GP2 drivers at Jerez F1 test

Not a wonderful sample of GP2 drivers at this week’s F1 young driver test.

In total, 2 drivers from GP2’s past (Soucek, Conway), 2 drivers from the 2009 season (Di Grassi, Hulkenberg) and 3 future GP2 drivers (Bianchi, Ericsson, Turvey). Read more of this post

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Autosport’s Top 10 drivers vs. my Top 10

Just this week, Autosport magazine published its top 10 GP2 drivers of 2009, along with a very lame season summary.  Curious how someone can put in the effort to write about the GP2 races this season and come up so short…

Anyway, here are the Autsport and GP2 insider top 10 lists compared.  A couple notable differences, mainly the inclusion of Perez and higher rankings for Parente and Giedo:

In my opinion, Jerome D’Ambrosio, who had a solid start to the season, was not as strong throughout the year as Giedo, Alvaro and Luca.  Perez was inconsistent, but a clear top driver for the year.  For me a close call between Maldonado and Rigon, only to favor the ART driver due to his race wins.  Pastor’s season was horrible, while Rigon drew maximum advantage from his limited seat time.  Another notable for me is Johnny Cecotto, though his 2009 presence was not enough to have a decent “sample” of his GP2 driving. Let’s see what he does in 2010.

All quiet….

Hello all…. I have been hard at work on personal projects, but haven’t forgotten the blog.  Problem is, everything is quiet on the GP2 front – probably until early next year.  I will keep my eyes and ears open for any news….

Why was Bruni allowed to race in GP2?

If I’m not mistaken, only Giorgio Pantano, Antonio Pizzonia and Gianmaria Bruni have “stepped down ” from F1 to race in GP2.

My question here is:  though Pantano did not officially complete a full season in 2004 with Jordan, Bruni did complete a full season that same year with Minardi.  Does anyone know why that exception was granted to Bruni?  Was there a special loophole that Coloni took advantage of to put Gianmaria in one of their cars in 2005?

Not that he would want to, but we all think that Kimi could not race in GP2 because of the current series regulations.   But, now that he has announced a sabbatical from F1 for 2010, wouldn’t it be awesome to see him battling it out with the younger guys in the GP2 Dallaras?

New GP2 chassis postponed until 2011?

If rumors and comments circulating among GP2 teams are true, the organization is seriously considering delaying the traditional 3-year renewal of the GP2 chassis and engines until 2011 – giving the current configuration a one-year extension.  2010 would bring with it an upgrade package, though I am very curious on how much that could end up costing the teams.

This decision, if true, is  a good one – very much aligned with the realities affronting teams today.  The obligation to front another €400k or so for new chassis during 2010, plus signing new engine leases, would be a death sentence for some of the less buoyant teams today.  GP2 cars are still very much competitive, especially compared to their rival series cars, and a well-designed and effective upgrade package is more than enough to carry the category over for another year.

I also feel this decision is good for other reasons.  First, it delays the decision on a new engine partner for another year, hopefully finding a suitable substitute for the ailing Mecachrome.  Mercedes or Ferrari sound great… but let’s wait and see what Renault does with its F1 team before fantasizing.   And second, it reduces the pressure on what to do with the “old” GP2 Asia cars and the current ones that could substitute them.  Hopefully the 2009-2010 season will end up killing GP2 Asia altogether, but without the added pressure of pushing the outgoing chassis, maybe they can make a more sensible decision.

All in all, a step in the right direction, that teams should applaud.  Though let’s wait for official confirmation before congratulating Bruno and his team…

Grosjean back to GP2?

With rumors more and more frequent regarding the possible 2010 Renault F1 lineup (assuming the team will actually stay in F1 next year), one name that seems to be off the list is Romain Grosjean.  Brought in to replace an ailing Nelsinho Piquet, Grosjean did little to improve the terrible results of the team’s 2nd driver in 2009.  No points, no decent performances, nothing at all…

Now, apart from confirmed driver Robert Kubica, we hear names such as Lucas Di Grassi, Franck Montagny, Heikki Kovalainen or even Timo Glock.

With Romain out of F1, barring any “French” miracle, could we see him back in GP2?  Though his GP2 career was very erratic, he did show speed and could solidly bring up any mid-level team to contention for some races.   He could put teams such as Piquet or DAMS back on the map in one season, if the technical side is solid.

Personally, I think it is a great gamble, but if you had the budget to support his return, wouldn’t he be on your list of potential drivers?

Paul Ricard tests: Top 10 overall times

Best times from this week’s 3-day test at Paul Ricard:

  • Herck            1:12.271        DPR
  • Jakes             1:12.346       Super Nova
  • Razia             1:12.416        Barwa Addax
  • Jakes             1:12.434        Super Nova
  • Bianchi          1:12.451         ART
  • Read more of this post