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British GP: James Rossiter to drive Force India in practice

James RossiterJames Rossiter will make his grand prix weekend debut for Force India in Friday morning practice for the British Grand Prix.

The 29-year-old, who is Force India's simulator driver and appeared for the team in this year's winter tests, will take over Adrian Sutil's car.

The ex-BAR/Honda and Super Aguri test driver, who also tested for the team at Jerez in February, is driving to allow the team to further improve the correlation between the real world and its simulator.

"This is an amazing opportunity and I'm really looking forward to taking part in an official practice session during a grand prix weekend," said the former McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award finalist.

"The fact that Silverstone is my home race makes the news even sweeter.

"The main reason for driving the car is to help progress the team's simulator programme, which I've been working on for almost 12 months.

"I drove the car during winter testing in February, but it's valuable to have another opportunity to experience the real car and make sure it's in harmony with the simulator."

Force India stressed that the planned run is dependent on dry track conditions.

AUTOSPORT SAYS
F1 editor Edd Straw
(@EddStrawF1)

Doubtless many will greet the news that James Rossiter, who hasn't been on the single-seater radar for a good five years, is driving during free practice at Silverstone with a shrug of the shoulders, but it is a sensible move from Force India to give its simulator driver mileage.

James RossiterThe Silverstone squad is a relative latecomer to running a simulator, previously relying on using McLaren's for a few days a month as part of its technical partnership deal, but has invested heavily in its own one over the past year or so.

Correlation between track and simulator is paramount, and while strapping Adrian Sutil or Paul di Resta into the simulator is one way to ensure that correlation is as strong as possible, it is logical to give the regular sim driver the chance to take the reverse course for the same reasons.

Rossiter's own F1 aspirations are slender indeed, but it would be a mistake to write him off as a plodder.

He is a very capable driver, one who won races in Formula Renault 2000 in the UK when it was ultra-competitive and in both British and Euro Formula 3 before his single-seater career stalled after a disappointing campaign in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2006.

Aside from an outing in Japan's Super Formula (formerly known as Formula Nippon) earlier this year and testing activities for BAR, Honda and Super Aguri, his career has been about sportscars since then. But he has plenty of experience of F1 testing and will do a good, competent job for the team at Silverstone.

While his Friday morning run isn't likely to be the launching pad for a grand prix career, he will be far from out of his depth at that level and will surely enjoy his cameo British GP appearance.

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