GP2 Main grid complete… for now
May 5, 2009 3 Comments
With 3 days to the season opener at Montmelo, we now know who will fill the 3 empty seats in GP2. According to Italiaracing, enternal fill-in Giacomo Ricci will be at DPR and Trident will field Davide Rigon and Ricardo Teixeira.
Clearly, at least one seat in each of these 2 teams is a non-paying drive. Both Ricci and Rigon have been filling in for these teams for the past several months, and both Herck (DPR) and Salvadori (Trident) prefer to field a money-losing car than risk the economic fine and the likely wrath of Bruno Michel.
DPR situation: André Herck is effectively subsidizing 2 drivers at this point: Ricci and his son Michael. Sounds like an unsustainable deal, no matter how wealthy. The team is bleeding heavily, and may actually have to fold before Trident. As mentioned in the previous post, David Price’s departure does not help at all.
Trident situation: Regarding the Milanese team, I still need to dig a bit more regarding Teixeira’s contract. Traditionally backed by Angolan oil firm Sonangol, I am not sure if he is on a race-by-race deal or if they have signed a season-long contract. Teixeira’s cash is helping pay for Rigon’s expenses, but no matter how much money he has put on the table, Trident is drowning in debt and will continue to do so.
Interestingly, Italiaracing also reports that Hamad Al Fardan will be stepping in for Rigon after Monaco. I will try and confirm this, but it makes little sense to skip 2 races if the agreement is there. Since Rigon, a very good driver, has no cash, why would you sit him in the car now if you know Al Fardan is coming? Normally, you would prefer to sign drivers as soon as possible, deferring non-paid driver for the end of the season. Money in the pocket is critical.
Bottom line, and as mentioned many times in my posts, the musical chairs game in GP2 has only just started. Not only are Ricci and Rigon here temporarily, but many others have signed for amounts that will not last the whole season.