• Marussia

Rossi replaces Chilton for Belgian GP

ESPN Staff
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Marussia has confirmed Alexander Rossi will race for the team at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend in place of Max Chilton "while contractual issues are resolved".

The surprise announcement was made on Thursday afternoon, meaning Rossi, who only joined the team as a reserve driver in July, will make his F1 debut at Spa-Francorchamps. It will also be the first time he has competed for Marussia since his move from Caterham, where he took part in numerous Friday practice sessions.

"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."

Chilton later confirmed he had stood aside voluntarily to help Marussia raise money by selling his seat. Team principal John Booth admits the situation is far from ideal but is excited to see what he can do in Spa.

"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."

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