Coloni completes 2011 lineup with Jakes
January 16, 2011 5 Comments
Swift steps by Paolo Coloni have led to a full lineup very early in the preseason with the signing of James Jakes, after confirming Michael Herck several months ago.
Jakes has been on everyone’s GP2 list for 2-3 years now, but the British driver had never found the right place for himself in the series. He has raced intermittently in GP2 Asia, and finally made it into a GP2 race in Abu Dhabi for the season closer in November. This ride with Coloni, a predictor of what was to come, has permitted Paolo’s team to once again show its ability at wooing and signing drivers, albeit this year with a bit more talent in each seat.
You may remember that last year Coloni signed veteran Alberto Valerio, a GP2 race winner, and quick-but-wild Bulgarian Vlado Arabadzhiev. Though it was not a winning combo in anyone’s book, more was expected from the affable Valerio, who ended up pulling out of the agreement before the season concluded.
Now, Coloni brings in 2 faster drivers. Jakes, who has been seen in many categories, pulled off a decent F3 Euroseries campaign in 2007 where he finished 5th. Last year, when we all expected him in GP2, he resigned with his F3 team, Manor Motorsports, and went into GP3 with expectations of being a title contender. He finished a disappointing 8th, with 2 podiums but no wins under his belt.
On the other hand, we have written extensively about Michael Herck. A determined driver, who has seriously improved in previous years. It will be interesting to see him function within a team not controlled by his father, where Michael will hopefully thrive and show he is capable of podiums in this category.
As a final note, and with no intention of undermining Paolo Coloni’s ability in signing 2 paying drivers this early in the year, I must confess I am very suprised to see these drivers, especially Jakes, fall in where they did. With the GP2 grid still wide open, especially regarding mid-field teams (eg. Super Nova, Arden) the offer from Coloni must have been seriously tempting.