The evolution of GP2 teams – Average position

GP2 teams have enjoyed very diverse fortunes since the category was launched in 2005.  So, which are the “best” teams?   To avoid subjective discussions, and base the answer on hard data, here is the average position in the team championship since 2005, as well as their “label” according to the 3 groups we created in an earlier post (stars, survivors or backmarkers):

team-standings-chart1

The chart shows what we expected at the top and at the bottom, with some surprises – such as Arden and Piquet, which are higher that expected.  Both still live off their best seasons when Kovalainen (Arden) and Nelsinho (Piquet) were fighting for the GP2 title.In terms of economics, the chart helps illustrate one of our basic points about GP2 success:  if you are consistently successful on track, you will be financially viable.  Today, as illustrated in previous posts, all the teams in red are GP2 backmarkers and facing serious financial troubles.  As simple as this chart and its interpretation may seem, how come some teams are at the top and some at the bottom when they all started out on equal ground in 2005?

The key to this difference is understanding driver selection and the subsequent on-track success.  Which teams have won drivers championships and many races?:  ART, iSport and Racing Engineering.  Which teams have barely won races?  BCN/Ocean, DPR and Durango.wins-chart3

In GP2, winning is the simple formula for success.  The more you win, the more reputation your team has.  The better the reputation, the more desirable the team is for winning and well-funded drivers.  It’s what many would call a virtuous cycle.

Think, for example, if DPR called up Nico Hulkenberg and offered him a completely paid ride for 2009 in their second car.  What would Nico say?  NO, thank you!  He is well-funded so he gets to choose where he goes.  If he goes to DPR his chances (at least statistically) are that he will win no races and end up losing his possible support to take him to F1.  Will he risk it?  If he had no money, yes.  Since he is funded, he hand-picked ART as his GP2 team.  And the same goes for teammate Pastor Maldonado, for Diego Nunes at iSport, Dani Clos at Racing Engineering and even Vitaly Petrov at Barwa Addax.  Any of these drivers could have spent less at go to Ocean, Durango or Coloni, but they need to maximise their chance to win, especially if they only get one (maybe, maybe two) chances to race at this level.

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