GP2 Asia Series: Our Philosophy
The GP2 Asia Series, which begins in January 2008, will be an exciting new racing championship, designed to bring the highest level of one-make single-seater action to the emerging motorsport nations in the Middle East and Asia.
The concept of the GP2 Asia Series is to bring the excitement and potential of the world's foremost Formula One feeder category to the emerging motorsport nations of the world, and to provide a step on the ladder to aspiring young drivers from the Middle East and Asia.
Bruno Michel: GP2 Asia Series Organiser
"The philosophy of the GP2 Asia Series is to expand the successful concept of the GP2 Series to the emerging motorsport nations. These high potential regions will benefit from the incredible racing which the GP2 Series has set as its hallmark, but at a much reduced cost. As Formula One expands further into Asia and the Middle East, the GP2 Asia Series will be perfectly placed to act as its support event at an increasing number of races, as we strive to promote the best emerging talents in Asian motorsport. Part of this commitment to the promotion of drivers from Asia is reflected in a specific regulation for the GP2 Asia Series, which will ensure that at least one race seat per team is filled by a driver from this part of the world.
"As we launch the new GP2 / 08 car for the second generation of the GP2 Series, the GP2 Asia Series means that the car which has provided the platform upon which the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen have created their Formula One careers, will now be able to showcase the best young driver talent in Asia. For our teams, the GP2 Asia Series will also be an opportunity to build on their European successes, and to spread their influence and knowledge into the Asian market, tapping into new sources of talent and knowhow, whilst also being included in new spheres of business and discovering new and exciting revenue sources.
"Of course, we know that a new Series entails a lot of hard work, and we are happy to bring a wealth of solid partners with us to the GP2 Asia Series, who have made the GP2 Series so strong in Europe. Bridgestone will continue as an official partner and sole tyre supplier, and we are delighted that they have offered a special Bridgestone Prize of $50,000 to the GP2 Asia Series Drivers' Champion.
We are also pleased to announce that Dallara and Mecachrome will each continue their integral roles with the chassis and engine respectively. Their knowledge of the car and its technical intricacies, combined with the knowhow of the GP2 Series teams who have committed to the GP2 Asia Series, will be the firm foundations upon which this new championship is built."
GP2 Asia Series: Where, When and Who?
The GP2 Asia Series will begin in January 2008, and in its first season will include five weekends of racing, including two events as the support race at Formula One Grands Prix.
The 2008 Calendar begins in January with two tests (18-19 January, 22-23 January), at the Dubai Autodrome - the circuit at which the GP2 Asia Series will be based. The second of these tests will back onto the inaugural GP2 Asia Series race weekend, as we join the Speedcar Series for the first Grand Racing event (25-26 January). The second race of the season will take place in the second full week of February (15-16) at the Sentul Circuit in Indonesia, again forming part of a Grand Racing weekend.
From here, there will be a one month break before the GP2 Asia Series links up with Formula One for the Grands Prix in Malaysia (20-23 March) and Bahrain (3-6 April). One week after Bahrain, the series will return to its base in Dubai for its season finale and the final Grand Racing event of 2008 (11-12 April).
The teams who will compete in the 2008 GP2 Asia Series will be those who have taken part in the 2007 GP2 Series with one exception, as one of Asia's biggest and most successful outfits Meritus takes the place of Racing Engineering.
Bruno Michel: GP2 Asia Series Organiser
"One of the reasons for the creation of the GP2 Asia Series has been to ensure that the excitement of the GP2 concept is taken around the world. In order to do this however, we were very aware that the heightened cost integral in such an expansion would have gone against one of our principal values. As such, a separate series in Asia, with operations based in the region, has been the perfect method by which such an expansion could be realized. By splitting GP2 into the GP2 Main Series and GP2 Asia Series, we will ensure that teams and drivers can take part in both championships, without suffering the large costs which would have come with one pan-continental championship.
"We will have five races in the first year of the GP2 Asia Series, with this number increasing to eight in 2009. As the Formula One World Championship extends its reach into Asia, we will race at an increasing number of Grands Prix to bring the excitement of GP2 and the high level of competition and technology of the series to the new motorsport markets.
"We received many requests from teams around the world to be entered into the GP2 Asia Series, but we have given priority to the existing teams of the GP2 Series to reward them for their hard work and loyalty. I have been delighted to see that, almost without exception, all of the existing teams have displayed their commitment and faith in this new venture, and we are all very excited and really looking forward to the start of the championship."