LONDON (Reuters) - American Alexander Rossi will be official reserve driver for Manor Racing this season while also competing in the U.S.-based Indy Racing League (IRL), the Formula One team said on Wednesday.
Rossi raced for the F1 team last year when they were known as Marussia. The team said he would be the first driver to perform simultaneous IndyCar and F1 roles.
The Californian will attend 11 grands prix with Manor Racing, starting with Russia at the end of April, and be available to stand in at short notice if required. Only five of those races take place during the IRL season.
“I’ve invested most of my career in F1 and I’m not one to kick my heels and wait for things to happen, so this is my way of staying sharp and prepared,” said Rossi.
The Mercedes-powered team’s regular race drivers are both rookies, German Pascal Wehrlein and Indonesian Rio Haryanto.
Rossi said it had been disappointing to miss out on a race seat with Manor but he now had a dual program at the highest level of motorsport.
“I’m confident this experience will add to my role as a very important cog in an F1 team’s wheel,” he added. “My schedule this year is demanding, but no more than a full time F1 schedule.”
The Formula One season starts in Australia next week.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris