Caterham Racing’s GP2 effort has announced its driver pairing for the season ahead with Alexander Rossi returning and Rio Haryanto joining.
Rossi, a former front-runner in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, débuted in GP2 last year, taking a break-out Feature Race victory in Abu Dhabi. In a highly credible effort, the American took two additional podiums during the season, eventually finishing 9th in the standings.
Rossi enters 2014 with a slightly more comfortable programme, unlike last year when the 22-year-old missed out on pre-season testing and the opening round of season, as noted by the American. “My 2013 program had some changes […] however, throughout the season the team and I made some big progress and by Abu Dhabi we were definitely one of the cars to beat. This continued in the post-season tests and I’m quite confident about the pace in 2014.”
Naturally, such solidity has allowed Rossi to plan tangible aims for the year ahead. “We have a fantastic chance to win the GP2 title in 2014, while the F1 team achieves its goals of moving forward. This is an important era for all of us, as the sport enters a new generation.”
As well as his GP2 commitments, Rossi continues in his position as Caterham F1’s reserve driver (now partnered by former FR 3.5 Series champion Robin Frijns) – a position that the American believes will open further opportunities for Friday morning running. “My duties will continue with various F1 outings and as the main simulator driver at Leafield and on track Reserve, when my GP2 commitments allow. This is the perfect development for a future F1 race drive as it means I’m able to play an important role in assisting the team develop its 2014 car, something that will be particularly important with the 2014 technical changes.”
Meanwhile, Haryanto joins the Caterham squad for his third season in GP2, having spent a season each at Carlin and Barwa Addax. The Indonesian has on occasion shown some spectacular speed, but his abilities across the season have been called into question at times.
With only one podium scored in the previous two seasons, this will mark a key year in Haryanto’s development; however there is little doubt that Haryanto’s position as one of Asia’s emerging talents will keep him in good stead. “It is a great feeling to sign with Caterham Racing for my 2014 GP2 campaign. After such a successful post season test with the team in Abu Dhabi and the possible Formula One opportunities, this was the obvious choice for me.”
Haryanto concluded that, “My ultimate goal is to finish the season as high as possible in the 2014 GP2 Championship and give myself the best possible chance of a full time Formula One seat in 2015.” Only time will tell if Haryanto’s aims are realistic.