In a reversal of its Thursday decision, Formula 1 team Marussia has placed its normal driver, British racer Max Chilton, back in the driver's seat for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, bumping American Alexander Rossi back out to driving for free practice only. The announcement was made early Friday morning, August 22.
According to Formula 1, Chilton had been replaced by Rossi on Thursday due to "contractual issues" that needed to be finalized. Chilton stated through his media representative that he had "volunteered" to give up his seat while issues were resolved.
Just last month, American Rossi left Caterham and signed on with Marussia as a reserve driver. The Belgian Grand Prix, although unexpectedly, for a few short hours was to be his Formula 1 racing debut.
On Friday morning, that changed. Chilton will now drive the race; however, Rossi stayed in the Marussia car for free practice 1 on Friday.
Formula 1 indicates Marussia formally requested the switchback on Friday, and it was approved by race stewards.
The Belgian Grand Prix is the 12th contest of a 19-race season for Formula 1 and the first after the summer break for the series. The TV schedule for Americans is listed below.
Belgian Grand Prix TV schedule (all times listed are Eastern), according to NBC:
Friday, August 22:
8 - 9:30 a.m. Free Practice -- NBCSN -- LIVE
Saturday, August 23:
8 - 9:30 a.m. Qualifying -- CNBC -- LIVE
12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m. Qualifying Replay -- NBCSN
Sunday, August 24:
7:30 - 8 a.m. -- Pre-Race Show -- NBCSN -- LIVE
8 - 10 a.m. -- Belgian Grand Prix -- NBCSN -- LIVE
In the championship points, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg leads with 202; Lewis Hamilton, his teammate, has 191. Mercedes dominates the constructors' championship at 393 points to second place team Red Bull with 219.
After Spa-Francorchamps, the series moves to Italy for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on September 7.