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Category: GP2

Alexander RossiCaterham F1 Team and Caterham Racing have confirmed Alexander Rossi for 2014.

Alexander Rossi renews his GP2 challenge with Caterham Racing after finishing the 2013 season as best rookie, he will start the new season as a serious championship contender. He will combine his GP2 commitments with another year as a Reserve Driver for Caterham F1 Team at all non-GP2 race weekends, continuing his development towards an ultimate race drive in Formula One.

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal and CEO, Caterham F1 Team: “In GP2 we want to be competing for race wins and titles from the first race. Alexander showed last year that he’s ready to make a push for the championship, and we’re continuing his F1 development in 2014 by combining his GP2 commitments with another year as an F1 team Reserve Driver. I firmly believe he has the talent to achieve the ambitious targets we are setting him and I’m excited about seeing him fulfil his potential in GP2 this year. We are excited about adding more to Caterham Racing’s already crowded trophy cabinet and use that as a benchmark for the F1 team!”

Alexander Rossi: “I am pleased to be back with EQ8 Caterham Racing for 2014 fighting for a GP2 Championship. My 2013 program had some changes which meant I missed the pre-season tests and a couple of the early GP2 races, however, throughout the season the team and I made some big progress and by Abu Dhabi we were definitely one of the cars to beat. This continued in the post-season tests and I’m quite confident about the pace in 2014.

“As returning Caterham F1 Team Reserve Driver my duties will continue with F1 outings, simulator driver and on track Reserve for non-GP2 weekends. This is the perfect development for my future F1 race drive as I play an important role in assisting the team develop its 2014 car, something that will be particularly important this year with the current technical changes.

“I have to thank everyone involved at Caterham and Team Rossi for making this happen. We have a fantastic chance to win the GP2 title in 2014, while the F1 team achieves its goals of moving forward. This is an important era for all of us, as the sport enters a new generation. What a great way to start 2014!”

Mia Sharizman, EQ8 Caterham Racing Team PrincipaI: “I am delighted to announce that Alexander will continue with us into 2014. This announcement also means that we can focus on our 2014 preparations much earlier than we have been able to in previous years. Our team has undergone a number of changes since the end of the 2013 season which we believe gives us the capability to have our best season to date, and to build on our previous Championship results.”

“Our plan for Alexander in 2014 is part of a two year GP2 programme. After finishing 2013 as top rookie it is now time for him to mount a challenge for the Championship, and with the experience he has gained and the increased support he will have in 2014, I believe that the Championship is a realistic target.”

Julián Leal will race for British team Carlin in the 2014 GP2 Series. The 23 year-old Colombian will join the squad that finished second in last year’s teams’ championship following a strong season with a total of nine podiums.

Leal had a competitive season in 2013, taking two podium finishes and two fastest laps. The Colombian will now switch to Carlin, making his debut with the British team at the first official test in Abu Dhabi in March.

Leal brings to Carlin a wealth of experience, having competed in the GP2 Series in 2012 and 2011. Previous to that the Colombian was a race winner in Auto GP and raced in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Leal was also the 2008 F3000 Italy champion.

“I’m delighted to be racing with Carlin this season”, said Leal. “The team were very impressive last year and have a great reputation. The GP2 Series remains the championship to be in, with another fantastic calendar on the F1 support package. I want to thank my family and sponsors for their continued support in my career. Together with Carlin I think we can have a very strong season and I can’t wait to get in the car in Abu Dhabi.”

Speaking about the team’s newest driver, Trevor Carlin said, “We’re delighted that Julián is joining our GP2 team for the 2014 season. He is a very experienced driver and will bring a lot to the team. We can’t wait to get back on track in March and build on the fantastic progress we made in 2013.”

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs brought his GP2 Series campaign to a close with two strong drives through the field in the final rounds in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Storming through from a pit lane start to finish 11th in race one, a return to race pace in race two netted the sixth fastest lap, but broken rear suspension brought his charge to an end just three laps from home.

Undertaking an intensive simulator programme in the six-week break since the last round in Singapore, Quaife-Hobbs arrived at the track for the first time on Monday and was optimistic of rounding out his first GP2 season with a repeat of the form that secured podium finishes in Monaco and Spa, and a maiden series win in Monza.

