Archives for category: GP2 Series

Part of the new track in Bahrain © http://www.sutton-images.com

I’m getting a little bit worried about tomorrow’s F1 race, because from what I have seen so far of the weekend, the incredible battle that everyone is expecting may be under threat of not showing up.

This fear comes not from the competitive differences between the teams you understand, but from something far easier to resolve… and something which wasn’t even a problem two weeks ago.

The new sequence of corners at the Bahrain International circuit between Turn 4 and the old Turn 5, have added almost a kilometre to the circuit length and half a minute to overall laptimes. They’re a challenging combination of tight and technical corners, designed to add some extra spice to the track… only, they’re not quite coming up trumps.

The problem, you see, is that this new part of the track has been ill conceived and ill designed. Quite apart from the fact that there simply isn’t enough track length between corners to allow anyone to have a decent stab at a passing move, the track width is so slim that you can barely fit two cars side by side. To the naked eye, it appears almost half the width of the rest of the circuit.

So if this new part of the track wasn’t designed around the purpose of introducing more overtaking opportunities, then why put it in at all? Sure these seven extra turns now make Bahrain the second longest circuit on the calendar, but nobody’s going to care when all they’ve done is create crap racing.

And if you think I’m being overly pessimistic, may I point your attention to today’s GP2 Asia race.

Two weeks ago, GP2 Asia raced on the old circuit, the original circuit. With overtaking being pulled off at Turns 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 12, 15/16 and, believe it or not, 13 and 14 throughout the weekend, the main feature race two weeks ago had me on my knees in the commentary box and in need of some strepsils. It was, without question, one of the greatest races I have witnessed in my lifetime.

Compare that to today. The extra corners served not to spice up the show, but to create one long procession. You’d never have believed we were at the same track.. because in many ways, we weren’t.

The new section didn’t allow good overtaking. Indeed only two moves were pulled off there all race and both of those were balls to the wall passes that owed more to luck than judgement. It’s also incredibly bumpy… so much so that pole sitter and today’s winner Luca Filippi has taken to wearing a gumshield, a sporting safety device more usually seen on the rugby field than in a racing car. Third placed Charles Pic has reported that he is suffering from huge blisters on both hands following today’s race… soemthing he certainly didn’t have after winning here two weeks ago!

Sure, you can argue it’s only GP2 Asia, and not representative of F1. But GP2 Asia cars were designed around the concept of ground effect and to allow overtaking. F1 2010 has not been. So if the new track turned one of the most exciting races I’ve seen into one of the most dull… what hope of a good F1 race? The 24 drivers who took part in today’s race featured only a few changes from those who competed a few weeks ago, so did they all just forget how to race? I don’t think so.

Factor in also that the new teams in F1 are not on the pace of those at the front of the grid, and there is also a potential problem… namely that between Turn 5 and Turn 12, quicker cars will not be able to pass slower cars. Even if they’re lapping them. All this will do is create anger from the leading drivers to the backmarkers at a time when the 107% rule is already being debated in unduly high decibels.

But if we are to be fair we must point out right now and before the race even begins that it will not be the Virgin, Lotus and HRT drivers’ fault if they cannot get out of the way of the quicker cars in this new section, but that of the circuit designers. Anywhere else, and there might have been space to pass… but not on a track that’s as thin and as comparative a shade of its former self as Lindsey Lohan.

They usually say that a boring Sunday GP2 race doesn’t leave much hope for the main event.

As such, I’m hoping for an epic support event tomorrow morning. If it doesn’t arrive, we may have to wait a few weeks for F1’s exciting new dawn to truly arrive.

Following yesterday’s announcement, I’ve had some lovely messages from you guys and quite a few messages asking what my plans are with regard to the gigs I’ve had over the past few seasons. So I thought I’d just write a quick piece to fill you all in on my plans for the year ahead.

