Bird and Ericsson reportedly sign with iSport
January 12, 2011 9 Comments
Italian magazine Italiaracing has reported that iSport has filled both of its seats for 2011 with 2nd year drivers Sam Bird and Marcus Ericsson. If confirmed, Paul Jackson’s team has put together a very solid lineup that will hopefully lift iSport back into the top 3 spots for 2011 and will have its drivers seriously contending for wins this season.
2011 was a disappointing season for Paul Jackson and iSport, especially after dominating GP2 Asia with Valsecchi and Turvey, with the Italian taking the title last season. Much more was expected from the team and the 2 drivers, with only 1 in-extremis win by Valsecchi at the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi, and 3 podiums for the team all season.
The deal, as reported, is for both GP2 Asia and the Main series, so we will be seeing Sam and Marcus from next month’s Abu Dhabi tests with the new iSport machinery.
Sam Bird was one of the best drivers of 2010, starting off strong and finishing off strong, with a mid-season where he struggled and found it hard to keep up the pace. Bird is clearly capable of much more this season, even if he was with ART during 2010. Though a fear with most ART drivers (read this older post), Bird seems to have stood up well as the ART “second” driver last year, with no clear outward favoritism for Nicolas Todt’s boy Jules Bianchi. Maybe Bianchi’s lackluster season helped, or maybe Bird proved strong enough to continuously challenge for equal attention from this team. He substitutes Oliver Turvey as the British driver at iSport, something that should definitely make Paul Jackson proud.
On the other hand, Marcus Ericsson was one of the biggest disappointments in 2010. Part of David Sears’ bet for 2 strong but inexperienced driver last year, the team had a very difficult time getting into the points. We have all seen Marcus’ potential in F3, so it is clear that 2011 will be a much better year for him, where he will be challenging consistently for wins and a top 5 spot in the final standings. Few teams will give him a stronger package than iSport.
With these reported signings, the number of confirmed drivers is up to 9 out of 26 seats.