American driver Alexander Rossi replaces Roberto Merhi for Manor-Marussia and will race in the five remaining Grands Prix this season. The 23-year old will make his Formula One debut at Singapore’s Marina Bay Circuit and will be the first American since Scott Speed to take part in the tournament.
The team have confirmed that the driver will also race for them in Japan, Mexico, Brazil and the United States.
The driver, who lies second in the GP2 feeder series spoke about what the move to Manor meant to him: "I'm very thankful to race for the Manor Marussia F1 team and for their continued belief in me.
“I've been prepared for this opportunity for quite a while. Singapore is a circuit I really enjoy and the timing of my debut could not be more perfect. There's a lot of work ahead and I'm looking forward to a busy end to the 2015 season."
The Californian was meant to make his F1 debut with Manor in the Italian Grand Prix last year, but due to financial issues with Manor’s former driver Max Chilton, he was unable to participate. The racer will partner with British driver Will Stevens, who was also Merhi’s teammate.
As Rossi has replaced the underperforming Merhi in Formula One, the Spaniard will replace the American at the races in Russia and Abu Dhabi. The Spaniard is still with Manor, but will be a reserve driver along with Fabio Leimer.
The American went on to explain his view on the club: “This is a small F1 team that has been through so much. They exemplify passion and true strength of character, and their comeback this season is extraordinary. I’m honored to be part of this legacy and their continued growth and success.”
Manor owner John Booth pleased with Rossi
In an interview, John Booth welcomed Rossi to the team and also spoke about Merhi’s drop. Even though the Spaniard will not feature in the remainder of the F1 races this season, the owner hinted a return for Merhi might be possible in 2016.
The Englishman said: “We are delighted to sign Alexander as Race Driver. He is widely regarded as a driver who is on the cusp of an exciting F1 career and his current form in the GP2 Series has done much to reinforce his clear potential.”
“With that in mind, we are pleased to support his current GP2 commitments while he continues to battle for the championship win, therefore he will race in five of the seven remaining Grands Prix this season, with Roberto contesting Russia and Abu Dhabi for us.”
The team will hope to see an upswing with the introduction of Rossi – they are currently at the bottom of the constructors’ standings, and the only team to have not scored a single point in the season so far.