Working for SPEED is a tremendous honour and its a job I can’t wait to sink my teeth into. The guys over in the States have been very understanding about the fact I’m about to become a father, and they’ve given me the first few races off to be with my wife and new baby. As such, I’m due to make my debut on SPEED in Shanghai.

I want to make sure that I give 100% to my new role, and as such I have handed in my notice at GPWeek. I have had the most amazing two years at GPWeek and have taken enormous pride in watching it grow from a concept to a popular and well-read weekly magazine receiving 10 million page hits at its peak in 2009. I want to thank Keith, Chris and all the guys at the magazine for the best couple of seasons and to wish them well for the future, and I hope I’ll still be able to write bits and bobs for them over the season.

I will, however, continue in my role as commentator for FOM on the world feed of the GP2 Asia and GP2 Main Series in 2010. It’s a job which combines well with my new role at SPEED, and I can’t wait to see how the F1 feeder series plays out in 2010 in what will be its sixth season of competition. Should be a thriller!

I’ll be continuing with my blog, and updating it as often as I can… I know it’s not as regularly updated as some of the others, but quite frankly I don’t think you need my opinion on every miniscule happening in this sport. I’ll just give you my views on the stuff that interests me and the stuff I’ve delved into to try and find the real story.

Combined with that, I’m still a freelance journo so I hope to pick up bits and bobs throughout the year, such as the two features in the March issue of F1 Racing mag on Massa and Senna which I hope you all enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Thanks to you all for your continued support, and to all of you in the States who are avid SPEED viewers, don’t hesitate to let me know what you love about this sport and what you want to see from me in paddock and I will do my best to search it out for you and bring you the side of the sport that you want to see.

Overall, I’m really looking forward to the year… as this lovely Q&A conducted by SPEED will hopefully explain…

SPEED: Joining a well-established broadcast team, what do you hope to bring to the table to establish chemistry with Bob Varsha, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett?

Buxton: First up, I’ve got to admit that I’m just massively excited about the whole thing. It’s a huge honor to be joining the SPEED team, and in particular to be doing so at the start of what could be an incredible era in the history of Formula 1. I’ve been a fan of this sport my whole life and have been lucky enough to work within it for the better part of the past decade. I’d like to think that the passion and enthusiasm I have for F1 has come across in what I’ve done in the past and that those traits will define what I bring to the SPEED team both this year and into the future. Working with Bob, David, Steve and all the guys behind the scenes at SPEED is the sort of opportunity you just don’t get every day. And with F1 back in North America at Montreal, a lot of talk about the return of a US Grand Prix and so many young talented American drivers coming through the ranks, it’s a really great time to be joining SPEED.

SPEED: As the literal “eyes and ears” on the ground at each event for SPEED, what type of storylines attract your attention?

Buxton: F1 is a bit of a soap opera at times. As a journalist it’s what makes the sport such a joy to report on. There’s always something going on in the background, and I won’t shy away from doing my best to get to the heart of every issue. That said, I don’t think that my job at SPEED is simply to report the news. Far from it. As one of the lucky few who can actually get into the F1 paddock, I think that probably my biggest responsibility is to open it all up to the American fans: to invite them in, sit them down, introduce them to a few people and show them what’s going on. It’s the fans that make this sport, so my job is to give them the access they deserve.

SPEED: Are you doing anything specific to prepare for this new role?

Buxton: I am very aware of the size of the shoes I’m stepping into, but it’s a challenge I can’t wait to take on. I’ve watched Peter at work for many years, and over the past few months have gone back over much of what he produced at SPEED. But I’m not Peter, and I think the only way that I can approach this epic opportunity is to just be myself and bring SPEED’s viewers the side of the sport that I see and that I love. When you look at the majority of driver line-ups on the grid, it’s clear that there’s a new generation sweeping through Formula 1. There’s a vibrancy brought about by a set of people I’ve worked with both in junior formulas and in F1 for many years and with whom I believe I share much in common. It’s a new sport, with a bunch of young drivers who aren’t afraid to speak their minds and tell it like it is. We’re due for an insane season and the start of an incredible new era of competition. I’m really looking forward to being a part of it all on SPEED.

