Alexander RossiA mixed weekend at Silverstone saw Arden Caterham’s Renault 3.5 driver Alexander Rossi fighting towards the top of the grid, demonstrating the progress that Alexander and the team have made over the recent summer break that puts them in position to fight for race wins throughout the rest of the season.

After a successful first qualifying session, which ended with Alexander P3, the team felt confident for the weekend ahead with a car that was consistently on the pace. In race on Alexander had a fantastic start to take the lead but the rain soon began to fall. Alexander and Arden Caterham chose to stay out for one more lap before pitting for wet tyres but unfortunately the weather deteriorated significantly, claiming a number of victims in race one with standing water at turn 7 forcing Alexander and eight other drivers off track and ending their races early.

Saturday Qualifying One
Best time: 1:57:571
Qualifying Position: P3

Saturday Race One
Best time: 2:08:667
Finish position: DNF

Sunday Qualifying Two
Best time: DNQ – Mechanical
Qualifying Position: P25

Sunday Race Two
Best time: 1:44:417
Finish position: P5

The impact left Alexander’s team with only a few hours to repair his car in time for the second qualifying session but despite their best efforts he Alexander was unable to take part in qualifying for race two, leaving him to start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid in P25.

On Sunday Alexander drove an exceptional second race, gaining twenty positions and finishing in fifth place, securing ten more valuable points for his team.

Alexander Rossi: “On Friday we used a new engine after first practice and immediately found we were on the pace, ending the session three tenths off the leader. “Going into Saturday we were feeling very inspired and in a position to challenge for the front row in the first qualifying session. The morning qualifying was wet and we knew we had good pace in the wet and finishing third in qualifying and recording our second row two start since Monaco gave us great confidence for the weekend. For the race itself, the weather was dry as we lined up on the grid, but very variable as it started spitting rain as soon as the race began. Almost everyone was still on slicks as the track became increasingly wet on lap two and then at the start of lap three I took over the lead when Bianchi pitted for wets, however I was still able to find grip and pace on the dry line and using DRS the car felt great. The team and I decided to pit the following lap for wets if the weather deteriorated but when I arrived in turn 7 there was a massive amount of standing water, and under braking I hit a large puddle and eight other cars and I went off and into the barrier.

“This weekend the race format was different to normal with only four hours between Race One and Qualifying Two which meant that we were really pushed for time to get the car back up and running after the off. The team worked incredibly hard to get me out again, but we just didn’t have time and as I couldn’t take part in second qualifying I was then at the back of the grid for Sunday’s race.”

“For Sunday’s race the pressure was sort of off. Starting from the back of the grid meant I’d have the chance to overtake as many cars as possible and have fun doing what I love. My opening laps were good and I passed quite a few cars, but I got held up in traffic around lap six which allowed some of the leaders to break away which was obviously a little frustrating. However, once I was in clear air I could push. I used quite a bit of DRS in the middle stint running quick laps, so the last ten minutes of the race I was running quite low on DRS and beginning to lose the tyres so my aim was just to maintain position. When the guys ahead started fighting I saw there may be opportunities and I waited for them to make mistakes, which they did, and I ended up crossing the line in fifth which is a good result all things considered.

“Overall the car was very good and the team has proven throughout the entire weekend that we have a quick race car in various conditions and can now challenge for wins in the final races of the season. It’s a huge relief to know we can go to Budapest with the potential to fight for race wins, and work our way back up in the championship.”

Julian Rouse, Sporting Director Arden Caterham:
“Following the mid-season private tests we were pleased with the results from Friday’s free practice and feel we’ve really made a big step forward with the car. Although Alexander’s engine needed replacing following the first session on Friday, he and the car performed well during the second session and it was good to have two cars in and around the top six of the grid.

“In qualifying we felt comfortable in all weather conditions and although it was wet, the session went well and Alexander was competitive throughout. He put together his best lap towards the end, which is particularly difficult to do on these tyres as they generally only last for one or two laps, so he did brilliantly to qualify third on the grid.

“Race One was frustrating due to the typically changeable weather conditions of Silverstone. Everyone started the race on slicks, however it began to rain just one lap into the race, which made strategy very difficult for all the teams. As a group we took a decision on tyres that we felt comfortable with at the time, however the weather conditions deteriorated very quickly, more than we had anticipated. Unfortunately Alexander found himself in a situation on track where the conditions were simply un-drivable and it’s a real shame as he was looking extremely competitive and leading the race – obviously this also meant that we were the first car to come across the standing water at turn seven.

“In the crash Alexander didn’t do too much damage to the car, but as he was hit by a number of other cars there was substantial damage to his gearbox and engine. Despite the best efforts of the team, and due to the fact we only had a few hours to turn the car around ahead of the second qualifying session, we were unable to fix the car in time and had no choice but to continue working and start from the back of the grid.

“Race Two was an excellent result for everyone and it was truly deserved for the team. We had both cars in the top five, regularly posting fastest lap times and that was extremely pleasing for everyone. Alexander drove an absolutely fantastic race, very measured but also very decisive when he needed to be and he took every opportunity given. To come from 25th to 5th is an absolutely outstanding achievement and it really shows that the team has made good progress with Alexander’s help and support. He now has a competitive car and the opportunity to really showcase his talents, exactly as he did in today’s race.”