GP2 SeriesTM CEO reflects on the 2011 season and looks ahead
A worthy 2011 Champion
“2011 has been another great GP2 season, with Romain Grosjean proving himself worthy to sit with our previous champions: hopefully he will soon join the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock and Pastor Maldonado in the F1 paddock. GP2 has a long history as the strongest feeder series for F1. We’ve had 11 drivers on the current grid coming through our ranks and a total of 45 drivers who were given a chance in F1 since 2005 after having proven their worth in our Series, and I’m sure we will see more drivers promoted from GP2 once again next year.”
Reflecting on the design and challenges of the GP2/11 car
“The first year of the GP2/11 car has been a great success, as anyone who watched the racing this year will have seen. We considered many new options during the design period of the car, including movable wings or KERS, but decided against them as we felt it was not in keeping with the spirit of our series. Although they could have enhanced the power of our car it could have been an issue safety-wise. The philosophy of our car is not about how powerful it can be. Our aim is to design the car that will be as close as a F1 car in terms of behaviour and thus give the drivers the opportunity to learn how to handle an incredibly complex machine.
“GP2 has always been about finding the best drivers, period. Our racing car is an extremely challenging car to drive at the limit, and it is meant to be: when you are one step away from the pinnacle of motor racing, you should be able to race and overtake without assistance from the car you need a selective car and strong drivers more than you need KERS or any other gimmicks, and I believe that fans and experts appreciate GP2 because it is pure racing and the best driver always wins.
“The F1 teams also appreciate this: they are watching the best young drivers in the world prove themselves in a car as close as possible to the challenge of an F1 car, and this is what we’ve always set out to achieve. By focusing on our cars, and optimising them for the same Pirelli tyres as used in the F1 races, we aim to give them what they are looking for.
“This season once again offered some of the best racing and the GP2/11 car proved to be exactly what we expected: a reliable, powerful and affordable machine that provided a great show. We saw some amazing races with heart-stopping on-track battles such as the Bianchi/Vietoris fight for the win in Silverstone, Turkey feature race or Spa sprint race, and that’s exactly the philosophy of the GP2 SeriesTM.”
Beyond the 2011 season
“Looking ahead, after two test sessions which will take place on 28-29 September in Jerez and 19-20 October in Barcelona, there will be the 2011 GP2 Finals in Abu Dhabi where I hope to see many GP3 graduates show that they are ready for the next step in front of the F1 paddock, and fight for the Pirelli prize money . We are currently working on the 2012 calendar which will most likely consist of twelve rounds, eight in Europe and four overseas. We are working on finding different options in order to control the costs and keep affordable a season on such a complex car and in the F1 environment. With the merging of GP2 Asia and GP2 Series, the main Series will become a truly global category which will attract even more partners and generate an even greater interest throughout the globe.”