A brake issue on his 600bhp, four-litre V8 Mecachrome Dallara in free practice on Friday failed to dampen his enthusiasm and confidence ahead of qualifying later that evening, and with new brakes fitted to his Hilmer Motorsport car he headed into the session aiming for a good result. On his second run on new tyres, he flew through the first and second sectors, and was on for a strong grid position until a red flag on the final sector slowed his progress and dropped him down the order.

Despite that the 22 year-old took to the grid for the weekend’s opening race in 17th, determined to put his qualifying disappointment behind him. At the lights a rare mistake from the Briton left him stranded on the grid, and with a second formation lap required was forced to start from the pit lane.

A tremendous charge through the field over the course of the 29 laps, allowed the 2012 AutoGP World Series Champion to carve his way through, and salvage 11th at the flag, to set him up for a potential top ten finish in Sunday morning’s final race of the season.

A superb getaway saw the GP2 rookie gain five places on the run into turn one, entering the corner in sixth place. However the stricken car of Johnny Cecotto ahead required quick-thinking avoidance techniques by the BRDC Superstar, but in the process Quaife-Hobbs hit another car, damaging his front wing and steering.

By mid distance, Quaife-Hobbs has recovered several places and was embroiled in a battle for 15th with Rio Haryanto, his former GP3 rival proving somewhat difficult to pass despite Quaife-Hobbs’ determined efforts. Eventually finding a way past the slower car, Quaife-Hobbs set off after the cars ahead, catching and passing Jake Rozenzweig for 11th on lap 17.

With just three laps remaining Quaife-Hobbs suddenly suffered rear suspension failure, a display of superb car control allowed him to safely pull off the track and into retirement, but brought his hopes of a top ten finish firmly to an end.

“It was a rather frustrating weekend in Abu Dhabi, we had a small brake issue in practice, and in qualifying my fastest lap was destroyed by the red flag, however the car was fast all weekend and I’ve had great fun with Hilmer Motorsport this year,” said Quaife-Hobbs.

“I stalled on the grid in race one, but fought my way back to 11th, and in the second, I had a great start and was up to sixth but had to take avoiding action into turn one, hitting another car which broke my front wing and bent the steering and dropped me to 16th.

“I managed to get back up to 11th but my rear upright broke three laps from home, race over! It’s not the way I wanted to end my first season in GP2, as we had some really solid results during the year, and it would have been nice to finish on a high.”

For more information visit www.quaifehobbs.com and follow the latest news and live timings on www.gp2series.com.

Sandy StuvikThe European Formula 3 Open championship leader Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik from Thailand has confirmed that he has signed a contract with the Italian Rapax Team to test a GP2 formula car in Abu Dhabi, on 5th and 6th of November, following the Emirati Formula 1 round at the Yas Marina Circuit. The GP2 test will be held together with the yearly Formula 1 Young Driver test.

The GP2 series Dallara formula car produces 612 HP from a 4 liter V8 engine and is only marginally slower than a Formula 1 car. Consequently the GP2 series is considered one of the main learning series for drivers going to Formula 1. The Thai driver tested last week in Dallara’s simulator in Parma, Italy and was put through numerous aerodynamic scenarios and settings to familiarize himself with the car. Both the team and Stuvik were very encouraged by the initial tests.

Although, the GP2 series car will be a big step up from his current Formula 3 machine, Stuvik himself feels ready graduating after almost 10 years of karting and 4 years of progressing up the ranks of formula cars in Europe. The GP2 cars are capable of reaching over 330 km/h and only Formula 1 and Indy cars go faster, however, Stuvik is not faced by the raw power or speed of the car, but believes his biggest challenge will be in mastering the enormous braking capability, similar to that of Formula 1.

Stuvik himself said; ”I have been training hard together with several established GP2 drivers this whole year to ensure that I will be physically and mentally fit to handle the car and to take it to its maximum potential. We learnt tremendously much this year from RP Motorsport, about racing to the maximum and this is something we want to build further on as we move towards Formula 1. I am very happy to test with the Italian team Rapax in Abu Dhabi and since I train in Italy now, it is very easy to work with them. I am also very grateful to my sponsors The Pizza Company, Singha and Dacon who believe in me and have given me this opportunity.”

