Alexander Rossi will make his Formula 1 race debut at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix as a replacement for Marussia’s Max Chilton.
The British team have promoted the 22-year-old American driver to a race seat while contractual issues are resolved with their current full-time driver Chilton.
Rossi only joined the Marussia squad as a reserve driver last month after vacating a similar role at rivals Caterham F1.
While the details of the contactual dispute are unclear, Marussia team manager John Booth is expecting Chilton to return to his seat in the near future.
“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,” said Booth.
“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.”
Following the team’s announcement, Chilton’s management issued a statement claiming the 23-year-old stepped aside from his seat voluntarily and is hoping to return to his drive at the Italian Grand Prix on September 6- 7.
“Max Chilton has volunteered to step out of his race seat for this weekend’s race in Spa, Belgium, to allow the team to attract much needed funds by selling his seat,” read a statement from Chilton’s management .
“Max will attend the race and be on hand to support the team in any way possible. Marussia are currently in talks with several new investors and it is expected the situation will be resolved before the next race in the F1 calendar in Monza.”
As a result of the promotion, Rossi will become the first American to compete in a grand prix since Scott Speed’s last appearance for Toro Rosso at the 2007 European Grand Prix.
“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 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.”