Formula 2 GP2 Championship 2015


Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
So on April 17th in Bahrain the 2015 Championship will start in earnest in its usual format of a feature race on Saturday and a reverse grid sprint race on the Sunday. GP2 is often criticised and dismissed but what can't be denied is that the racing is always entertaining to watch and I don't see any reason why this year will be any different. This years grid will be a mixture of genuine rising talents and those in a last chance saloon career state who are absolutely desperate to catch the eyes of the F1 teams or some big named sponsor. It makes for compelling watching and whilst most of us roll our eyes at some of the wacky races style incidents that happen in the GP2 category we can't help but love watching it.

The biggest criticism GP2 gets is that it is not the feeder series that it promises to be. None of the last 3 GP2 champions have graduated to F1 and those that have graduated from the series aren't always the ones with the best results. On top of that, due to the fact the drivers have to pay for their drives, its not always the most talented drivers that get into the category in the first place. It is a fair criticism but this season might change that round a little bit. The FIA have introduced new restrictions on the super licence which means that drivers have to have a certain level of results to get one. With GP2 being the premier category to earn these results it has attracted a field a hopefuls this year who need the results even more than they did previously.

So who is in the running this year? Well its hard to look past Stoffel Vandoorne as the favourite for the title after such a strong debut year last season. Vandoorne really came on strong at the end of last season and he once again teams up with ART to try and better his runner-up spot last year. The chink in his armour? Well both Vandoorne and ART were not the quickest on strategy last year and lost quite a good results from it. Who will he be up against? Well 3 out of the last 4 GP2 titles have been won by DAMS drivers (the only year they missed out on was when Marcus Ericsson was there number 1) and they really are the team to beat. This year they have 2 rookies in the team. One is a Red Bull junior in Pierre Gasly who did race a couple of races at the end of last year but spent most of 2014 in the WSR 3.5 category where he eventually finished runner-up. Gasly did not actually win a race in 3.5 last year and got his runner-up spot through consistency, something that will serve him well in GP2. The other DAMS driver is a now ex Red Bull Junior and current GP3 champion Alex Lynn. Lynn was massively dominant in GP3 last year and is blindingly fast, which is probably why he has landed the Williams reserve role. Lynn did get himself in a mess on occasion when caught in the pack though so the sprint races will be interesting for him. Anyone else to watch? Well Ferrari junior Raffaele Marciello is back for a second year and can't be discounted. He figured heavily in a lot of the races last year but was very much a victim of bad luck. I don't think we should rule out Kiwi Mitch Evans either. Evans is a former GP3 champion and was set for championship year last year in GP2 but was thrown off before the series in started when the owner of the Russian Time team passed away and the team had to be restructured just before the season started. Evans has always been a front runner and with the experience of GP2 he has behind him could be the dark horse for this years title.

And the rest? Well the notorious Sergey Sirotkin failed to impress in WSR 3.5 and has switched over to GP2 for one more chance of impressing. He is not the only one to do this with Filipino driver Marlon Stockinger and Norman Nato also doing the same thing. Jumping straight up from European F3 is Jordan King flush with Daddy Justin's money and likely to get a Manor F1 seat for 2016 (if not before). King looked pacey at times in F3 but I'll be surprised if he figures in the front running in GP2 on a regular basis. American Alexander Rossi is also back for another go at GP2 probably hoping to land a super licence in order to figure in Haas's F1 plans and Romanian Robert Visoiu steps up from GP3 to see if he can do better in GP2.

I'm looking forward to the GP2 as I always do and whilst I realise there are times when it will make me rol my eyes in despair I also know most of the time it'll have me on the edge of my seat. Anyone else going to be watching?

Teams + Drivers:

DAMS - Pierre Gasly / Alex Lynn

Carlin - Julian Leal / Marco Sorensen

ART - Stoffel Vandoorne / Nobuharu Matsushita

Racing Engineering - Jordan King / Alexander Rossi

Russian Team - Mitch Evans / Artem Markelov

Trident - Raffaele Marciello / Rene Binder

Campos - Arthur Pic / Rio Haryanto

MP Motorsport - TBA / Daniel De Jong

Rapax - Sergey Sirotkin / Robert Visoiu

Arden - Andre Negrao / Norman Nato

Status - Marlon Stockinger / TBA (most likely Richie Stanaway)

Hilmer - Tba /Tba

Lazarus - Nathanael Berthon / Tba
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Didn't McLaren keep Hamilton in GP2 for an extra season to hone his talents? I suspect to see Vandoorne in one of their tail end F1 machines next year replacing either Button or Alonso. Unless this GP2 season is a DISASTER, darling. Maybe him and Magnussen and both the old boys given the boot?
I think the Hamilton story is that he wanted to jump straight into GP2 and Mclaren kept him in F3 for another year because they said he wasn't ready to move up that quickly. I might be wrong though.

