GP2 Asia … a lesson on how to destroy your clients


So we have reviewed the 2 wonderful GP2 Asia seasons, both for their irrelevance in the motor racing world in generating new talent or serious competition and for their destructive impact on team finances – for almost every team on the grid.

Some questions for the GP2 management (or GP2 Gods if you prefer):

  • What is the objective of GP2 Asia?  The real one I mean, not the blah, blah, development, blah, blah, emerging markets, blah blah, off-season….. crap.  Are you trying to compete with anyone?  Does anyone ever, ever watch top-level racing during the F1 off-season?
  • Does this GP2 “winter series” need to be in Asia?  If it’s of no interest for drivers in that region, doesn’t it make sense to race in Europe…  Even a Sudam GP2 would make more sense!
  • Have you analyzed the impact of this category?  Impact in terms of media exposure (does anybody care, even the die-hard GP2 fans?), driver development and most importantly – team economics.
  • Do you think GP2 Asia has enhanced or destroyed value for GP2 as a whole?   Trick question, but by any measurement, GP2 Asia has contributed to make a difficult 2009 season in Europe even more unstable and devastating for many teams.
  • Do you listen to your “clients” (the GP2 teams)?  They are shouting for help and attention, but they are constantly ignored – powered by the arrogance of not admitting GP2 Asia should be terminated.
  • The ultimate question…. Will GP2 Asia have a 2009-10 season?  Please say no…..

Clearly, my opinion is that GP2 Asia is a losing proposition.  All teams (yes, all) suffer the negative effects of this brilliant invention and none enjoy its benefits.    Though many (most) teams lose money on every kilometer run, none make any money.  Even ART or Barwa Addax, with their brilliant management and strategy, must somehow “fit” the GP2 Asia impact in their P&L.

Taking ART as an example.

  • Their #1  seat was filled by Nelson Philippe – who had enough cash for 1 race – and is now alternating Hulkenberg and Maldonado, the team’s drivers for GP2 Main who are surely not paying a premium to “train” in the crappy Asia series. They would be better off renting some shifter karts than paying to race against the “talent pool” and drivers with a serious lack of commitment in the series.
  • Seat #2 is occupied by that wonderful talent, Sakon Yamamoto.   There is 2 ways to read into this.  First, Sakon (as is always the case) brings some decent cash to the team.  Since ART is a top team, they have no doubt sold this seat to Sakon for a handsome sum of Yen, probably enough to pay for his ride and partially cover the costs of the other seat.  The second reading is that by putting Yamamoto in their team, ART really doesn’t give a crap about GP2 Asia.   They have their Asian driver (are you happy now, Bruno?) who will produce no results.  ART’s objectives with this championship is to not lose money (they’re not) and to keep the GP2 gods happy.

Though I think it’s all been said, I want to make a prediction about the next GP2 Asia season:  there won’t be one.  When times were good (or apparently good), the teams thought they could absorb the hit. But now that times are very, very bad, whoever makes it through the GP2 Main season (a couple won’t) will say…. this is it.  I cannot, even if the world economy is magically revived in by this summer, believe that anyone will ever want to contest this ridiculous category again.  Not the teams and certainly not the drivers.  It’s a losing proposition for all.   GP2 guys, remember business school?  We learned: the customer is always right.

Making my prediction even more visionary, the cars will be either sold to some Asian Coloni-like visionary that will organize his own money losing category or they will be run in some sort of GP2 winter series – market which would make slightly more sense.   Goodbye, GP2 Asia!


2 Responses to GP2 Asia … a lesson on how to destroy your clients

  1. Mekola says:

    I think the real objective of GP2 Asia was Ecclestone-ordered Michel building a series to rival A1GP, in order to strap interest from Asian markets where they were focused in their F1 interests. But even A1GP is in trouble… and without consolidating “oficially” a ladder for Asian drivers (as they could do it with Asian F3, F. Asia V6 for example), hardly they could found success on their intention…

    • gp2 insider says:

      I think it boils down to trying to make a market where it doesn’t exist. Asian drivers who have taken their first steps in F3 or V6 Asia don’t want to keep racing there, no matter if it’s in the off-season. If they have the money, they want to go to Europe, race at legendary tracks and be seen by the people who make decisions. Same story for South American drivers… they all end up in Europe, right?

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