Zoran Stefanovic points at a model of a car that won't be racing in Bahrain.

With the GP2 Asia action at the Bahrain International Circuit all done and dusted, I’ve been on a bit of a fact finding mission in the paddock with regard to the StefanGP team, which has been hoping to be admitted into the Formula 1 World Championship and contest the opening round of the 2010 season at this very circuit in two weeks’ time.

And the news, at least from StefanGP’s perspective, ‘aint good.

Officials at the track confirmed to me that StefanGP’s containers, which the team stated on February 2nd it had sent to Bahrain, have not arrived at the circuit. Of course the containers may still be at customs awaiting their signing out, but the firmly held belief that the team’s containers of spare parts for their ex-Toyota racers were already at the Bahrain International Circuit are false. They are not here.

But perhaps the firmest nail in the coffin of the team’s hopes that they would be permitted to race should one of the new teams fail to make it, was an admission from another official at the BIC that they have received word from the FIA informing them to take StefanGP’s team profile, which had been prepared by the BIC on the off chance of the team’s participation, out of the media kits for the season-opening Grand Prix. According to this official, the FIA’s reasoning for this was that StefanGP “will not be racing in Bahrain.”

Seems pretty clear cut, doesn’t it?

StefanGP, car or no car, spare parts or none, Bridgestone contract or bare wheel rims, will not, it seems, be racing in Bahrain.

Their only hope now appears to be convincing USF1 to sell its entry to them and for the Serbian outfit to race as USF1, although at the present time that seems unlikely.

In other, much better news, however, it seems that Campos’ F1 entry is moving ahead at full steam. Dallara is working hard to prepare everything for the team’s debut in Bahrain, and the squad is expected to test at Varano next week, as the circuit rests just minutes from Dallara’s base.

Charles Pic c/o GP2 Media Service

Charles Pic will start tomorrow’s GP2 Asia race from pole position after putting on a dazzling display under the floodlights here in Abu Dhabi with a lap of 1:52.497.

The Frenchman, nicknamed “Tooth Pic” by his team owing to the fact he’s really quite skinny, was in inspired form to fend off the challenge posed by the iSport duo of championship leader Davide Valsecchi and Oliver Turvey, to record his first GP2 Asia pole.

Valsecchi perhaps thought pole was his for the taking after his main challenger from practice Luca Filippi retired in the early minutes of the session with an as yet unknown car failure. But the Italian was never allowed a moment to breathe, with Pic, Turvey and the ART duo of Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird all fighting over the top spot in the final minutes.

Valsecchi came close to snatching pole back with his last lap, but ran just a touch wide over the rumble strips at the final corner, and the time he lost saw him slip not just from second, but from the front row as his team-mate Turvey romped to P2 with his final gambit.

Jules Bianchi will start from fourth after a seriously impressive first qualifying outing on a car he’s never driven, on a track he’s never seen, and for the first time at night. Alexander Rossi took fifth ahead of Javier Villa, Bird, Edoardo Piscopo, Giacomo Ricci and Christian Vietoris.

In the end, it was Pic who put together the perfect lap and put a huge smile on the faces of the Arden team, which this weekend races for the first time under a new younger generation of engineers led by Campbell Hobson, after long-time chief of Engineering Mick Cook parted company with the team over the winter. The change in the team’s approach has reaped immediate reward, and deservedly so.

It will be fascinating to see how he handles the pressure of the iSport boys behind him, the speed of the ARTs and the ever impressive Rossi in tomorrow’s race. And keep an eye out for Filippi. Starting from the rear of the grid, the fastest man of the early running will be a man on a mission tomorrow.

Luca Filippi c/o GP2 Media Service

Luca Filippi has handed down a message of clear intent to GP2 Asia Series championship leader Davide Valsecchi by setting the fastest laptime in free practice for this weekend’s second round in Abu Dhabi.

