Rossi Endures Bahrain Debut Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain - March 2, 2010 - With preparations already underway for the Formula 1 season opener, March 12-14, GP2 Asia held race 5 and 6 this past weekend at the Bahrain International ...
Rossi Endures Bahrain Debut
Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain - March 2, 2010 - With preparations already underway for the Formula 1 season opener, March 12-14, GP2 Asia held race 5 and 6 this past weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), built in 2003.
Entering the weekend 3rd in championship points, Malaysia Qi MeritusMahara driver, Alexander Rossi, had high hopes of his debut on the 6.3 kilometer circuit, as he was anxious to put to use the time spent preparing in a U.K. simulator the week previous and looking to gain valuable points and data leading up to the series season finale serving as support to Formula 1.
In many respects for Rossi, this weekend was one 'to remember and forget', as an abnormal course of events kept the 18 year old from California from scoring points or finishing either round. For a championship winning driver, like Rossi these memorable events and experiences are motivating tools that happen to even the best drivers, and serve as situations in which to learn from.
Alexander Rossi in Turn 7 at Bahrain International Circuit: Image by Dawn Rossi
"In practice we struggled with brake temperature, but the team sorted that with no problem for qualifying", Rossi commented. "Bahrain is very hard on tires and the complex Bridgestone's have a small window. I was unable to maximize my 2nd set of tires in qualifying and my posted time from the 1st set was not enough as the track improved as the qualifying session went on."
Starting 15th for the 34 lap feature race, Rossi had a strong pace from the onset, moving his way up the racing order into 2nd place by lap 10 before pitting for rear tires. Rossi re-entered the circuit in 9th. Shortly into the 2nd stint the front tires began degrading quickly. Having difficulty with steering input, contact with an exit kerb resulted in damage to the floor, reducing downforce and creating extreme understeer. Rossi took a defensive approach to hold position, but by lap 25 his pace had declined by almost 3 seconds, dropping him back to 17th position. The team called him to the pits for tires, one lap later, on lap 26, the team retired the car due to safety reasons.
The following day, Rossi started 24th for the sprint race and immediately had pace to race up front, having climbed to 12th position by the end of lap 2. On the next lap, while overtaking Fabio Leimer to the outside of Turn 1, Rossi clipped his front wing on Leimer's rear tire in the braking zone. With lack of front wing and downforce, deceleration became difficult and Rossi slid into William Bratt, ending the race for them both.
After the race, Rossi was called to the steward's office to review an on track manuveur with Leimer. Indicating that Rossi had not allowed enough room to race and forced Leimer four wheels over the white line, Stewards imposed a 10 grid spot penalty to Rossi for race 7 in Bahrain. Leimer continued without any further impediment.
"The sprint race was really unfortunate, because we had the pace to up front", Rossi added. "I've never had two DNF's in a weekend, and an added penalty was so disappointing, this sport can be brutal. Fortunately, I've learned how to cope with setbacks and will serve me well going forward. I need to thank the whole Meritus team who worked really hard for me all weekend, giving 150%. I really enjoy working with all of them. Even though I will serve a 10 grid spot penalty in race 7 in Bahrain, I know what's needed from the car and what has to happen in qualifying."
Without scoring a point in last event, Rossi has moved to 7th overall in the championship but is expected to improve on this at the next round. Next event for 2009-2010 GP2 Asia championship takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit, March 12 -14 alongside Formula 1.
-source: team rossi motorsports