Nov 16, 2013; Formula One driver Giedo van der Garde (21) during practice for the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas. Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Caterham F1 sale clouds Alexander Rossi’s future


If you’re Formula One hopeful Alexander Rossi how certain do you feel about your future right now?

Rossi, long seen as America’s Great Hope to be the next Mario Andretti has thrown in his lot with the Caterham Formula One, which was recently sold off to a new group of investors, owners who may not be as invested in Rossi’ future as outgoing owner Tony Ferandez was.

The new group includes former Dutch F-1 driver Christian Albers and entirely new management team. Whenever management turns over there’s always a chance that an employee can go from invaluable to unvalued overnight. That’s a reality many of us have lived through in the last seven years, and it’s potentially facing Rossi.

In a press release Albers said, “We are aware of the huge challenge ahead of us given the fight at the bottom end of the Championship and our target now is to aim for tenth place in the 2014 Championship. We are very committed to the future of the team and we will ensure that the team has the necessary resources to develop and grow and achieve everything it is capable of.”
To me, that means they’re either going to go after a driver with a track record capable of elevating them in the points, and/or continue their policy of hiring drivers who bring substantial funding, neither one of those things bode well for Rossi. Rossi doesn’t appear to have significant backing, and doesn’t have a resume that demands a Formula One ride.

For the past few years there has been a glut of young talent vying to make it into Formula One, and unfortunately for the 23-year-old American the most defining thing about him has been his nationality. Rossi has a just two Formula Renault 3.5 wins, a pair of GP3 wins and one GP2 win. His resume doesn’t compare favorably to other F-1 hopefuls like Jolyon Palmer, Felipe Nasr or Carlos Sainz Jr.

As I understand it Rossi doesn’t even work for the Caterham F-1 team anymore. When Fernandez sold Caterham F1, but kept the GP2 team that Rossi currently drives for. Another sign a Rossi could be on the out is the recent hire of Will Stevens and Nathanaël Berthon. If Caterham is so high on Rossi why are they bringing in new drivers? While Stevens is a few years out from Formula One Berthon has just as much experience, if not more, than Rossi.

While rumors continue to surface that current drivers Kamui Kobayashi and/or Marcus Ericsson could be dumped any time this season Rossi’s name doesn’t seem to come up as a replacement. Instead rumors have swirled around Red Bull development driver Sainz, not Rossi.

I’ve never been high on Rossi’s chance to make it to Formula One. His resume doesn’t merit a ride, Red Bull passed on him, and no American company has stepped up to support him. With a mostly stagnant driver’s market in 2015 it looks like he might have to wait to 2016 to make his debut, probably with Hass F-1, if ever. I’ve always thought he’d race in the Indy 500 before ever turning a lap in Monoco Grand Prix, and this sale makes that future more likely.

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