The Italian set his best lap of 1:54.146 with his very last run, to deny compatriot Valsecchi the top spot.

The Yas Marina circuit served an immense challenge to the GP2 Asia drivers this evening, as under the spotlights a thick layer of dust and sand made the track slippery in the early running. That said, everyone seemed able to cope with the tricky conditions. Everyone, that was, except for Alberto Valerio, who made one of his trademark errors and launched his Coloni into the barriers at Turn 19.

His crash brought out the red flags for what seemed like an age as the clock ticked down and the marshals made a meal of extracting his broken car.

When the session got going again with an additional 15 minutes added to the now empty clock, Charles Pic was the man on a mission, setting a brace of top times for Arden. His efforts however soon fell behind the duelling Filippi and Valsecchi who traded fastest laps for the remainder of the session.

Valsecchi thought he’d pipped his countryman to the top time with his last lap of the session, but Filippi, who had made contact with Valsecchi’s iSport team-mate Oliver Turvey with just minutes to run in the session, was already on another flyer and stormed through to take first blood.

Behind the Italians Sam Bird continued his fine form in Abu Dhabi with third, ahead of Pic, Perez, Leimer, debutant Bianchi, Rossi, Van der Garde and Ricci.

Michael Schumacher © http://www.sutton-images.com

There’s a lot of noise at the moment following a report in Britain’s The Mirror newspaper, claiming that Michael Schumacher is on the verge of conducting a test in a GP2 car in Abu Dhabi, as part of his preparations for an incredible return to Formula 1 in 2010 with Mercedes.

The article was written by Byron Young, all round epic bloke and bloody good journo, and given how far ahead of the game he’s been on this whole Schuey comeback thing, you’ve got to take this story seriously because his sources thus far have been utterly impeccable.

With recent quotes from Ferrari’s Luca di Montezemolo stating that Schumacher had told him there is a “very, very, very strong possibility” of him coming back to F1 with Merc next year, it seems that the German’s presence in the sport in 2010 is all but a formality… or is it?

Let’s not forget that it was only a matter of months ago that we were last talking about a Schumacher comeback; one which, ultimately, was curtailed by injuries the German had sustained in a bike racing accident. The basal skull fracture he picked up meant that his vision became impaired whenever he went over a bump in his test at the wheel of a Ferrari F2007. And when you consider that at racing speeds an intolerance of a few millimetres in the road surface will feel like a speedbump, his entire F1 test must have been one blurred nightmare.

His need to test before agreeing on the Merc contract, therefore, must be for safety and medical reasons for if his injuries have not healed to the extent that both he and his manager Willi Weber hope and believe, this comeback ‘aint going anywhere.

But is he going to be testing a GP2 car? To be honest, it is not as simple as it might at first seem.

GP2 regulations are quite clear in regard to testing. Teams may only run their cars in group test sessions, and the next one of those isn’t until March, one month after F1 testing resumes. What about the old cars, then? Well they’re also a no go. The 2005-2007 iteration of the GP2 car is now the GP2 Asia car, and as such is subject to the same testing regulation. The next GP2 Asia race is in February…again, after F1 testing resumes.

All of which leaves one option… a special, one off test, organised by the GP2 organisation itself for Schumacher to drive the GP2 development car. Interestingly, Schumacher would be following in the footsteps of one of his oldest rivals, as GP2 organisers placed 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill in the original GP2 development car back in 2005.

Damon Hill tests GP2 © http://www.sutton-images.com

Of course, I am sure that the guys over in Abu Dhabi would love to have Schumacher test out there, but the logistics don’t quite stack up for me. To my mind, putting Schumacher into the GP2/08 development car at Circuit Paul Ricard is by far the most sensible and achievable option. The car is probably the closest to F1 speeds available at such short notice, and I can’t see GP2 organisers turning down the opportunity of putting Schumacher into the car. The PR potential is staggering. The car is kept at the Oreca base around the corner and could be ready to run by this afternoon if required. Plus, at Ricard it is possible to alter the track to replicate different types of circuit – low downforce runs with long straights, high downforce runs with multiple corners and fast changes of direction… if Schumacher wants to test out the strength of his neck on differing tracks, there’s nowhere better in the world than Ricard.