Stuvik is currently working with a number of Thai global corporations, such as The Pizza Company and Singha and Dacon Inspection Services to achieve funding for a 2 year program aimed towards competing in a Formula 1 feeder series, with the clear aim at ultimately racing in Formula 1. The GP2 series is one such series, racing alongside Formula 1, providing worldwide TV coverage for the sponsors.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs suffered mixed emotions in the sixth round of the 2013 GP2 Series at the Nurburgring this weekend. Arriving at the track, located in the Eifel mountains of Germany buoyed by a recent strong form, the BRDC Superstar headed into the event looking for a good result to boost his championship bid.

A strong pace by the reigning AutoGP World Series Champion netted the 11th fastest time in free practice, the 22 year-old happy with his pace and confident ahead of qualifying later that day. Taking to the track for qualifying Quaife-Hobbs was immediately on the pace posting the sixth fastest time on his first set of tyres. On his cool down lap, an ever-improving performance saw him already up in the first sector, but as he headed for his second flying lap, he caught traffic, dropping him to seventh.

Lining up on the inside of row four for Saturday’s opening counter, disaster struck with a rare error which caused him to stall at the lights. Before he could get away, the car of Kevin Ceccon, already engaged in a barrel roll after a collision with another car, ploughed into the back of the stricken MP Motorsport car, ruling Quaife-Hobbs out of contention.

Although himself uninjured, his car required extensive repairs ahead of Sunday’s sprint race, the team working into the night to fix the right rear corner and replace damaged bodywork.

Starting the race this morning from the back of the grid, Quaife-Hobbs knew it would be a tough challenge to make any headway to the front, however he also knew he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. At the lights Quaife-Hobbs made a good start to gain five places, however brake and steering problems as a result of his first race accident, prevented him from capitalising on his true potential, eventually place 16th at the flag.

“Overall there are a lot of positives to take from the weekend,” said Quaife-Hobbs. “We had great pace in both practice and qualifying, but unfortunately I caught a lot of cars on my quick lap, without which I’m sure could have netted the third fastest time. However I lost the advantage I had with the traffic, but we’ve proved once again we are able to fight for the top spot.

“Race one was naturally disappointing. I made a rare error at the lights and stalled, and once I was hit up the back, there was too much damage to continue. Thankfully we both managed to get out uninjured, however my car was pretty badly damaged too.

“In the second race the car didn’t handle as well as it should, mainly the braking and steering, which prevented me from capitalising on my good start. I made up around five places, but the problems, which although weren’t detrimental to safety, nevertheless affected the performance.”
Quaife-Hobbs now enjoys a three-week break ahead of the next round of the GP2 Series at the Hungaroring, Budapest on 27&28 July, where he aims to put his knowledge of the track to good use in his bid for maiden GP2 victory.

For more information visit www.quaifehobbs.com and follow the latest news and live timings on www.gp2series.com.

Felipe NasrCarlin’s GP2 Series team have taken back the lead of the Team’s Championship this morning following a strong fourth position finish from Felipe Nasr. Starting ninth on the grid Nasr maintained his tyres well and was chasing hard for a podium position however the quick Brazilian took the flag in fourth ensuring he came away with more valuable points. A difficult race for Jolyon Palmer yesterday meant that another day of hard overtaking ensued. Battling up from 24th the British racer came home to finish in 11th.

Another fine day of racing greeted the GP2 drivers this morning as the team looked to take the lead back in the Championship. As the lights went out, marking the start of the Sprint Race, Nasr had moved his Carlin car up to fifth position before being pushed wide and falling back to eighth; while Palmer was already up to 20th by the end of the first lap.

Palmer’s progress would continue as he gained places to those around; up to 16th over the next few laps his race then became a steadier affair as the pace settled and the difficulties of overtaking around this track became apparent.

However contact between Daniel De Jong and Stephane Richelmi, leaving the latters’ car stranded on track and facing the wrong way, brought out a safety car; neutralising the field. At the restart both Nasr and Palmer held their positions however this gave Nasr the opportunity to begin to apply pressure on Sam Bird just ahead – with both drivers also making their way past Johnny Cecotto. Meanwhile Palmer was still battling hard for position in the mid-field.

