.

    1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
      16th July 2014, 12:20

      Marussia are progressing and Caterham aren’t. To be honest I see Caterham pulling if not at the end of this season, but next season.

      If I were him I would position myself in Haas.

  7. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
    16th July 2014, 11:46

    It is a good move by Alexander, regardless his relationship with new management of the team. Caterham F1 is going nowhere and the GP2 team is not up there in the competition, despite early promise in pre-season testing. Things obviously go worse after Fernandes departure. I’m eager to know what Haryanto (GP2 team-mate) will do now. Both of them is good driver, and it will be saddening if those talents going wasted in Caterham. Alexander will got no problem to land in a seat if there’s another team needed a driver in GP2, and hopefully he can continue his hope for F1 future.

    1. It also looks like Frijns and Stevens probably won’t be needed now either. After Cash #1 and Cash #2 in the racing seats, the reserve and tester roles will go to Leal and Berthon instead, as any income provided will help keep the team going. I’m also not sure where all the talents on the Caterham Junior ladder will be feeding to now..

    2. @adityafakhri He’s already confirmed to drive for Campos this weekend.

  8. And so the Caterham end game swings into its final phase. Mass redundancies mean the new “investors” don’t have money to spend. “New development drivers” simply means additional payments from whoever can scam money from an increasingly small pool of potential sponsors based on speculative pronouncements about a future which a) is unlikely to happen and b) won’t provide the sponsor with much return on investment even if it did. Removing the GE branding to me simply indicates that a sponsor who probably paid up front for a multi year deal didn’t want to be shaken down for more. Eddie Jordan wouldn’t be the first team principal to keep sponsor logos in a prominent position with no payment just so the car didn’t have blank spots which would raise questions about the team’s viability.

    Kolles, however, is just an asset stripper and will milk pay drivers/existing sponsors for money, invest nothing, pay himself a salary and wait to declare bankruptcy.

    Not that I’m cynical or anything.

  9. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    16th July 2014, 14:32

    Entirely predictable due to his absence from the test regime and the absence of GE from the side of the Caterham F1 car. Rossi’s destiny would appear to lie with Haas, although with Haas unlikely to debut until 2016 Rossi would be in danger of hitting the age ceiling and there might be a better American prospect by then. Personally I don’t think not having Alexander on the grid would be all too great a blow for F1, and although he would likely be an improvement on Ericsson, his career so far doesn’t exactly sing prolific talent.

    I am far more interested in Robin Frijns. The exit of Rossi and the incoming of Berthon and Leal does likely suggest that Frijns and Stevens days with Caterham are at an end, although it would be nice to see Frijns take Alexander’s place at Caterham EQ8 for the remainder of the year. If I were you Robin I’d find Helmut Marko and beg…

    1. @william-brierty Frijns has done some demo runs recently, although they could have been scheduled by Fernandez rather than the new owners. But frankly, I’m expecting a split quite soon, unless Frijns has found the budget to compete in 2015.

      If I were Robin, I’d try to get a drive with a Nissan supplied LMP2 team and try my fortunes there. Don’t think there’s place for him in F1, sadly.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        16th July 2014, 18:41

        @npf1 – I would say he is more likely to wind up in the DTM than in sportscars. Clearly the aim for a driver as good as Frijns in driving a Nissan P2 team would be the Nissan works LMP1 outfit next year, but Le Mans requires experience. something Robin will need several seasons of endurance racing to acquire. To start racing in endurance races would be to admit the fight for an F1 seat is over, and I don’t think Robin is at that point yet; he’s still young and presuming Vandoorne and Marciello get promoted to F1 later this year, both McLaren and Ferrari will be without proteges. A number of seats are likely to be made available this year in F1 so admitting defeat now would be wasting a potentially excellent opportunity.

    1. Now THAT is interesting.

      1. @bascb Not really, Campos would have needed a substitute anyway as Sato is racing in Auto GP where he’s on the way to win the championship, whereas in GP2 he’s fighting not to be last.

  10. According to the GP2 Twitter feed, Rossi has joined Campos in place of Kimiya Sato:

  11. IndyCar here we come!

  12. Giving the fact that tony still owns the gp2 team I though there wouldn’t be much change meaning his seat would be safe however hope the best for him and one day ends up in f1. F1 needs an American driver SOON

  13. After looking so good in testing I’m not surprised really. Also apparently Rossi wasn’t happy because he was being called Rio 2 because his team mate was quicker in one of the tests. I’m not sure whether things like that would have had any sort of impact.

  14. It is ashamed that when they brought Julian Leal, Rossi figured the team will make changes. One way or the other, he could be next so he left. The Campos ride is a 1-off replacing Kimiya Sato who is returning to the Red Bull Ring for AutoGP.

    It will be interesting if Haas brings extra funding for GP2 2015.

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