Giorgio Pantano beats Bruno Senna to the GP2 title – but will he reach F1?

Giorgio Pantano has become the fourth GP2 champion in this afternoon’s feature race.

Pantano beat Bruno Senna to win the title which, so far, has been a passport to F1.

But while Senna has been linked to several teams, there has been so sign Pantano is about to return to F1, where he raced briefly in 2004. Does he deserve an F1 seat?

The past three GP2 champions have all gone straight into F1:

2005: Nico Rosberg (Williams)
2006: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2007: Timo Glock (Toyota)

And several other GP2 drivers have made it into F1. Scott Speed (2006), Heikki Kovalaien (2007), Kazuki Nakajima (2007) and Nelson Piquet Jnr (2008).

Pantano started most of the 2004 F1 season for Jordan. That came after several years in F3000, the predecessor to GP2. Since then he has started every GP2 championship and has now started well over 100 races at a level where some drivers only spend one year en route to F1.

So does his GP2 title prove Pantano is F1 material? Or have other drivers like Bruno Senna, Romain Grosjean, Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi impressed in this year’s GP2 field?

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19 comments on Giorgio Pantano beats Bruno Senna to the GP2 title – but will he reach F1?

  1. It will be difficult for Pantano to get an F1 ride, and while no fault of his own, he’s got age working against him as the number one factor. Some of the best talents often take time to develop (see: Damon Hill) but with young stars getting so much attention at an early age, it will be very difficult for anyone of Pantano’s age- regardless of skill level- to get an F1 seat in the forseeable future.

  2. peterg said on 14th September 2008, 7:30

    This years crop of talent may not have had the depth that previous seasons have had.

    Senna is a bit of a contradiction. He did not beat Pantano, who is in many ways a benchmark of how good a drivers is. As a very experienced F3000/GP2 driver who is normally found in the top third of the grid, a young hotshoe should be seen beating him. Rosberg, Heikki, Hamilton, Piquet & Glock all did.

    That being said, with his family name, fan appeal & undoubted ability to raise sponsorship, Senna may well find his way into F1.

    Does he deserve to be there on merit? Probably not, consider Premat the ART teamate of Rosberg & Hamiltion, a race winner & front runner that never got the F1 chance.

  3. Senna needs another year. He’s plenty quick, but erratic. He can make it to F1, though.

    Di Grassi was, IMO, definitely the best and most “F1-ready” driver in GP2 this season. If he’d started the first few races, he would have easily won the championship. He had the best combination of pure speed, poise, and consistency. If I’ve got an open seat next year, he’s in my top-3 drivers I’m looking at to fill it, and that includes F1 drivers. He’s got a bright future.

    Pantano is a consistent driver who can do a good job in a F1 seat, but his upside isn’t great.

    Grosjean’s got the most raw speed of any driver in GP2, but again, he’s very inconsistent and erratic. He needs another year in GP2.

    I actually liked Buemi. He seemed to have good race pace and handled overtaking well. He seemed to me in the races I watched to have good consistency.

    The field generally this year wasn’t tremendously impressive. I think there are plenty of guys who have F1 pace (Senna, Grosjean, etc.) but don’t have the consistency, and there are people like Pantano who have F1 consistency but are limited in their pace upside. The only one who I would put in a F1 car right now without hesitation is Di Grassi.

  4. Pantano’s age is a problem but I think he’s an absolute legend. I reckon he’ll get a drive with the Williams or Toro Rosso team next year. Or if Force India decide not 2 keep sutil that could well be another posibilty.

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