Continuing to put heavy pressure on Bird ahead, and helped by a slow Marcus Ericsson, Nasr was fighting hard and would soon make his way through and up to fifth. Taking no time at all, Nasr then snatched position from Ericsson in the next lap.

Palmer’s campaign was then helped slightly by incidents around him and the British driver came home just outside the top ten in 11th – once again showing his aptitude for gaining positions. With Nasr coming home to take points for fourth position, Carlin retake the lead in the Team’s Championship holding four points over second placed Russian Time.

Reflecting on his race Nasr said, ‘It’s good to get the points and to know that the car is on the pace. I had a good start and was up to fifth but was pushed off track and ended up eighth. But we had the pace in the car to fight for position which was nice. The points for fourth mean we keep the championship open and we will continue to fight in Budapest next time out.’

Photo by Glenn Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs left his home GP2 Series event at Silverstone this weekend encouraged by a pace that saw him equal the times of his rivals in both qualifying and the races. Although unable to repeat his fine podium form of Monaco, the 22 year-old salvaged two strong results, after tricky conditions at the Northamptonshire track cost him a possible top six grid slot.

In qualifying on Friday, the Tonbridge racer was comfortably in the top six on his first flying lap, but traffic and yellow flags on his second two laps, together with drizzle at the midway point, prevented him from capitalising on the MP Motorsport 600bhp, four-litre V8 Mecachrome Dallara’s speed, dropping him down the order.

In Saturday’s opening 29 lap race, Quaife-Hobbs made a good start gaining several places at the lights, but had to avoid a stalled car ahead which lost him momentum, and dropped him to last. Over the course of the opening laps, Quaife-Hobbs managed to claw back the gap to championship leader Stefano Coletti.

As the pit stop window opened, it become evident that radio communication with the team was not working, costing the BRDC Superstar two laps until he was called in for his compulsory tyre stop, via pit board. Although a minor technical issue, it nevertheless cost the reigning AutoGP World Series champion eight seconds, and with it a possible eighth place and the reverse grid pole for race two.

After his stop, Quaife-Hobbs was consistently lapping among the leaders, netting the third fastest race time, but was unable to make any headway into the final points finishing position.

Lining up tenth for Sunday’s second race a clutch problem suffered on the warm-up lap prevented Quaife-Hobbs from utilising the medium tyres to their advantage, when the lights went out. A sterling effort by the Briton however allowed him to enjoy several battles during the 19 laps, including a strong challenge on Coletti at the mid-way point, before finishing 11th.

“It’s a little disappointing not to get a better result at my home race, however we have to focus on the positives from the weekend, which is that we had great pace in both races and the qualifying session,” said Quaife-Hobbs.

“It’s just a shame we weren’t able to capitalise on that pace and get a good grid position for the opening race as I’m sure we could have converted that into a strong result if we’d started higher up the grid.

“But looking ahead to Germany, we need to keep the momentum going forwards, we’re able to match the pace of the leaders, so we need to ensure we get a better start position in race one to pull it all together.

“I’m looking forward to racing at the Nurburgring, I haven’t raced there for a while, so it will be good to get back to one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar and bring home some good results.”

Quaife-Hobbs returns to race action next weekend at the Nurburgring, Germany where he aims to keep the momentum going in his bid for his maiden GP2 victory.

For more information visit www.quaifehobbs.com and follow the latest news and live timings on www.gp2series.com.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs bounced back from a disastrous qualifying to net his maiden GP2 Series podium with second place in Monaco on Saturday.

Marking his first ever visit to the Principality, the 22 year-old spent much of practice and qualifying learning the track layout and trying to sort the problems that beset him last time out in Spain. Armed with an MP Motorsport 600bhp, four-litre V8 Mecachrome Dallara, Quaife-Hobbs was however disappointed to end up 26th, with his team-mate Daniel De Jong alongside.

Lining up at the back of the field for the opening race, the reigning AutoGP World Series Champion successfully negotiated his way around a multiple first corner crash, which claimed almost half the 26-car grid. With a controlled drive, the BRDC Superstar kept his cool to move up to eighth before the race was red flagged to remove the stricken cars.

