I can believe they’d be that desperate for money, I really, really can. I think a seat at Addax costs more like $5 million now. That prices most drivers out.
I’m not sure people accept this, but the vast, vast majority of driver signings at sub-F1 level are based almost entirely on cash. Even Lotus ART are running two guys with huge funding behind them. If Calado didn’t have his RSF money he wouldn’t be there, simple as that; ditto Guttierez with Telmex. I’m sure they rate them, but they’d drop both in a heartbeat if the money dried up. If you don’t have the money don’t even bother applying.
Grosjean at DAMS last year was a very rare exception: they found the money to run him. He won the title because he’s a genuine talent who was up against a load of decent, but not stellar, well-funded drivers. And now DAMS have followed it up by taking on a decent, well-funded driver themselves.
Ultimately these teams exists to survive first and succeed second. For God’s sake Rodolfo Gonzalez has been in this series for two seasons! There is no talent there, it’s blatantly obvious, but he gets drives because he pays his bills on time, and that’s what teams need. Arden are running Trummer, who was like 18th in GP3 last year. Do they seriously rate him, or do they just trust that he’ll have the money in their account when requested?
It’s often a joke amongst mechanics within junior series teams how bad the guys they run are. They know it, but at the end of the day they want to keep their jobs. Running someone super fast is great, but it’s bugger all use if you have to jack the season in after a few rounds because the team’s gone bust.
What irks me is that the series allows drivers like Palmer and Cecotto coming off the back of awful, awful campaigns, to move to top teams. It’s a bit of a joke really, rewarding poor performances. And the GP2 PR machine drones out about their potential and acts as if these deals are done on talent. I think Addax would be running Roberto Mehri given the choice. I’d settle for them running Daniel Juncadella, though even he is ABSOLUTELY MNTED with Middle-Eastern oil money.
Anyway, GP2′s not broken, but it can’t go on like this whilst retaining any credibility.