Six-race calendar for GP2 Asia in 2011

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GP2 Asia supported F1 at Abu Dhabi last year

The fourth GP2 Asia championship will be contested over just six races. It will be its shortest season yet, half the length of the calendar used two years ago.

The next edition of the championship will take place entirely in 2011 – the previous two series were split across two years.

As in the previous season, all the races will take place at Bahrain and Yas Marina:

February 11th-12th – Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit (two races)
February 18h-19th – Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit (two races)
March 12th-13th – Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit (two races)

The season finale will support the first race of the 2011 Formula 1 season.

This year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is supported by two rounds of the GP2 main series, taking place two months after the last races in that season. Last year GP2 Asia supported that race.

The series has previously visited Sentul in Indonesia, Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, Dubai Autodrome in the Dubai, Shanghai International Circuit in China and Losail in Qatar.

GP2 Asia Series CEO Bruno Michel said:

It is true that this season’s calendar is particularly short due to the fact that we have a new car to deliver to our teams.

It will be the first that we use the same car for both GP2 Asia and GP2 Series, and it will definitely be an exciting new season: not only will we have a new car, new tyres, new drivers, but also two new teams with Carlin and Team Air Asia joining us.
Bruno Michel

The numbers of the 13 teams competing are as follows:

iSport International – 1-2
Arden International – 3-4
ART Grand Prix – 5-6
Super Nova Racing – 7-8
Dams – 9-10
Scuderia Coloni – 11-12
Ocean Racing Technology – 14-15
Barwa Addax Team – 16-17
Trident Racing – 18-19
Rapax – 20-21
Racing Engineering – 22-23
Carlin – 24-25
Team Air Asia – 26-27

Davide Valsecchi won last year’s GP2 Asia championship.

Image © GP2 Media Service/LAT

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Keith Collantine
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25 comments on “Six-race calendar for GP2 Asia in 2011”

  1. With the amount of money invested in circuits like Korea, India, Malaysia and even Suzuka it seems strange that they won’t be bothering to host this series. Especially since apart from Suzuka these tracks probably don’t/won’t get much running outside of the F1 weekend.

    1. There is no way you would be able to run at Suzuka at that time of year. The temperature in Japan basically plummets from November to March.

    2. Korea and India aren’t finished yet, and while Korea would be ready for inclusion on this calendar, India certainly won’t be.

      The big problem is that the teams don’t treat GP2 Asia as seriously as they do the main series. In fact, GP2 Asia is really used as a feeder for GP2; it gives teams a chance to try out young drivers they have an eye on, but are uncertain about whether they want to commit to a full season. GP2 Asia gives them a chance to run those drivers and get a feel for them without having them jeopardise their position. It doesn’t always work, but it’s better than being stuck with two uncompeittive drivers for a season because you took a chance on them. Look at Barwa Addax – they’re usually right up the front, but after the last GP2 Asia Series, they got stuck with the number 16 and 17, which reflects a massive downturn in form. The teams are also encouraged to take on drivers from outside the traditional European and South American racing nations, which is why we ended up with the likes of Arabadzhiev last year.

      Because GP2 Asia isn’t handled with the same approach as the GP2 Series, the teams aren’t too keen on travelling far. The reason why the GP2 Series works is because most of the races are on the European continent and thus can be reached by land, with the possible exception of Istanbul. But to have a race series that takes on Bahrain and Abu Dhabi and then goes on to Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Shanghai, Singapore, etc. is going to be incredibly expensive and the GP2 teams don’t share the same budget as Formula 1.

      And, of course, this will be the first time the new Dallara GP2/11 chassis is run, so the teams will have to acquaint themselves with it.

      1. I suppose the teams will take this GP2 Asia run as a sort of a test mainly for the new car and Pirelli tyres. And a bit of testing some drivers for next GP2 season, as you say.

        With regards to the last GP2 race being a support race to the AbuDhabi GP, this will probably be linked with a tyre test at he same venue just like F1, won’t it?

  2. I have heard that the series was supposed to use the new GP2 2011 car!

    1. Don’t worry, you’re not getting short-changed. It’s not listed here, but the Autosport article on the subject gives the distribution of the new chassis as the reason for the shortened calendar:

      “It is true that this season’s calendar is particularly short due to the fact that we have a new car to deliver to our teams.”
      Bruno Michel

      So don’t get too worked up over it.

      1. Erm, that very quote is in the article.

        1. Sorry, uoted the wrong part of it. There’s a section in the Autosport article that makes it very clear the calendar was scaled back to account for the new car. Plus, if I remember rightly, the 2009-10 season had one race late in 2009 and three in 2010. Since the organisers want the same car used across both GP2 and GP2 Asia, it stands to reason that the 2009 race was dropped so that teams weren’t forced to upgrade their cars mis-season.