I hope Vandoorne gets a shot in F1 as I genuinally believe he is a talent and F1 would be missing out if he doesn't get it. You are only as good as your last race though and as you say FB a bad or average season and his reputation could be shot. I think its called 'doing a Felix Da Costa' - most people had him coming into the Red Bull a-team straight away at the begining of 2013 and by the end of it he was out on his ear and begging for a seat in DTM.

If we're looking for someone who might jump into F1 though then Alex Lynn might be favourite. He has signed as Williams reserve at exactly the right time really. Williams have a rep for bringing their test drivers through and with the likelyhood that Bottas could be poached away or Massa could hang his helmet up to retire then Lynn is very well placed. Driving for DAMS this season will really help his cause too. But again a bad season and thats blown.

I have a bit of a softspot for Marciello too but I'm starting to get the impression Ferrari don't rate him and that Lance Stroll (In European F3 this year) is the favoured son.
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It will be interesting to see how Alex Lynn develops having been overlooked for the STR seat and Williams will keep a close eye on him with a view of promoting him should Massa retire or Bottas leaves you'd think

Alex Rossi has a chance to showcase his abilities after being touted to get into F1 for a while now

Does Jordan King have talent or will his dad just usher him into F1 even if he is at the back of the grid in this year's championship?

Sergey Sirotkin - remember the noises surrounding him about being part of Sauber team despite being only 17 at the time. Nothing has come off it since then?

I think the problem with GP2 has been that it started out as the junior series to be in F1 and for a while it worked with Rosberg, and Hamilton both driving for the top team in F1 now

It has only been at the turn of 2010 where the series has lost its value because it has been overtaken by WSR 3.5 which has gotten more competitive plus you had one champion who had been in the series for 3 years already whilst Valsecchi did not get a look in.

Red Bull started promoting drivers who come through WSE rather than GP2 which started the trend that maybe there is a better avenue to get into F1

Gp2 is facing the issues the old F3000 series use in that it has gone stale or not held in high regard anymore
He doesn't need to be on track. He ran into Sorrensen last year coming out the pit lane at the start of qualifying.
I stand corrected. If I were GP2, I wouldn't dole out a mini-superlicence to him. The sheer number of ridiculous crashes is bonkers! He must have a wallet the size of Andalusia.
Ruined? I thought the feature race was excellent- Vandoirne drive a blinder, as did King and Haryanto. Good to see a GP2 bonehead moment from Nato as well- just not a GP2 race without someone doing something asinine, is it?
I think as they are all nearly always within a second of each other that DRS is pretty much null and void.

Stunning drive from Vandorne today. They made him work for it but he came good.

Alex Lynn had a bit of a nightmare.
I have to admit, I was impressed with the GP2 race - I basically had NBC Sports on all day from when I woke up to when I went to bed, so I caught their broadcast of GP2 just as I was about to head to bed for some last minute writing before I went to sleep. I'm glad I stayed up to watch it, even if it was distracting me from writing. Much more enjoyable than the Indy Lights race I'd caught earlier.
After the GP2 rounds at Monaco I'm going to type words I never thought I would...........................Didn't Sergio Canamasas have a good couple of races?

I think they might as well hand Vandoorne the championship now. No one else has the consistency to get anywhere near him.

Glad to see Stanaway and Status GP get a win so early in both their GP2 careers. Not least because the have one of the best liveries in motorsport.
Cracking gp2 there was action everywhere lost count how many times we had cars 3 wide definitely put previous f1 gp to shame in Canada as theres no way you could call that boring. Vandoorne giving another headache to mclaren because such dominance/talent deserves an f1 drive next yr & lynn another Great drive 9th to 3rd possibly putting him fwd as a candidate if bottas possibly replaces kimi
The sprint race was good too. More of a nail biter to see if Hyanto could hang on.

Don't think anyone can live with Vandoorne this year though!
Yeah what defensive drive from harantyo but yeah vandoorne got this all but in the bag even 2nd & 3rd added together they'd still be 10pts short. I say all but because if I remember rightly colleti had a huge lead til his performance imploded & went from poles & wins to scraping pts but even then he was still mathematically involved in title battle come abu dhabi
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