Just a short walk from the F1 pitlane here in Hungary, the GP2 Series paddock has this weekend been given its first hint over who will be chosen to race in the championship for its third generation from 2011 to 2013.
GP2 Series organisers have sent letters to 17 prospective entrants, informing them that they have made the shortlist for the next three years, during which period all teams will compete in both the GP2 and GP2 Asia Series, using the brand new GP2/11 car.
I’ve been doing some digging and from what I have learnt so far, all 12 existing teams have been sent a letter confirming that they are on the shortlist. This leaves a list of five prospective new entrants, which paddock rumour and a bit of research has led myself and my colleagues to conclude may well be (and I stress that these are only rumours):
And either Status Grand Prix, Signature or Mucke Motorsport (with Status thought to be the most likely candidate although sources indicate that as yet they have no news over the progress of their application – Team boss Teddy Yip is in Canada and may not yet have picked up his emails!)
So, with the GP2 grid moving back to 13 teams next year, and two F1 teams in the running for a spot, there is the prospect of anywhere up to 4 existing GP2 teams facing the axe. Those thought to be in danger are:
And either Ocean Racing Technology or, incredibly, this season’s championship leading outfit Rapax.
The reason for the thought process over this list is that none of the other seven teams (ART, Addax, iSport, Arden, Super Nova, Racing Engineering, DAMS) would be considered expendable due to their past form and longevity in the championship. Rapax is, afterall and despite its incredible form this year, in only its first season of GP2 in 2010, having taken over the former Piquet GP squad.
We expect to hear the final list of 13 teams at Monza, in September.