Alexander Rossi will make his F1 race debut for Marussia at Spa this weekend in place of Max Chilton, who is being rested while what the team calls “contractual issues” are resolved.
A statement on behalf of Chilton said that he had stepped out of the seat in order to allow the team to raise funds by selling it.
Rossi was recently picked up by Marussia as third driver after being dropped by Caterham, for whom he drove in FP1 in Canada.
Team boss John Booth said: “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. 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.”
“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,” said Rossi. “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.”