Time for musical chairs
August 4, 2009 9 Comments
With a one-race delay, Romain Grosjean has finally been promoted to F1. He fully deserves it, as much as Nelsinho does not deserve the arrogant and despicable way in which he has been fired…. I wonder whose style that is?
Back to GP2, with Romain out of the Barwa Addax seat, we can now play musical chairs for a couple of weeks – or until one of the teams talks. With the information flow in GP2 as of late, I don’t expect many announcements. First, negotiations must be underway for the re-shuffle. And second, most are on vacation somewhere along the Mediterranean coast. So for now, we’ll have to make due with our predictions and the occasional Italiaracing “exclusives”.
It was this Italian online magazine that predicted an RDD move with Romain’s seat. They placed Davide Valsecchi at Barwa, Luca Filippi at the empty Durango seat, Giedo van der Garde at Super Nova and Bruno Senna in the vacant iSport. This scenario may have been somewhat credible/logical a month ago, but with the performance at the Hungaroring by both Giedo and Luca, I would be surprised if they decide to move now.
Filippi: Luca’s move to Durango would be purely financial, given his initial season budget was estimated at around €800k. If David Sears could find another driver to bolster his team’s economy at the end of the season, he would probably do so. This would mean Luca goes to Durango to race for “free” or filling in with RDD’s compensation for taking Valsecchi away. Very complex….
Giedo: He had a strong budget, so money is not a problem. iSport was lacking in results this year, especially worrying after expectations that its 2 drivers would be in the points regularly. Nunes was progressing well in GP2/GP2 Asia, but he seems to have reached his potential for now. Giedo, coming off his WSR championship, should have been as (or more) competitive than Hulkenberg – coming in from the “smaller” F3 Euroseries. Yet Giedo has underperformed, and Paul Jackson must be thinking about his teams image for 2010. If the rumor makes any sense, he would be sending Giedo to Super Nova with some cash, hoping to get in Bruno Senna and raise his team’s image for what is left of 2009. Makes sense….
Valsecchi: Yes, he is an RDD driver, but God knows why. He had a promising end to 2008 and ran a strong GP2 Asia season. This year has been a disaster and he surely does not merit a “better” seat at Barwa. His budget was tight and Durango is hurting, so they would love to get a driver with the extra money to prop up their numbers as the season closes. This move makes little sense for RDD and only makes financial sense for Ivone Pinton’s team….
Senna: Sitting out in 2009 has been terrible for Bruno, especially since he has stayed away from open-wheel racing altogether. His F1 target is still in sight, but he needs some mileage under his belt to prepare for 2010 pre-season testing. Going back to a disappointing iSport is a good solution, since he could do no worse. If he does better, he will shine and raise his level just in time for the end of F1 silly season, if there is any this year. His name has been linked to Toro Rosso (ridiculous) and to Campos-Meta1, which sounds reasonable – but I seriously doubt this team will be on the F1 grid in 2010.
My conclusions, as said in an earlier post, is that RDD should act according to its interests and promote its promising drivers upwards. Valsecchi is stuck and is not F1 material. Charles Pic has been improving in WSR and is not a title contender. He points towards GP2 in 2010, so why not move him up now?
Another long-shot would be for an ART switch, much like happened last season with Filippi and Sakon Yamamoto. Maldonado is not going to fight for the title, and they have young guns in Jules Bianchi and Valtteri Bottas that point upwards for next season. Could Vasseur and Agag cut a deal to sit Maldonado at Barwa and move Bianchi up to GP2? There is only 1 calendar conflict (F3 Catalunya and GP2 Portimao), but Bianchi could skip the final GP2 race.
Let’s see what happens. 2 fun rumor-filled weeks of GP2 ahead….