Michael’s own people told me that they have “given up commenting on rumours” and a spokesperson for GP2 said that the current story was “a really nice rumour.” Nobody’s saying no, which suggests to me that talks are happening.

This Schumacher comeback really is on, then. The wheels are in motion. That said, just as his mid-season comeback was ultimately curtailed by ill health, so might his full time 2010 return. Personally, I really do hope that his injuries have healed and that this GP2 test,if indeed it happens, simply confirms rather than concludes this incredible story.

The Virgin Racing 2010 Line-up © Virgin Racing

For me, one of the most interesting things to come out of today’s Virgin Racing launch in London was an admission from some of the team’s leading managers that it was their intention to create an Academy to nurture driver talent for the future.

“We’re hoping to have some kind of Academy that Marc Hynes will be directly responsible for,” Sporting Director John Booth admitted when I quizzed him on the subject. “It probably won’t happen next year [2010] but that’s our direct aim: to develop our own drivers for the future.”

Hynes, who won the British Formula Renault and F3 title with Booth’s Manor squad, has been a driver coach for the Yorkshireman’s outfits for some years and Booth indicated that, while it has yet to be finalised, there is a plan in place for the Virgin brand to extend its reach to the Manor GP3 squad.

Virgin Racing’s new Team Principal Alex Tai confirmed the plans for the racing academy.

“We have got plans to do that,” he replied when I put the question to him and Sir Richard Branson. “We don’t want to announce them now, [as] there’s [already] a shelf load of information that’s being thrown out there. We want to make the sport more accessible and we don’t want to just make it accessible as a sport, as a participant sport, for people who are rich kids. That’s not a democratisation of the sport. We’re looking at ways now to try and open up that to give the ability for drivers from all backgrounds, and from all sexes and from all countries, to be able to access the sport, we want to be able to provide that opportunity. Now this is something that every new team says when they come in to the sport, so before we start talking definitively how we’re going to do it, we’re going to pressure test the system and make sure it works and then we’ll come out with these plans. But this is a young driver academy for both sexes and for all economic backgrounds.”

With Booth seemingly under the impression that the Virgin brand could extend its reach to his new-for-2010 GP3 Manor team, and with Virgin Racing’s testers Alvaro Parente and Luis Razia both admitting today that they were hoping to compete in the 2010 GP2 Series with some form of backing from Virgin, this could be the “pressure test” of which Tai spoke.

It is also worth mentioning that with Durango recently revealed to be out of the 2010 GP2 Series, there will be at least one team slot in GP2 up for grabs for the 2011-2013 championship, which could yet be completed by a Manor/Virgin team if its GP3 plans and link to its 2010 testers pays off. With the Virgin Racing Academy due to come into being in 2011, the timing could be perfect.

Opera and Hemesferic - Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias © E. Patching / Suttons

Comments coming out of this week’s Motorsport Business Forum in Monaco have confirmed what I first reported back on October 5, in Issue 66 of GPWeek. Namely, that Formula 1 is not only considering but has now reached consensus over the concept of a group team launch in 2010.

Now there are many commentators who will say that this is a terrible idea, an unworkable idea. I can see their point, particularly if they’re writing for weekly motorsport magazines as the steady drip flow of news afforded by individual launches makes those early winter weeks far more bearable. The concept of 13 team launches all at once for daily newspapers is also something of a nightmare. How are they supposed to speak to Alonso, Hamilton, Button, Vettel etc all at once? Which team would take preference? Which team would be the focus and which would completely miss out?

