2011 Addax lineup… Agag says: “no rookies”
November 16, 2010 9 Comments
During a pit wall interview by Spanish television this Sunday, Addax team principal Alejandro Agag said that his drivers for 2011 were “already racing in GP2” this year. Agag went on to say: “We don’t race rookies in our team”.
Since Agag took over – partially in 2007 and fully in 2008 – the only rookie has been Ben Hanley, who was then part of the Renault Driver Development program but whose poor season saw him get the boot after 6 races in favor of Lucas DiGrassi – then also in the orbit of the French F1 team.
So doing a little matchmaking, who could be the drivers for runner-up team Barwa Addax in 2011?
First, let’s take into account that since 2008, Addax drivers have been backed by significant sponsors or F1 junior programs:
- Giedo van der Garde: backed by father-in law Marcel Boekhoorn, with shareholding/interests in Williams F1 sponsor McGregor, Voice Trust, De Telegraaf and Spyker Cars, among others
- Sergio Pérez: backed by the deep pockets of Telmex
- Lucas DiGrassi/Ben Hanley/Romain Grosjean: when racing for Addax, all were Renault-backed drivers
- Vitaly Petrov: always strong sponsorship at GP2-level from Russian businessmen
So, looking at the 2010 grid, who could fit this mold? Bear in mind that a GP2 Main Series budget (not counting GP2 Asia) could run around €1.7 – 1.8 million with a top-3 team like Addax.
- First option are the Gravity drivers. Three competitive Gravity drivers were on the grid in 2010: Romain Grosjean, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Christian Vietoris. One or two of these could end up driving for Addax.
- Another option would be 3 drivers with strong management:
- Sam Bird: Well-managed by James Olivier (CJ Motorsport), put in a strong 2010 season and will surely be out of a drive with ART. His drive with Mercedes at this week’s F1 rookie test could be a strong step in the right direction for Sam.
- Marcus Ericsson: Though clearly one of the biggest disappointments of 2010, Marcus has a strong CV behind him, as well as the management of Kenny Brack. Marcus needs a fresh start, and an Addax ride would be the best way to have no excuses to prove his value at this level.
- An outsider for the position is Charles Pic. A fast driver by anyone’s measure, Pic has been part of the RDD program in the past and is still managed by Flavio Briatore. Briatore and Agag are good friends and a good enough budget could see the French driver taking the step up from a competitive Arden to a winning Addax team.
- Finally, the other option to consider is the return of Giedo van der Garde. With Sergio Pérez off to Sauber, Giedo is looking to join him in the F1 circus, but he could return for another season in GP2 should his efforts fail. He has not had a great season, but I doubt he would be turned away by Agag for another shot at it.
We’ll soon see who signs up for GP2 Asia with Addax. This year, the usually decaffeinated Asian series will be a strong indicator of the 2011 GP2 Main Series.