GP2

First test at Paul Ricard gives insight to new series

First test at Paul Ricard gives insight to new series

The Formula GP2, the new category that will replace next season the F3000 in the European F1 weekends, concluded today with it first three days test session at Circuit Paul Ricard, located southern of France, where the 12 teams of the series...

The Formula GP2, the new category that will replace next season the F3000 in the European F1 weekends, concluded today with it first three days test session at Circuit Paul Ricard, located southern of France, where the 12 teams of the series took contact for the very first time with the brad-new machines.

Fairuz Fauzy.
Photo by GP2 Series Media Service.
The teams, that had only one car each, used the three days to start knowing the secrets of this new cars that have some similar characteristics to the present Formula One, like the groove tyres that will be provided by Bridgestone on 2005.

After the open day with systems checks and reconnaisance laps, on the second journey the series used two track configuratios that gived the teams and drivers the opportunity to try with differents kinds of aerodynamic set-ups. The long circuit with high speed straights was used on the morning, while the afternoon session took part on the short track with corners of varying speeds.

With a temperature around the 5? and 12?, this final day was used with the configuration of long straights and it was the Venezuelan driver of the BCN team, Ernesto Viso, who set the fastest time on 1'20"137 after 51 laps, near followed by Nelson A. Piquet with 1'20"225 on 71 laps.

The Finn Heikki Kovalainen, of Arden, who completed top three on 1'20"301 in 86 laps, commented his feelings about the car: " "It is fun. The engine is very powerful, you can feel that for sure. It is so much faster and more advanced than the World Series car I was driving last season, and I think it is much closer to F1 than anything I've driven before.", said the 2004 World Series champion.

Heikki Kovalainen.
Photo by GP2 Series Media Service.
Bruno Michel, one of the heads of the project, was happy with the first GP2 session. "Apart from some reliability issues which have affected a small number of teams, we have had few problems. All the drivers seemed very impressed with the cars and we, in turn, were very impressed with how quickly they were up to speed. I also have to praise the professionalism and dedication of all our teams", he mentioned.

Paul Ricard will be again between March 8th. and 10th. the scenary for the second test session of the Formula GP2 on it road to the season green lights on April 23th. at San Marino.

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