At the restart held under the safety car, Quaife-Hobbs quickly showed the form that netted him his dominant championship title last season. A solid first half allowed him to hold eighth, although he was relegated to ninth during the compulsory pit stop.

Rejoining the track behind Stephane Richelmi, the Briton closed down the gap over the remaining laps, and began to apply pressure to the eighth placed driver. On the final lap, he found a way past with a superb move at Ste Devote.

Starting race two from pole position and with spots of rain falling, Quaife-Hobbs made a flying start and held first position for three laps, but with his front tyres not yet fully up to temperature was forced to brake earlier in the opening laps. Initially keeping Coletti behind, he was however forced to concede the place when Coletti made a do or die move at the chicane allow.

Wisely Quaife-Hobbs elected not to fight for the position, and instead waited for his tyres to come up to temperature before mounting a serious attack. In a yo-yo situation, the gap continually fluctuating, he began his push for the lead with eight laps remaining.

However on a track notoriously difficult to pass on, and with his maiden podium in sight, he eventually decided to accept second place at undoubtedly the highlight event of the year, to notch up his first podium in the series and add further to the points tally opened in Bahrain.

The GP2 Series next heads to Silverstone on 28th to 30th June for the British Grand Prix event, which marks Quaife-Hobbs’ only UK appearance of the season.

“I had a great start. I was quite surprised when I looked into my mirrors to see how big a lead I had going up the hill. But there was a little bit of rain and I focused on warming the rear tyres and I think I did not put quite enough heat in the fronts because I just under steered in the Casino and everyone caught me up. Then going through the next laps I was really trying hard to pull a gap and I did manage a small one under the back straight with Stefano. Then he got in my slipstream. I thought he was a bit too far back to have a go. I braked late and I locked up. I looked into my mirror and Stefano was just there just coming straight down the inside. I tried to release the brake to get back ahead, but there was nothing I could do. He was pretty committed to that move. I think if I tried to defend we would not have made the corner. There was no point in trying. I settled down and followed him hoping I would be able to attack him towards the end of the race”.

“I am delighted to get my first podium, which after the disaster in qualifying, is a great result. We proved yet again that we have the race pace, now we must focus on sorting the issues we’re having in qualifying. I cannot believe the turn around. To come from the very last spot on the grid for race one, to take my first podium finish is a great result. Having half the field go out in race one was naturally a big help, I don’t think I’ve ever made up 13 places in one lap before!”

“It’s now four weeks until the next round, and we need to look into improving our qualifying form so that we’re not playing catch-up in the races.”

For more information visit www.quaifehobbs.com
and follow the latest news and live timings on www.gp2series.com

Adrian Quaife-HobbsFirst year GP2 Series team MP Motorsport celebrated its maiden podium in the FIA Formula One World Championship support category during round eight in Monaco on Saturday, 25th May, with Adrian Quaife-Hobbs racing to a famous second place on the streets of the Principality.

Off the back of an incredible top eight result during a dramatic and incident packed seventh round on Friday, 24th May, Quaife-Hobbs made the most of his ‘reverse grid’ pole position for the Sprint Race to scorch away from the line and lead for the first couple of laps.

Although having to succumb to the challenge of championship leader Stefano Coletti at the exit of the tunnel on the third tour, Quaife-Hobbs didn’t put a wheel wrong thereafter and saw off the ever present threat of Mitch Evans and Felipe Nasr to the chequered flag on lap 30.

Not only taking his and the team’s first podium in GP2 at the calendar’s crown jewel event, the result has enabled Quaife-Hobbs to rocket up the championship standings from 17th position, prior to the weekend, into 11th place.

“It’s amazing”, said an elated Quaife-Hobbs after race two, “Obviously we were helped a little bit [in race one] with the crash at Turn One, but I was still fast and I overtook [Stephane] Richelmi on the last lap to get the pole for race two which completely turned my weekend around. This podium is a great reward for the team and how hard they’ve worked.”

Capping two very strong races for MP Motorsport, team-mate Daniël De Jong claimed his first point of the 2013 campaign with 10th place in round seven – a fantastic achievement considering he had to battle back from a drive-through penalty – before adding ninth place in round eight.

