Motorsports Mondial

On the outside looking in

Winning the Official F1 feeder series is no guarantee for entry into ‘Piranha Club.’ Some champions are more equal than others. F1 Weekly looks at some GP2 drivers who may graduate to the top echelon in 2012


Photo. GP2 Media

Romain Grosjean The banker from Geneva is all set to win the GP2 crown this year. Now under new management. i.e. Gravity – free from the chain, chain, chain of Signor Briatore, Grosjean is being groomed by Eric Boullier to take a seat at Renault next year. He could be their main man if Kubica is unable to find his Krakow karma when he gets back in the cockpit of an F1 car.

Grosjean was very quick in his brief karting career, and has been very successful in every series he has raced in.

Photo. GP2 Media

Jules Bianchi Very impressive CV from the moment he started in Formula Renault. Has been under Nicholas Todt management for some years now. Won F3 Euro Series championship in dominating fashion.

Graduated to GP2 last year and did well in the shortened Asian series earlier this race. Much was expected this season in main GP2 series but the spotlight has been stolen by fellow Francaise Romain Grosjean.

Bianchi is part of Ferrari Driver Development programme and as recently as few weeks ago Stefano Domenichelli gave his blessing to Bianchi saying “he has the speed and it’s just a matter of putting the package together.” Rumors are now flying Bianchi may be seen at Williams replacing Rubinho.

Photo. GP2 Media

Sam Bird The 24-year old English chap is bloody quick, won a GP2 race in his maiden season last year, and is currently fifth in the 2011 championship. His previous race winning experience includes Formula BMW, Formula Renault and Formula 3 which includes a third place finish in Macau.

He is with Isport International and was on pole for the Monaco GP2 race but stalled at the start. Has the backing of Mercedes Benz and could be a star of the future.

Nico Hülkenberg Pole position in Sao Paulo in his rookie F1 season did not carry the weight of PDVSA’s petro dollars that came with his replacement at Williams. Hülkenberg made his name in the entry level Formula BMW Germany series where he won the championship in his rookie year. Like Grosjean, “The Hulk” has won every championship he has raced in before reaching the slippery slopes of Formula Uno. The GP 2 championship was won in his first attempt. He is no longer managed by Willi Weber and has been quoted recently saying he will look at all options for 2012 including Indy car racing. Chances are Dr Vijay Mallya may swap one German driver for another at Force India for 2012.

 

— Nasir Hameed

 

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