It would appear that FOTA has been thinking about this, and that the body has ultimately chosen the best possible location for a group launch, if one is to happen at all.

The Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences) in Valencia is one of the most tremendous venues in Europe for hosting big events. I’ve got firsthand experience of the place, having organised the 2006 GP2 launch and 2007 GP2 End of Season Awards ceremony at the venue. Its design, layout and multiple venues make it unique and, I believe, for what FOTA is envisaging, completely perfect for an F1 group launch.

But you can’t do it all in day. Oh no. Not even with all the venues available in Valencia would such a feat be possible. Instead, the only way I can see this working is by hosting a launch event over three days. You split the teams at intervals of three from the official entry list published by the FIA to ensure an even spread of teams from the top to the bottom each day, and ensuring that you don’t have one day filled with the new teams, and one day filled with all the top teams from 2009.

To my mind, it would make sense to limit team launches to a maximum of 30-40 minutes and get them all out of the way in the morning in one hour time allocations. By utilising the Opera House, the Hemesferic (which can be split into two launch venues) and the main Science building (which can be split into upwards of three separate launch venues), you have individual launch venues within walking distance of each other.

GP2 Launch 2006 © G. Bumstead / Sutton

Over lunch you make all the drivers of the teams launching their cars that day available for autograph sessions on the walkway that links the Science building with the Hemesferic. The fans get to meet their heroes in the flesh and it brings the city into the event.

Then, in the afternoon, its time for the media to get their interviews done in slots allocated for TV, two group sessions for journalists would be divided on national lines and within those chunks the time utilised as each team sees fit. Finally there’d be an hour for one on one interviews with key team personnel.

The event could run like this for three consecutive days, and on the final evening the event could be rounded up in style with a street parade around the venue by the 2009 teams in a style similar to the 2007 McLaren launch, as it is not definite that the new teams will have rolling chassis by the end of January date set for the launch.

It wouldn’t be difficult to keep everyone happy… at least I don’t think so. In this way the teams get an equal footing, the media gets the time it needs with the teams, and the fans get to meet their heroes and see the cars in action. And all this in the days before F1 2010 makes its debut at the Ricardo Tormo circuit down the road on the outskirts of Valencia.

To my mind, an event of this nature would create an enormous buzz and would be a fantastic way to start the season. DTM’s been doing it for years, IRL has a huge parade before the Indy 500, so why shouldn’t F1?

And the great thing is, it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. I know from my own experience what it costs to put on an event at this very venue in Valencia. Even renting the entire Ciudad for three days shouldn’t cost the earth. I know that McLaren blew a huge amount of money on their own launch, but so long as FOTA plays its cards right and actually barters this deal down, it could work out to be so financially viable and so fan friendly that it becomes a regular part of the annual F1 season build up.

And imagine that… every year a different city. Every year a different set of fans, coming out en masse, meeting their heroes. This could be the beginning of something truly fantastic.

There is a lot of talk doing the rounds today that Jose Maria “Pechito” Lopez has signed a contract to race with USF1 in 2010. If true, it will mark an incredible turnaround in the Argentine’s career and will bring to the sport a hugely likable character.

J-Lo’s single-seater career began in 2001 with an assault on Formula Renault 2.0, winning the Italian championship in 2002. In 2003 he moved up to Formula Renault V6 with DAMS and again stormed to the title. In 2004 the Argentine continued his association with DAMS, driving again in FRV6, making a one-off run in the FIA GT championship and moving up to Formula 3000 with CMS.

His DAMS association saw him move up to the new GP2 Series with the team in 2005, finishing on the podium in the first ever race at Imola and taking a win in only the second weekend of the inaugural season in Barcelona. He struggled with consistency after that point however, and scored only one further podium for the season eventually finishing ninth in the championship chase.

