F2 announced its first driver today with Luciano Bacheta, a British racer of Indian and Italian descent. In 2011, Bacheta began in GP3, taking fifth in the Silverstone feature race having started 24th after a great decision to start on wet tyres. He left GP3 to compete in a part-season of F2, taking top-ten finishes in all his races including a best of fifth in the second race at Monza. He beat Jordan King, who also had four top-ten finishes, by a single point, and only lost out to Thiemo Storz, who was doing a complete season, by the same amount.
Bacheta, who will be driving the number four car, said on Twitter “It’s confirmed, I’m racing F2 this year!!! So happy and excited for the season :-).” (@LucianoBacheta)
Also confirmed today was Johnny Cecotto, Jr., who will be driving for Addax in the 2012 GP2 season. The German-born Venezuelan who is the son of motorbike champion Johnny Cecotto will be entering his third full season in the sport.
Finn Aaro Vainio, meanwhile, continues his GP3 campaign as Lotus confirm he will be partnering Daniel Abt at the team. Vainio picked up 12 points last season, including third in the Barcelona feature race. Though his results were inconsistent, this should improve with the change of team.
Jerez de la Frontera was filled with the sound of GP2 cars today, as they took to the former Grand Prix track for testing. Local team Racing Engineering did themselves proud, with Fabio Leimer topping the timesheets in both the morning and afternoon sessions.
In the morning, he just beat Luca Filippi’s time by nine thousandths of a second. The Italian was driving for Coloni in the morning before handing over to Auto GP under-21 winner (and possibly champion) Kevin Ceccon in the afternoon.
Third in the morning was Britain’s Sam Bird, driving for Rapax, who just beat times from Johnny Cecotto (who caused a red flag late in the morning session) and Fabio Onidi.
In the afternoon, the second-best driver was Dutchman Yelmer Buurman, for AirAsia. Dani Clos was third for Addax, with GP3 champion Valtteri Bottas enjoying the GP2 car as he set the fourth-fastest afternoon time for ART.
Testing isn’t all about times of course. For the teams, it’s a chance to see how well young drivers can do, but it’s also a chance to experiment with different car set-ups that they couldn’t really try during the season. For the young Carlin Racing GP2 team, that was what Max Chilton and Alvaro Parente were up to.
Tomorrow’s lineup can be found on the GP2 website.
Due to a serious blip in my memory, I was without my laptop for several hours and have only just got it back. Hence the reason for these delayed posts.
Davide Rigon – 28
It was set to be a good season for Scuderia Coloni, with Davide Rigon alongside Michael Herck. Italian Davide came from an excellent season in Superleague Formula, winning the series for RSC Anderlecht. Returning to GP2 in 2011 having previously driven for Trident in 2009, he was hoping for a good season. In the feature race at Istanbul he finished 10th.
In the sprint race, Rigon was hit in the final laps of the race on the start/finish straight by Julian Leal. Rigon’s leg suffered multiple fractures, and he was ruled out of action back at the start of May. For the next race in Barcelona, Davide was replaced by Kevin Ceccon. I am sure that Davide is recovering well, and will return to GP2 if not this year, then definitely next season.
Johnny Cecotto, Jr. – 27
The son of former F1 driver and Moto GP champion Johnny Cecotto, the Venezuelan has had a season of mediocre results. He has suffered from a lot of retirements, but typically finishing in the low teens when he has finished. Driving for Ocean Racing alongside Kevin Mirocha, neither have been able to bring any points home.
Best qualifying: 10 (Barcelona and Monaco)
Worst qualifying: 24 (Barcelona)
Best finish: 10 (Nurburgring feature)
Worst finish: 17 (Monaco and Valencia sprints)
Day two of the GP2 tests in Barcelona. Valsecchi again had a great day, with P4 in the morning and P1 in the afternoon (though it was a slower time). With P22 in the morning and P26 in the afternoon, Johnny Cecotto, Jr. had the worst day, though he got plenty of laps in. The reason some drivers set much faster times in one session than another is because they are running race simulations, which have lower speed due to more fuel in the engine.
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|van der Garde