GP2 announces major changes for 2012

The absolutely huge GP2/3 announcement today has caused me to pause the development of my blog so that I can tell you all about it.

From 2012, GP2 races will feature multiple dry compounds – option and prime – just as Formula One does. Each team will receive three sets of the prime tyre, and one of the option, though one set of primes must be saved for the sprint race. This leaves teams with a dilemna: how best to use the primes and options over the race weekend to maximise their result? GP2 journalist Will Buxton put it fairly succinctly: “Makes quali strategy interesting. Use options for pole or pace in Race 1?” If you use your options to qualify, they probably won’t be much good for the race. But the new points system means teams could choose to qualify on options to get four points for pole. But if they miss out on pole, that’s wasted the tyres. There are also two points available for fastest lap in each race.
Why the massive jump of points for pole and fastest lap? Well, GP2 and GP3 are changing to the F1 system. Race one will have points down to tenth, allocated 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1, while race two (starting from the reversed top-eight as usual) will have points down to eighth, allocated 15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1.

The points system is unlikely to have a massive effect (although I’m interested to know what it would have done to the GP3 championship this year) but the tyres will definitely have an effect. Race strategists at the GP2 teams are going to have a lot more work to do, since they have a new variable to work with. GP2 drivers going into Formula One from next year are going to be incredibly well prepared. No KERS or DRS, but pressing a button is easy. Getting used to completely different tyres is a whole different board game. It’s a bigger step up for GP3 drivers, but if you can manage it then you will get a lot more notice from F1 teams.

As if the 2012 season was not going to be crazy enough with the addition of flyaway races, now it’s going to be epic!

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