For 2006 Lopez moved to Super Nova and again struggled for consistency. As with 2005 he took three podiums but this time finished the season 10th. Perhaps the most telling moment of his season came at the Nurburgring. He was leading the Sunday race by a country mile and was completely unchallenged, until Timo Glock, who had recently switched teams from BCN to iSport began cutting down the gap to the race leader. With two laps to go the gap was still relatively healthy… a good few seconds. Lopez had it in the bag.

But then, on the last lap, Timo Glock flew past a half asleep Lopez, took the win, relegated Lopez to second and pretty much anihilated the Argentine’s reputation at the same time. Super Nova was unimpressed and dropped him for 2007. Nobody else wanted him either. Not in GP2. And certainly not in F1.

The 2006 season also saw the end of his deal with Renault. He’d been brought in as one of the earliest RDD boys, alongside the likes of Kovalainen and Kubica and despite his huge experience testing F1 cars for Renault and three seasons in an F1 feeder category, his inconsistency had dropped him out of favour and his F1 dream appeared at an end.

While fellow RDD boys Montagny, Kubica and Kovalainen all made it to F1, Lopez was thrust into ALMS and eventually the Argentine Touring Car championship, of which he was crowned champion last season.

But now, it seems, he will finally get his dream and his shot at F1. J-Lo is understood to have signed for USF1 with a downpayment of around 80% of the budget the team need from him to secure his seat. It is understood there is no time limit on him finding the remainder of the cash, as his credentials are bona fide thanks in no small part to his backing from former F1 star turned Argentine politican Carlos Reutemann, and his money is well-backed from high profile Argentine companies.

The question still rests over his consistency at the highest levels of competition however. Personally I like the guy. Always have. And I think he’s quick, too.

His performances in GP2 might not have been outstanding, but he was saddled with the comparative competitive deadweight of Fairuz Fauzy as his team-mate for both 2005 and 2006. That said, when he was in a good position, all too often he didn’t make the most of it – that ultimate example of losing the win in Germany the one that still stands out as completely unforgivable.

On his day he was bloody fast though, and held the GP2 lap record at Circuit Paul Ricard for a good few years. Considering that the championship conducts about 75% of its testing at the track, the fact that his time stood for so long evidenced just how speedy he could be… when it all came together.

It’s just that it didn’t come together all that often.

Renault however really have marked themselves out for not maximising the talent they had at their disposal through the RDD. They threw away Montagny and haven’t won a championship since dumping him as their development driver. They binned Kovalainen after a season in which Flavio had crushed him. They let Kubica go and have only just got him back. And then there’s Lucas di Grassi, for so long on the RDD books only to be continually overlooked.

So is Lopez another one of the great talents that Renault churlishly let go? Time will tell.

Pechito is a cracking guy, and if he does end up in Formula 1 next season it will be fantastic for him and for the sport. He’ll give it his all, and given the diligence and speed he showed in his F1 testing duties with Renault he could be a great addition.

He’s been out of competitive single-seater action for three seasons though, and one has to question the ultimate sense of USF1 taking such a gamble in its debut season.

But, as i said… time will tell.

gpweek51

The latest issue of GPWeek is online now, bringing you all the news from the worlds of Formula 1, MotoGP and the WRC.

In this week’s issue, Formula 1 hits the limiter as FOTA threatens to breakaway in 2010, new teams get left in limbo… oh yeah, and Sebastian Vettel wins the British GP:

F1 2010 Crisis: Division threatened by FOTA. Mosley under pressure to quit.

FIA Meltdown:
Will Buxton on who he thinks should replace the FIA President

Plus all the news from Silverstone including: USF1 looking seriously at Danica, Rejected teams still on standby, and the latest in a thrilling GP2 season.

MotoGP: All the latest news from Michael Scott including…

New Suzuki for Vermuelen
Dovi on top in testing
An in-depth analysis of one of the greatest last laps ever!

Rally: All the latest from the world of Rally from Martin Holmes

Major changes to come at WMSC?
Rally Poland Preview
IRC Update from Ypres

Click on the blogroll now to check out this week’s issue.