GP2

Valencia: ART Grand Prix preview

The winter season is coming to a close, and the ART Grand Prix team is putting the finishing touches on its preparations for the second season of the GP2 Series. After some brilliant tests on the HTTT Paul Ricard circuit, 2005's double-champion...

The winter season is coming to a close, and the ART Grand Prix team is putting the finishing touches on its preparations for the second season of the GP2 Series. After some brilliant tests on the HTTT Paul Ricard circuit, 2005's double-champion team (Drivers and Teams) let the clutch out on a week of tests in Barcelona, the track which is the season's true test.

The adage goes that a car that is effective on the Catalunya circuit will be effective on all circuits. The best time recorded by Lewis Hamilton at Catalonia is a very good omen at the cusp of a great season, which kicks off April 8 and 9 at Valencia.

Nicolas Todt (President): After a season as good as 2005 and crowned with two titles, our objective can only be an ambitious one. We want to have results as good as last year, even if it will be anything but easy, since the deck has been shuffled by the introduction of slick tires. With a particularly harmonious pair of drivers - Alex for the experience in the sport and Lewis for the "new blood" aspect, I think that we have the best weapons for winning. So our objective is to shine in both championships, and I don't see any reason why we wouldn't be able to do so. The team is strong, well-structured and amazingly supported by its loyal sponsors: Marlboro, Richard Mille, Puma, and Europcar.

Frederic Vasseur (Director): Getting back to the track and the championship after a few months of rest does us a lot of good. We have built the team that we want and everyone is extremely motivated. The GP2 car package has changed and we are anxious to see what the result will be in official competition. Both our drivers are from the inner circle and so we know them very well. They both have an exceptional resume and we expect to regain both titles with them.

Alexandre Premat: The approach is different this year, with slick tires and less rear downforce. The car's handling is therefore different and so you have to relearn everything from scratch, whether it's the approach to qualifying or to the race. The team is excellent and has two very good drivers. There is a healthy competition with Lewis but a championship is won without pressure and by keeping a cool head, and that's what we intend to do.

Lewis Hamilton: The first time I stepped in a GP2 car, my driving style suited to the car rather well but I had to get used to the power. The car has so much power and speed in the corners than a F3 car. It is also so much faster when you're next to another car, you have to think a lot faster too, and compared to F3 this is a big difference too. Now that I've had 10 or 12 days of testing I feel very well. The team is doing a fantastic job, we had a great season together last year and it makes things a lot easier to work and to progress. There are a bunch of great guys here and they work very hard, I'm happy, I feel comfortable. My aim is to learn as fast as I can. We have to see after the first few races and see what happens then. There's a question mark of how well I will be… I'm sure I will be well, but whether I will be able to win is that to know I guess.

-art-

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Alexandre Prémat , Frederic Vasseur , Nicolas Todt , Richard Mille
Teams ART Grand Prix