New cars on their way: reasons and impact

GP2 teams are heading over to Dallara today to pick up their shiny new GP2/11 cars.   The situation with these new racecars has evolved through many phases throughout 2010 – from an initial idea of keeping the current GP2/08 cars to a complete overhaul of the chassis, bodywork and engine for the next 3 seasons.

The reason for this is simple.  The GP2 organization has passed on the financial burden from their troubled coffers to the ever-so-generous teams, who will once again pass the buck on to the drivers.   With the excuse (completely founded and legal) of the new contract period, GP2 has taken the “cleanest” road to the renewal of the chassis.  Instead of having a mix of older/newer chassis, impacted mainly by the arrival of the new teams in the series, all will have to upgrade their full package.

The option of simply updating the GP2/08 chassis was scrapped, as teams can only purchase the new bodywork along with the new chassis… a kind of catch-22, if you will.   Teams can use their old chassis, should they choose to keep them, but they will have already purchased a full package beforehand.  This leaves teams with 2 completely new cars, and maybe 1 GP2/08 chassis in the shop, useful as backup should one of their new ones be destroyed – such as what happened to Grosjean in Monaco or Coletti at Spa.

Going back to the original point, who will pay for this new car?  Obviously, drivers – and their parents, sponsors, friends, etc.  If the average price of a GP2 seat in 2010 was around €1.2 million, how much more expensive will 2011 be?  At this point, I have yet to gather reliable information on this point, but I have heard figures dangerously approaching the €2 million mark.  Let’s hope this is just a random and inaccurate figure, because budgets in that range could be highly detrimental to GP2 – no matter how successful the series is.

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