Formula Renault 3.5 champion Mikhail Aleshin and British racer Max Chilton will join Carlin for the 2011 GP2 and GP2 Asia Series. The duo will be the first GP2 drivers for the British team, which will be a new addition to the GP2 grid this season.
Formula Renault 3.5 champion Mikhail Aleshin continues his climb up the motorsport ladder with Carlin in GP2. The Muscovite won three races and claimed eight podiums to defeat Red Bull Junior and F1 reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo to the FR3.5 crown last year, making Aleshin the only Russian to have won an international championship. The Carlin driver also tested the Renault R27 in the F1 young driver tests in Abu Dhabi last November.
“First of all it is an amazing feeling to be with a great team again, especially after what we achieved together last year. I am very pleased that I have this chance to drive with Carlin one more time and I’d like to thank them for this opportunity. I know how important this year is for the team with it being their first season in GP2 and I am determined to give 100 per cent for them.
“The GP2 car has changed quite a bit – which is very important for me as a driver. There have been changes made which will make it a slightly more level playing field in my first season in the series. Also, the car this year will be even closer to an F1 car – in terms of power, aerodynamics and tyres, and this was one of the main reasons that I chose to race in GP2 this season.”
19 year-old Chilton has already completed one season of GP2 in only his fourth season of single-seater racing. The Reigate born racer previously raced with Carlin in 2009, claiming two race wins and five podiums on his way to fourth in the championship standings in the British F3 International Series.
Speaking about his return to the Hampshire based squad, Chilton said, “I’m really happy to be back with Carlin; I have a lot of good memories from my time with the team in 2009 and it feels very right to be with them in GP2. I learnt a lot in my rookie season and I feel like I’m really going to be able to make the most of those lessons now with Carlin. There’s a really good team of people here and I feel very confident that we have a package that will enable me to challenge for podiums this season.”
Racing Director Trevor Carlin added, “A huge amount of work has already gone into our GP2 programme and I’m extremely happy with the progress we’ve made so far. I’m delighted to have both Mikhail and Max with us in our first season of GP2. We have a very close working relationship with Mikhail who won the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with us last year. He is a very mature driver with a lot of experience who we expect to be a great asset to the team this season. Max had a fantastic season in F3 with us in 2009 and it’s great to have him back racing with us this year. His experience in GP2 last year will prove invaluable to the team in 2011.”