One to watch: Lucas di Grassi

One To Watch

Lucas di Grassi, GP2, Hungaroring, 2007 | Alastair Staley / GP2 Media ServiceAyrton Senna, Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa… could Lucas di Grassi be the next Sao Paulo native to make it into Formula 1?

Di Grassi is currently battling four times F1 starter and BMW test driver Timo Glock for the GP2 championship. He races for Lewis Hamilton’s old team, and has the backing of Renault’s Driver Development programme, which has already given him his first F1 test.

Today sees the beginning of new series looking at the drivers aiming to make it into F1.

Di Grassi did a few races in Formula Renault before stepping up to Sud-Am F3 aged 18. His season ended when he crashed heavily at Curitiba and, not having any insurance, couldn’t afford to continue. Nonetheless he still ended the season second behind Danilo Dirani.

He tested for Hitech at the end of 2003 and the Renault Driver Development programme placed him with the team in British F3 for 2004. But he struggled with Renault’s Sodemo engine and ended the year eighth with two wins at Thruston – the only victories all year for the Renault power plant.

Renault moved him to the F3 Euroseries with Manor for 2005, but early in the year he suffered a huge crash with Giedo van der Garde. He finished the season third behind the dominant ASM cars of Hamilton and Adrian Sutil. Di Grassi triumphed the prestigious end-of-season race at Macau, beating Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel, but Hamilton was not at the race.

In 2006 he joined the Durango team in GP2 and scored eight points. But for 2007 he bagged a coveted drive with ART – champions with Nico Rosberg in 2005 and Lewis Hamilton in 2006.

After 13 of 21 rounds he is one point behind championship leader Timo Glock, who has had an unusual number of mechanical failures for a one-make series such as GP2. Consistency has been the name of di Grassi’s game – he’s scored points in all but one race.

It could still be enough to give him the GP2 title – and both the previous GP2 champions have stepped straight into F1. Could di Grassi, who so far hasn’t won a championship in any racing category, be next?

Photo: Alastair Staley / GP2 Media Service

Read more about Lucas di Grassi: Lucas di Grassi biography

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4 comments on One to watch: Lucas di Grassi

  1. M Smith said on 13th August 2007, 9:10

    His GP2 performance shows what he is capable of, despite Glock’s retirements. Consistency is a very valuble asset nowadays. But the lack of results in the previous series would have people think twice about it.

  2. it is said to see how little commentator interest this post created so far … this new series is a great idea. F1 feeder series do not unfortunatelly attract as much interest as they should, then people end up shocked when a guy like Lewis Hamilton pops up “out of nowhere” :-)

  3. Daniel said on 6th September 2007, 2:29

    It’s quite a late comment, especially because this post was written before Istanbul, where Di Grassi won his first race in GP2 series, which he was desperately needing… but you were right, consistence is the point, and the proof is, with a victory at the feature race, but without points at the sprint, Di Grassi left Istanbul farther from Glock than he was when they arrived, despite briefly taking the lead between the two races.
    Anyway, if Di Grassi wins the title, it’ll speak louder then his shy results in the lower formulae.

  4. leo said on 28th May 2009, 15:28

    Iam sure BRAWN is looking at few drivers,lucas,Bruno,etc;
    The Way It Looks Right Now,Rubens is Getting it Done.
    Having sad that,will he be up to it for 2010 !!!

    LEO

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