Rossi makes an immediate impact in Singapore

Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:40pm EDT
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By Julian Linden

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - American Alexander Rossi made an inauspicious start to his first Formula One grand prix weekend as a race driver when he crashed during Friday's opening practice in Singapore.

The 23-year-old Californian, set to become the first American to race in the sport since 2007, lost control of his Manor Marussia near the end of the first 90-minute session and slammed into a wall.

Rossi escaped unhurt but his car suffered damage with the right front wheel dangling off as it was taken back to the team garage.

"I braked a bit too late in Turn 18," Rossi told BBC. "I felt quite comfortable in the car and the pace was OK."

Rossi's wrecked car left Marussia's engineers with their race against time, scrambling to repair the car before the second session.

Fortunately, it was not as badly damaged as first thought, although they still had replace the gearbox and the front wheel, working in atrocious heat.

The car was still not fixed when the second session got underway but the team pleaded for understanding, tweeting: "Working like Ninjas to get the car out this session. You try building a car at speed in 84 per cent humidity!"

Marussia are currently last in the standings, without a point this season, so Rossi arrived in Singapore without any real expectations. He told reporters his main goal was to beat British team mate Will Stevens.   Continued...

Manor Marussia Formula One driver Alexander Rossi of the U.S. poses in pit lane at the Marina Bay street circuit ahead of the first practice session of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix September 18, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su