Who will race in GP3?
August 3, 2009 2 Comments
According to an article in Italiaracing several weeks ago, GP2, WSR and F3 Euroseries teams will make up the GP3 grid next year. Really? Let’s analyze their case by case predictions:
– ART: Yes, I agree. Not a risky bet that ART will extend its junior series empire in GP3 as well
– Barwa Addax: If we associate Agag with Briatore and his business interests, then GP3 is a sure bet. Apart from this, I think Agag’s main backers – Barwa of Qatar – is probably more than able to put in the extra cash needed to set up a decent GP3 team
– DAMS: Not too sure about this one. This season is turning out worse than expected, with Kobayashi proving he is not up for the job and D’Ambrosio not stepping up after a great start to the season. If Toyota continues to believe in its TDD program, maybe GP3 has a chance for DAMS. Otherwise, I think they will stay in GP2 only.
– iSport: With a strong strategic management of its seat assets, iSport is probably among the strongest teams financially in GP2. They have 2 well-paying drivers and though this year is not one of their best, they will still command premium prices for racing with the team. If they can pass on this momentum to GP3 and sign some deep-pocketed juniors, they will be there.
– Trident: What? Their future in GP2 is very much in doubt, never mind GP3! Maybe an asset swap and debt condonement could get them into the smaller category, but I seriously doubt they will be in both.
– Carlin: The enternal substitute team for GP2 is now poised for GP3. Sure, I believe it, though they will probably put in zero cash to play in this league. I believe if Carlin would have wanted to be in GP2, he’d be there already. Teams up for sale are rising in this category. Thing is, he wants to get in there for free… Trevor Carlin is an experienced manager, and he needs to solidify his F3 presence (UK + Euroseries) with a strong positioning in a bigger category. If WSR is going to lose against GP3, he will be there.
– Prema: Yes, strong team, though financially breaking even all the time. If there is a WSR-GP3 swap they will go for it. Not sure if they can hold up both categories, especially with this financial climate and lack of drivers in this budget bracket – €500k-plus.
Other teams rumored to be interested are Draco, Fortec, Tech 1, Signature…. the usual suspects. I would add a couple more GP2 teams – such as Piquet and Arden, who may have just enough support to get a foot in the door. If Arden can claw back its Red Bull support (shouldn’t be too hard!), they will have a lower budget category to offer Dr. Marko – competing with WSR and even F3 Euroseries.
All in all, GP3 still seems like a good idea with terrible timing. The need to stick in a €500-600k category today seems futile, unless it will substitute WSR – which is a likely scenario. If the teams committed to WSR can be sorted out, the GP3 grid will have a decent mix of teams, not just a replica of GP2 guys fighting it out with a couple hundred less horsepower.