Skip to content

Alexander Rossi to make F1 debut in Belgium, replaces Chilton

Aug 21, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Practice Getty Images

American driver Alexander Rossi will make his Formula 1 debut this weekend in place of Max Chilton at Marussia.

Rossi joined the Anglo-Russian team last month after moving from Caterham, and was expected to take part in practice for the race at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.

However, it has been confirmed by the team that Chilton has been benched whilst his “contractual issues are resolved”.

Therefore, Rossi will become the first American driver since Scott Speed in 2007 to take part in a grand prix.

“It goes without saying that I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to race in Formula 1 for the first time and I cannot thank the Marussia F1 Team enough for the faith they are demonstrating in me,” Rossi said. “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.

“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.”

Speaking about the news, team principal John Booth confirmed that Max Chilton will be returning to the seat once the contractual issues had been resolved.

“Although it was not our intention to offer Alexander the possibility to race this season, in light of the circumstances we are pleased to be providing him with the opportunity to make his Grand Prix debut at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Franchorchamps,” Booth said.

“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.”

Rossi has taken part in a handful of free practice sessions over the past three years, with the most recent coming at June’s Canadian Grand Prix. For some time now, he has been pushing for a full-time seat, but has largely had to make do with racing in GP2.

Although his debut will come under strange circumstances, it will still be interesting to see how he fares in his first grand prix outing this weekend.

Max Chilton’s PR company has also issued the following statement on the matter:

“Max Chilton has volunteered to step out of his race seat for this weekend’s race in Spa, Belgium to allow the team to attract much-needed funds by selling his seat.

“Max will attend the race, and be on hand to support the team in any way possible.

“Marussia are currently in talks with several new investors and it is expected the situation will be resolved before the next race in the F1 calendar in Monza.”

This will be the first time since the 2001 Italian Grand Prix that two drivers have made their debut in the middle of the season at the same race. Three-time Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer will be racing for Caterham, replacing Kamui Kobayashi for this race only.

You can watch Rossi race in this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

Latest Posts
  1. NHRA: C. Force, Todd, McGaha and Arana Jr. qualify No. 1 for 4-Wide Nationals eliminations

    Mar 28, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT

    Courtney Force qualified No. 1 Saturday at the 4-Wide Nationals. (Harold Hinson Photo) Courtney Force qualified No. 1 Saturday at the 4-Wide Nationals. (Harold Hinson Photo)

    It was a double dose of Force in Saturday’s final rounds of qualifying for the sixth-annual NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

  2. St. Petersburg notes: PWC, MRTI triple-dips heading into Sunday

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:46 PM EDT

    Photo: Pro Mazda Photo: Pro Mazda

    Roundup of the rest of Saturday’s action from St. Petersburg.

  3. Teaser clip: F1 on NBC’s “Off the Grid” hits Mexico (VIDEO)

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:20 PM EDT

    MexicoOTGteaser Getty Images

    NBC Sports Group’s “Off the Grid” digital series hits Mexico City, set to premiere on March 31.

  4. De Silvestro 11th in her first IndyCar qualifying in more than a year

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:11 PM EDT

    SimAndrettiQuals AP

    Simona de Silvestro happy to be somewhat disappointed with 11th in IndyCar qualifying at St. Petersburg.

  5. Sato saves Honda’s day with another St. Pete Fast Six appearance

    Mar 28, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    TSstpquals AP

    Takuma Sato puts together a successful qualifying effort for A.J. Foyt Enterprises, ending in fifth and best Honda.

  6. Penske’s quartet pushes each other en route to qualifying dominance

    Mar 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    PenskeTop4Quals AP

    After top-four qualifying sweep, the Team Penske teammates are praising each other rather than trading shots.

  7. Power on pole in Penske top-four sweep of St. Petersburg qualifying

    Mar 28, 2015, 5:24 PM EDT

    PowerSTPpole AP

    Power on pole as Team Penske goes 1-2-3-4 in St. Petersburg qualifying.

  8. Indy Lights: Carlin’s Ed Jones on top in opening race at St. Pete

    Mar 28, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT

    Photo: Indy Lights Photo: Indy Lights

    Indy Lights’ new era kicks off at St. Petersburg with a new driver and team on top in the series’ new car.

  9. Power on top as Penske 1-2-3 in second straight St. Pete practice

    Mar 28, 2015, 1:27 PM EDT

    WPstpP3 AP

    More Will Power on top of IndyCar practice at St. Petersburg.

  10. Franck Montagny receives two-year ban from FIA after positive drug test

    Mar 28, 2015, 1:01 PM EDT

    Montagnynew Getty Images

    Franck Montagny receives two-year ban from FIA’s Anti-Doping Disciplinary Committee.

  11. Ericsson storms to career-best qualifying in Malaysia

    Mar 28, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    Marcus Ericsson AP

    Swedish driver reaches both Q2 and Q3 for the first time in his F1 career, and will start tomorrow’s race from ninth place on the grid.

  12. Wet qualifying benefits Red Bull, hinders Williams, on Saturday in Malaysia

    Mar 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Qualifying Getty Images

    Ricciardo and Kvyat both get inside the top five thanks to the rain in Q3 in Malaysia, but Massa and Bottas struggle.

  13. Monaco’s Formula E track layout is revealed

    Mar 28, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Qualifying Getty Images

    Monaco’s circuit for the FIA Formula E Championship is revealed.

  14. Grosjean hit with grid penalty after queue jumping

    Mar 28, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    Lotus driver drops two places on the starting grid after failing to keep his place in the pit lane.

  15. One spectator killed, others injured, at VLN Endurance event in Germany

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:28 AM EDT

    © VLN - the start of a 2014 race at the Nurburgring © VLN - the start of a 2014 race at the Nurburgring

    Incident involving Jann Mardenborough’s Nissan GT-R claims the life of one spectator at the Nordschleife.

  16. Verstappen flourishes in the wet to qualify sixth in Malaysia

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    Dutch youngster scores the best F1 qualifying result for a teenager in 54 years on Saturday in Malaysia.

  17. Alonso: Q1 exit not a sign of things to come for McLaren

    Mar 28, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    Alonso 283 Getty Images

    Spanish driver will make his second debut for McLaren from 18th position on the grid tomorrow.

  18. Hamilton delighted after claiming 40th career pole (VIDEO)

    Mar 28, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    British driver explains the challenge of judging your qualifying lap in the wet after securing pole position in Malaysia on Saturday.

  19. Manor receives dispensation to race in Malaysia despite missing 107% time in qualifying

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:49 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Qualifying Getty Images

    Merhi and Stevens miss the 107% time required to qualify in Malaysia, but are granted dispensation by the FIA stewards.

  20. Vettel hoping for more rain on Sunday after scoring Ferrari’s first front-row start in two years (VIDEO)

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:30 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    Felipe Massa was the last driver to start on the front row of the grid for Ferrari, lining up second for the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.