ART-Lotus GP2 linkup… what?
September 22, 2010 6 Comments
Last night I read and re-read the press release from Lotus announcing their partnership with ART Grand Prix, where the F1 team will provide “technical and engineering support”.
Had I read this 2 days ago, I would have thought it was an interesting deal, that no doubt strengthens the Lotus position in the junior categories they race in and gives ART a direct window upwards to the F1 heavens. Yet after announcing Team Air Asia (basically Lotus Junior Team) as part of the 2011-2013 GP2 grid, I must confess the news baffle me. Yes, Lotus has “history” and ART is the best team in GP2, but this?
Frèdèric Vasseur’s comments are the most confusing of all: “It is a fantastic opportunity for ART Grand Prix to be working with Lotus. The goal is clear: winning together the future GP2 and GP3 championships. I can’t wait to see the new livery of our racing cars.”….. What??
No matter which angle I try to understand, the story makes little or no sense. First, why would ART link-up with a competitor in GP2, and maybe in a near future, GP3? Second, why would the GP2 Series grant entry to a team that has a partnership with a current grid member?
All I can think of is we are starting to see a Red Bull-Toro Rosso type situation here, much like we sometimes saw in F3000 many years ago. Lotus and Tony Fernandes pressured/insisted to get into GP2 to complement their junior driver program, so the ART deal seems either unnecessary at this point or just plain confusing. Lotus will effectively “have” 2 junior teams in GP2 now.
The questions that remain are:
1. Is Lotus/Fernandes investing in ART? – seems unlikely since ART just got cash from both Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Brazilian firm Aethra
2. Is ART (Vasseur/Todt) investing in Lotus? – hmmmm… maybe that is it?
I will keep looking into it and keep posting….