For the past three years the GP2 champion has gone straight into F1: Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and, in 2008, Timo Glock. So who will follow them in 2009?
Glock won the 2007 title with iSport, who will field Bruno Senna (nephew of Ayrton Senna) and Karun Chandhok in 2008. But have had a full season in the category already.
Rosberg and Hamilton won the titles with ART, who will run Renault Development Driver Romain Grosjean and Luca Filippi, in his third season of GP2.
On the face of it Filippi must be the favourite for the title as he is the most experienced of the four drivers. But how much this will count for in 2008, when the series will use a brand new chassis, remains to be seen. Filippi tested for Honda this winter.
Grosjean may be new to GP2 but he is not new to ART – he won the Formula Three Euroseries with its sister team ASM (since renamed ART) this year. He wouldn’t be the first driver to have won the F3 title with the team and followed it up with a GP2 title the next year – Lewis Hamilton did it in 2005-6.
ART’s drivers were beaten to this year’s title by iSport’s Timo Glock and the reigning champions have an interesting pair of drivers.
Before his death Ayrton Senna reportedly spoke highly of his nephew Bruno. But Ayrton’s death in 1994 enforced a hiatus in Bruno’s career and as such it’s difficult to say just how good the young driver is. He won one round last year, at Catalunya, but had some seriously off weekends as well.
His Indian team mate Chandhok also took a single win and might well have had two had Kazuki Nakajima not harpooned him out of the lead at Istanbul. He recently tested for Red Bull and his nationality has inevitably linked him to a race seat at Force India.
Of course there are drivers outside the top two teams who could challenge for the title – such as Mike Conway at Trident and Sebastien Buemi at Arden.
Given the roster of drivers who have ascended to F1 via GP2 without winning the title (Heikki Kovalainen, Nelson Piquet Jnr, Scott Speed and Kazuki Nakajima) we will surely soon be talking about one or more of these names in connection with an F1 drive in 2009.
Photo: Drew Gibson / LAT Photographic | GP2 Media Service / Andrew Ferraro
More about these drivers
- Romain Grosjean biography
- Timo Glock biography
- Meet the rookies: Karun Chandhok
- F1’s famous names return
- 2008 F1 drivers & teams