Alexander Rossi has certainly not been willing to waste time following his departure from a Caterham outfit in turmoil, as the American has announced that he has signed for Marussia as their Reserve Driver. The step was evidently a key one for the youngster, as in leaving Caterham, he also lost his seat in GP2. His ‘wildcard’ appearance for Campos in last weekend’s GP2 outing was his last pre-determined engagement, but now, this new opportunity will mean that Rossi will remain a key figure in the paddock. However, how much of a step forward is this new role for Alexander?
Caterham’s loss is unquestionably Marussia’s gain. Alexander may not have enjoyed a memorable GP2 campaign, but he has certainly proved to be a rising star on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, he has ultimately lacked the consistency in junior formula which has made the likes of Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Nasr stand out in the Ecclestone approved training programme that is the GP2 series. Rossi is not ready for a race seat yet, but with the assistance of a stable F1 team, (which Marussia seems to be,) the American could well develop the skills set required to snatch a race seat at the pinnacle of motorsport. He is certainly a determined character, and at this stage of a driver’s career, that is perhaps the most important attribute of all.
Is switching green garments for Marussia red a good idea? Well, in the circumstances, unquestionably. Caterham are a team in turmoil at the moment, with their very existence being a topic of debate. There were real concerns that they would not even make an appearance at Silverstone. With numerous redundancies, confusion over the direction of car development and debate over driver line-ups are certainly not conducive of a stable team and such an environment can all too easily hinder driver development.
Meanwhile, Marussia are on the crest of a wave at the moment. After scoring their first points in Monaco, team moral seems high. While it is unlikely that this move will stimulate interest from GP2 teams, losing out on opportunities in junior formula are a small price to pay if Alexander can settle at Marussia. Opportunities in FP1 sessions are likely and as proven by Valtteri Bottas, a key position within an F1 team is worth a year away from competitive action. It hasn’t done the Finn any harm now has it!