  3. February 11th-12th – Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit (two races)
    February 18h-19th – Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit (two races)
    March 12th-13th – Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit (two races)

    That is not a schedule.

    If this series is to be taken seriously, this is what they should have:

    Round 1-2: Singapore
    Round 3-4: Japan
    Round 5-6: Korea
    Round 7-8: Abu Dhabi

    Round 9-10: Bahrain
    Round 11-12: Australia
    Round 13-14: Malaysia
    Round 15-16: China

    You know, so it can actually be the Asian/Oceanic equivalent of GP2 Europe.

    1. Great idea, though it would be a little strange to have such a gap between them. Perhaps they could have two distinct championships instead, or an overall championship as well.

    2. Yeap that sounds more like an actual schedule. Only changes I would make is to have few rounds separate from Formula 1 rounds as well, at non F1 circuits.

    3. You know, so it can actually be the Asian/Oceanic equivalent of GP2 Europe.

      Too expesnive. The GP2 teams would have to fly out to each and every race, and they don’t have the budget of a Formula 1 team. The reason why the main GP2 series works is because they follow Formula 1 around Europe, so they can drive everywhere. Except Turkey, but that’s only one flyaway.

      1. And the new car is not ready, as well as them having to wait for Pirelli to get them some tyres to start the season!

      2. The reason why the main GP2 series works is because they follow Formula 1 around Europe, so they can drive everywhere.

        Which means that a proper GP2 Asia Series would never work, and they ought to cancel the two circuit joke they’ve got for next “season”.

        1. Actually, GP2 Asia works because the teams treat it as a feeder series into GP2 proper. They’re actively encouraged to run drivers that they would not normally choose, so it gives those drivers a chance to shine. And if they do, they might get picked up by a GP2 team and be on their way into Formula 1. GP2 Asia allows for greater depth in the talent pool. What if the next Aryton Senna comes from somewhere like Kazakhstan or Ghana or Sri Lanka or any one of a dozen other countries that do not have a strong motorsport pedigree, and GP2 Asia is his or her only chance to be noticed? After all, Vitaly Petrov didn’t go through karting or Formula 3; he did the Russian Lada Cup before DPR gave him a run in 2006. That was his first experience in single-seat open-wheel racers and look where he is now. GP2 Asia offers a chance to drivers who might not normally get one, so why should we cancel it simply because they have a short calendar? It was always going to be a shortened one because of the new car being introduced. So long as the teams and drivers are happy to do it, the series should keep going.

  4. Why don’t they just merge the main GP2 and the GP2 Asia series into one international series? It would be a much more complete race series, and it’s all the same teams anyhow… Seems kind of convoluted how they have it set up.

    1. Actually, GP2 teams have to run in GP2 Asia series so in a way they are compatible.

      The problem is that it is too expensive to run GP2 Asia and there is little interest as the series isn’t really commercially interesting…

      1. But if they merged the two wouldn’t it strengthen both series?

  5. I’m trying not to be too disappointed about this, but they might as well go ahead and call it the GP2 Middle East championship.

    Granted, they do have a new car to introduce for next season, but couldn’t they have shifted the schedule back a little bit to be in sync with the first few flyaway races of the F1 season?

  6. I like Bahrain but jeez that has to be one of the most tedious calendars ever. I know they all have two races anyway but the calendar’s getting so short there doesn’t seem to be much point.

    1. The good point is, that these cars will get at least some support events to the Bahrain GP.

      But it feels more like a 6 day test for the new car, pirelli tyres and possibly testing new drivers (a great idea for a test, setting it in a competative environment) than a real racing calendar.
      I suppose teams will want to use those events to just gear up and test ideas for the main GP2 season.

  7. It is an insult that there are NO events at the asian circuits in the Asian series. Next season there will be 5 races in Asia that could have been used. The series should be called GP2 millionaire middle east.

    1. Technically, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are part of Asia. With the Middle East being a region in Asia, as opposed to being a seperate continent.

  8. That is bad as they should have had more races to promote the event in Asia where still F1 comes next to Football & Cricket.

  9. People have to remember these teams are all based in Europe. Sure it would be nice to have the teams have a 10 event calender at locations all over Asia and Oceania, but realistically the teams just can’t afford it. Going back and forth between Europe and Asia is expensive a couple of times, nevermind 10 times! It makes sense for the survivability of the series to have a short calender based mainly in the middle-east.

    They probably should change the name to GP2 Winter Series or something to be a better description of the series.

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