The curse of the ART teammate

Being at a driver at ART Grand Prix is the best place to be as a GP2 driver… if you are their #1 driver that is.    ART has been characterized by being the top team in the category (except during its inexplicably bad 2007 season), so the best drivers and their healthy budgets have always flocked to it.

Yet ART, as all other GP2 teams should be (but aren’t), is a business.  And with this vision, they have a clear objective in mind every season.  What this can translate to, is betting for the success of the “#1 driver” of the team, even if it means having a clear favorite.

At ART, this has been a clear reality in 4 out of its 5 years in GP2.  Of these 4 years/drivers, 3 have been GP2 champions and they are all in F1.   This sounds like a good corporate policy for the team, though the downside is the desperate situation for the team’s #2 driver.  Looking down the list of these drivers during 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 we see some pretty good racers.

ART GP2 drivers

First, Alex Premat, one of the most impressive GP2 drivers in my memory, whose only fault was to be #2 at ART for 2 years.  He is now solidly placed with Audi Sport, but his single-seater days are probably behind him.  Second, Luca Filippi, eternal GP2 promise who has never quite fulfilled his potential, but who should have enjoyed strong results in 2008.  He was completely overshadowed on the track and in the paddock by Romain Grosjean – to the point where he left the team early.  Finally, Pastor Maldonado, my pick for 2009 GP2 champ had a terrible season (for his standards) and has effectively put big question marks regarding his future as a single-seater driver.

This is by no means a criticism of ART.  It is impossible to argue with their success and their commitment to a strategy and vision. If I was a GP2 team owner and had the same driver draw, I can’t say I would do any differently.

For me the only question going into the 2010 season is:  Who will dare be the teammate of Jules Bianchi?


18 Responses to The curse of the ART teammate

  1. Fujer says:

    Marcus Ericsson =)

    • Patrik says:

      We all know what happened when Hamilton was going be 2nd driver to Alonso, why not at ART? Marcus manged to be the fastest in the ART car clearly he deserves a seat.

      And also before signing with TOM’s Marcus was offered to race with ART in Euro F3 so ART believes in Marcus.

      • gp2 insider says:

        Patrik, I’m not going to argue with that or with the fact that Ericsson is a great driver. But history says that inevitably ART “picks” a driver and puts all its energy into that driver. Given the Nicolas Todt link with Bianchi, if I was Ericsson I would venture elsewhere to give GP2 a shot. Obvious choices are iSport, Barwa or Racing Engineering. Sure Ericsson “deserves” to be at ART, but my question is: should he want to?

  2. Spudy says:

    I have to agree with the Ericsson observation, he is a great driver but Bianchi will be No1. Ericsson’s management may be keen to go to ART and then beat Bianchi showing how good he is but in reality ART will not allow that to happen.

    I would say Erisson is playing a dangerous game at the moment, he may even wait until the Paul Ricard test to have a go with Racing Engineering or Barwa before making his decision. He only went fastest with ART after he got up to speed with iSport the day before. I would say his best bet is with iSport. They’ll be back with a bang next year.

  3. sauber11 says:

    autosport magazine says , that Ericsson will drive for ART first gp2 asia round, while Bianchi will do second and the last one.
    I believe they will share seat like last year Maldonado and Hulkenberg did , while second seat someone rich will occupy\Charouz.

    • gp2 insider says:

      I read that, and I agree that it seems like they’re following last year’s GP2 Asia script again. Charouz seems like a good bet for Asia…

      • Fujer says:

        Do you have a link to that news please?

        That would be fantastic for Ericsson =) and for us swedish followers ;E

  4. Big' says:

    Ocean Racing Technology va tester cinq pilotes au volant de la voiture GP2 sur le circuit Paul-Ricard, du 10 au 12 novembre. Les Français Charles Pic, qui roule cette saison en Formula Renault 3.5 Series, et Nelson Panciatici, qui a participé au championnat GP2 avec Durango cette année, seront de la partie. Le vice-champion de Formula 3 Euro Series, Christian Vietoris, roulera également avec le team de Tiago Monteiro. Le quatrième pilote, révélé ce jeudi, est le troisième du classement général actuel d’Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, le Portugais Antonio Felix Da Costa. Ocean Racing testera un cinquième pilote et communiquera sur son identité en temps voulu.

  5. Diogo Oliveira says:

    Don’t say that about Ocean, cause that’s not true.

    -Charles Pic: great drive in WSR
    -Christian Vietoris: a fantastic german driver that almost won the F3 Euroseries
    -Nelson Pantiatici: already has GP2 experience, a good thing for a team which is so young
    -António Félix da Costa: a simply amazing driver, great future, great won in FR 2.0 NEC and he was nicked of the possibility of winning the Eurocup title, when the DSQ him and his teammates.

    • gp2 insider says:

      Panciatici will do little good for Ocean, I hate to say. Agree with you on da Costa. Pic is a RDD driver – no way to hide that – unless he’s been cut already.

      • Diogo Oliveira says:

        I agree with you on Nelson. He’s never convenced me in GP2… not even in Spanish F3.

        Now Pic, he’s a good driver indeed. He’s only 19 years old and he did fantastic races in World Series by Renault. This year he finished 2nd, behind Bagette.

        If Pic stays in Ocean, I hope Renault doesn’t benefit ORT, like they’ve done with Addax and ART this year, Campos last year, Piquet Sports, 2 years ago…

      • gp2 insider says:

        Well, I think Tiago Monteiro would be more than happy if Renault benefits ORT with money, at least. Funny thing is, I would have expected Pic in their car for GP2 Asia… not the 2 drivers from IFM.

        Piquet 2 years ago? You mean Maldonado?

  6. Spudy says:

    Sam Bird is confirmed for ART for GP2 Asia, including Abu Dhabi.

  7. Mekola says:

    2007 was the exception of the rule. That year it was expected Michael Ammermüller as #1, but he failed and it was Lucas Di Grassi who honourly defended the colours of ART team.

    • gp2 insider says:

      If you remember, Ammermuller was knocked out by Kaz Nakajima in Bahrain, and he was never the same after that. Pity, since he was pointed in the right direction with his Red Bull backing. Then came Red Bull subs Aleshin and Buemi… who did little to help ART that year.

  8. Pingback: GP2: Sam Bird to partner Bianchi at ART next year | Brits on Pole

  9. Pingback: GP2: Sam Bird to partner Bianchi at ART next year « Brits On Pole

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