Looking at the GP2 grid for this year, I can’t help but think that the series is really losing its edge. It’s very expensive, so there are a lot of pay drivers, and I feel that only a few of them really have more potential than money. But looking at the GP3 grid, there’s a few potentially-good drivers in the ranks (assuming anyone can hold a candle to ART). This is the grid so far for 2012:
Lotus ART – Daniel Abt, Aaro Vanio, TBA
MW Arden – David Fumanelli, Mitch Evans, Matias Laine
Marussia Manor – Dmitry Suranovich, Fabiano Machado, TBA
RSC Mucke – TBA, TBA, TBA
Status – Marlon Stockinger, TBA, TBA
Tech 1 – TBA, TBA, TBA
Jenzer – Robert Visiou, TBA, TBA
Trident – TBA, TBA, TBA
Carlin – Alex Brundle, TBA, TBA
ATECH CRS – Ethan Ringel, TBA, TBA
Trident replaces Addax, who withdrew to focus on GP2. The series is also considering rule changes that would allow teams to run two cars with a third as an option.
I’m excited to see what Visoiu can do in the GP3 car- he was impressive in Formula Abarth and displayed the potential to become Romania’s first F1 driver. It is worth noting that he will also compete in the Italian F3 series in 2012 with Team Ghinzani. His team-mates at Jenzer will probably be selected out of a pool of Italian F3/Formula Abarth drivers, including Patric Niederhauser, Michael Hêche, Brandon Maïsano, and Raffaele Marciello.
Marussia have an interesting line up- Machado’s almost ten years older than Suranovich. I’m curious to see how fast Machado really is; he didn’t have too much competition in F3 Sudamericana. Meanwhile, Suranovich is quite inexperienced, but he did demonstrate some talent in New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series. The third Marussia driver will probably be Colombian-American Gabby Chaves, by my estimation.
ART has a strong line-up: Aaro Vainio, who us managed by Nicolas Todt, will be a likely candidate for the 2012 title- he was tremendously quick yet a bit unfortunate in 2011. Daniel Abt failed to impress me in the F3 Euroseries but he’s been topping the leaderboard at GP3 testing. Conor Daly for their third driver?
Mitch Evans should be a force. Fumanelli was very quick over the second half of the F3 Open season. Tio Elinas is in at Manor and he’s absolutely mint.
I would back Evans at the minute, but then I backed Nico Muller last season! Not sure ART have the drivers for it: Abt looks decent but nothing special, Vainio was so-so last year and ditto Daly.
I’d like to see Will Buller get a seat. He’s tested at Carlin so maybe that’s a possibility? He’d blow Brundle away.
If I was putting money on the outcome, (which I don’t after 2010) then my hard earned would be on Mitch Evans… but it’s going to be interesting to see Carlin in this series.
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