Like Quaife-Hobbs, De Jong was able to avoid the chaos in Friday’s race to post an impressively strong result and he converted his fifth row grid slot for round eight into his second top 10 finish of the weekend. Frustratingly, the Dutchman was a mere 0.6 seconds shy of a top eight points result in race two after an impressively competitive drive.

“It’s really great to score my first point of the season in GP2”, said De Jong, “Race one was pretty crazy at the start but we managed to come through OK without getting any damage. It was disappointing to get the penalty but the car was good so I could do some good lap times and take a good finish. We were really close to scoring again in race two, overtaking was impossible though.”

Quaife-Hobbs and De Jong impress on streets of Monte-Carlo
At the start of Friday’s race, chaos reigned almost immediately with a multi-car tangle at the first corner, Ste Devote, resulted in a red flag stoppage. Quaife-Hobbs managed to expertly thread his way through past the stricken cars into eighth position while De Jong just managed to squeeze through the middle of two collisions to emerge in ninth place.

Following a lengthy delay, the race was re-started behind the Safety Car in the order at the time of the stoppage. Running in eighth and ninth, Quaife-Hobbs and De Jong circulated in that order until the former took his mandatory pit-stop at the end of the 10th tour – from which he emerged in 11th place, ahead of Jon Lancaster who had been holding his compatriot up during the early stages.

While the majority of front-runners stopped during the next few laps, De Jong remained on track until the end of the 15th tour when he pitted from second place. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, a problem with the rear jack cost him significant time and the frustration was compounded when he was given a drive-through penalty for straying over the yellow line when exiting the pits.

Despite that, De Jong produced a determined drive to claw his way back into contention for the top 10 from 16th place. Swarming all over the back of Tom Dillmann’s car into the last couple of laps, De Jong sliced past on the final tour to brilliantly secure his first championship point of the season.

Quaife-Hobbs, meanwhile, was up into ninth place when De Jong pitted and spent lap after lap bottled up behind the clearly slower Stephane Richelmi. With the ‘reverse grid’ pole position there for the taking, the MP Motorsport driver threw everything he could at trying to find a way by.

Absolutely glued to Richelmi’s car during the closing stages, Quaife-Hobbs managed to make the breakthrough at the end of the penultimate tour to edge ahead into eighth position – importantly sealing the coveted pole spot for Saturday’s race.

With light rain in the air ahead of round eight, there was some uncertainty as to whether the race would be affected but the precipitation didn’t worsen so the entire 30 lap encounter took place on slick tyres.

Quaife-Hobbs launched away from the line well to maintain his place at the front and he scorched into a strong early lead from points leader Coletti. Although quickly coming under pressure from the Monegasque driver, the MP Motorsport racer looked assured but Coletti benefited from a great run through the tunnel on lap three to shoot past on the inside into the Nouvelle Chicane.

Although Coletti initially pulled well clear as Quaife-Hobbs had to focus on the pressure from Mitch Evans behind, the Briton did close back in to the leader midway through but the order remained unchanged to the finish.

De Jong, meanwhile, maintained 10th position off the start and shadowed Richelmi lap after lap as a big train of cars built up behind the Monaco native. By lap 13, the group had caught eighth placed Sam Bird and three laps later Richelmi and De Jong made their way past. Running in ninth, De Jong initially lost some ground to his rival but closed back in to finish a mere 0.6 seconds shy at the flag.

“It really has been an intensive weekend for the team, everyone worked so hard to improve the car after qualifying but to take our first podium with Adrian is much more than we expected”, said team principal Sander Dorsman.

“Adrian and Daniël both did a really great job in the races, it’s great for them both to have scored points this weekend. Being on the podium in Monaco is really special. We now focus on the next round at Silverstone at the end of next month. Being a new GP2 team we are still learning and improving and we are sure we can perform stronger in Silverstone.”

Rounds nine and 10 of the 2013 GP2 Series will take place at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in the UK on 29th/30th June, running as support to the British Grand Prix.

2013 GP2 Series Driver Standings (after Rd8):
11th Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, 23pts; 23rd Daniël De Jong, 1pt

2013 GP2 Series Team Standings (after Rd8):
10th MP Motorsport, 24pts

Photo by Paolo Pellegrini / Web-Agency Motorsport Images

Alexander RossiAlexander Rossi made an impressive start to his GP2 campaign with Caterham Racing, finishing the Bahrain GP2 feature race in third position, scoring 15 points and taking seventh in the Drivers’ Championship.

