F1 chance is 'very surreal' - Rossi

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Alexander Rossi says it feels "very surreal" to be preparing to make his F1 race debut this weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix.

The American will make his first start in F1 for Manor on Sunday having signed to race for the team in five of the final seven races of the season. With Rossi having come close to racing for the team last year - even being announced as racing in Belgium before the decision was reversed - he says the reality of the situation is still sinking in.

"The big thing that I’ve been missing for the last three years in my F1 career is actually racing," Rossi said. "We have been close a few times, but it’s very surreal now that it is about to happen.

"This is a major step in really firmly putting myself on the Formula One map and the radar, so I’m just focusing on doing a good job in these next five races and showing that I am capable of being in Formula One and doing a good job."

Admitting the deal with Manor had come as a surprise, Rossi says he could have done all seven of the remaining races but he wanted to honour his drive in GP2.

"My GP2 season is going very well and I feel very committed to Racing Engineering and that programme, but I’m very pleased that they opened their doors and allowed me to do this run.

"At the same time, I have to say a big thank you to Manor because it’s difficult for them to have me in [the car] and then not in for a couple of races. It took work on both sides, but I’m very pleased and thankful that we were able to do it."

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