Caterham Racing Team Manager Phill Spencer: “I am absolutely delighted with today’s result. These are the first points for the team this season and we are very pleased to have Alexander back in the car. Third place in his first race is a great boost for everyone in the team.

“With Alexander starting 6th and Sergio 20th for Sunday’s sprint race there is no reason why we should not score more points.”

Caterham Racing Chief Engineer Humphrey Corbett: “I am chuffed for Alexander and all of the team, especially James who engineers his car and who did a great job today with a driver who clearly has great promise. All in all this has been the best day for Caterham Racing by a long way this season and we are just so pleased for Alexander – the comeback kid!

Alexander Rossi: “Today was a great result for my GP2 series debut and Caterham Racing. I could not have asked for more than a podium and now we can build on that for tomorrow’s race and the remainder of the season.

“I grabbed two places on the first lap, running fifth up to the pit stop. The guys did a great job and I rejoined the track third on the road, balancing not to push too hard while looking after the tyres to the end of the race. Nasr was closing fast behind me at the end, but I had enough to hold him off and keep him behind me.

“It was obviously not ideal to miss winter testing and the first round of the Championship, however I’ve made very few changes to the car all weekend. James my engineer gave me a great baseline and racecar, which I capitalised on today. It’s important for me to build on this and I want to thank Tony Fernandes, Cyril Abiteboul and Caterham Racing Team Principal Mia Sharizman for having faith in me and giving me the chance to show what I can do.”

“Caterham Racing is a great team and I feel very comfortable with all the guys. Tomorrow will be calmer for me and starting fifth on the grid I can go out, enjoy the race and hopefully get on the podium again.”

The GP2 sprint race in Bahrain started at 1050 local time and did not disappoint, providing a constant stream of overtaking and wheel to wheel racing for the crowd.

Alexander made a good start from the third row of the grid following his podium in the Saturday feature race but it was three abreast into the first corner and a tap to the rear turned him around forcing oncoming traffic to make contact with his front wing. He made it back to the pits where a new nose was fitted and the suspension was checked. Rejoining the race in last place he put in some stunning lap times, catching and overtaking two cars at the back of the pack and finishing 20th..

Team Principal Mia Sharizman “Overall I am happy with the race weekend here in Bahrain and we have made many improvements and gains since the first race in Malaysia. It looks like we have turned a corner and all credit to the boys for their great work this weekend. It is never easy for the engineers or mechanics to have a new driver stepping into the car just a few days before a race weekend but Alexander and James have worked very well together.

“We now move on from Bahrain in the knowledge that we have a good baseline for the car and we hope to repeat our good form in Barcelona. There is a long season ahead and now we have moved up in the Championship standings we look onwards and upwards.”

Team Manager Phill Spencer: “I am disappointed for Alexander today but the team did a great job to get him back out on track after checking the car and changing the nose. After his stop he was consistently one of the fastest cars on track and I feel confident that with better fortune we could have won the race.

Caterham Racing Chief Engineer Humphrey Corbett: “We have mixed emotions following today’s race and we find ourselves thinking what could have been. Both drivers made very good starts but when Alex got tagged at the first corner and had to change his nose it was race over. After the pit stop he pushed hard and was flying, lapping quicker than the leaders and if it were not for the incident he looked good for another podium.

Alexander Rossi “My start was very good, I managed to overtake the row in front of me. Into turn one I went to the outside to brake on the racing line and was hit from behind. This put me sideways and another car drove over my front wing. I had to pit for a nose change, which pretty much put an end to my race.

“I made the decision to treat the remainder of the race as a test with the main aim to understand how the tyres work in these conditions, which turned out to be very positive. My tyre degradation was low and I was able to maintain a quick pace throughout the 25 laps.

“Going to Barcelona I think we have a very good race car. We’ll make small improvements to our qualifying car and after this weekend I have a better understanding of the tyres. There is no reason why we can’t go for a win in Barcelona.

“My GP2 Championship debut has been very positive, the team have done a fantastic job throughout and I would like to thank all of the guys for their hard work.”