2006 lifts off as pilots are named to cockpits

As the winter off-season days go by with the first pre-season tests days get closer, the GP2 Series available seats are getting fewer every moment. This past week there were more confirmations of new teams and drivers that will be set to start the...

As the winter off-season days go by with the first pre-season tests days get closer, the GP2 Series available seats are getting fewer every moment. This past week there were more confirmations of new teams and drivers that will be set to start the second season of the series.

The new team for GP2 for 2006, FMS International, announced a few days ago that the Italian F3000 Champion, Luca Fillippi, will be one of their drivers in their two-car stable.

Renault Formula One driver and team owner of FMS, Giancarlo Fisichella, made the announcement: "It has been a long negotiation because we wanted Luca to stay with our GP2 Team for two years and we had to agree on all points of a long-term contract."

Fisichella knows Fillippi very well and sees a lot of potential from his countryman. "I have always said that I wanted to race with FMS International, because the greatest achievements of my career have come whilst driving for Fisichella Motor Sport in F3000", commented Fillippi.

"They've always kept me up-dated: from the arrival of the two F1 engineers to the latest news on sponsors, all of them very important elements for me to consider when joining a team for two consecutive years", finished the Italian.

It is expected that FMS International will announce Fillippi's teammate in mid-February.

iSport International confirmed Tristan Gommendy as Ernesto Viso's teammate to defend the colours of the Brit team for this season.

"We kept an eye on Tristan's results last year, and he seemed to be a driver that always pushed to the maximum whatever the circumstances, especially in qualifying", explained team principal, Paul Jackson, as one of the reasons to have the French racer on board.

"After a test at Paul Ricard in the wet conditions, he showed with his attitude that he is a driver of class, and I am sure that this will show in 2006 with race wins", added Jackson, who will try to get this year the victory they couldn't take in 2005 despite many good results in the hands of Scott Speed who has moved up the ladder with the Toro Rosso team in F1.

No doubt this is the opportunity Gommendy was looking to follow his dream of became a F1 driver in the future. "I'm really happy! The Paul Ricard test in December was very positive and I have a really good feeling with the team", he said.

"Many thanks to iSport to give me this opportunity, and I'm sure that we will achieve very good results and we will fight to get the title ! I'm looking forward to the beginning of the season", the Frenchman stated.

Gommendy came to his new ride from experience in World Series by Renault series, where he raced the last two seasons taking fourth place in the standings in 2005. The 26-year-old driver has also won the Formula 3 Grand Prix of Macao in 2002, the same season he took the title in the French Formula 3 series.

Meanwhile there's still many seats free before the official tests resume on February 22nd. The German former F1 driver Timo Glock looks as a possible teammate of Hiroki Yoshimoto in BCN Competition, a place wanted by Spaniard Borja García also. Other rumours recently include Argentinean race José María López for the possible seat on the Super Nova team whom he tested for last December at the Paul Ricard circuit.

Editor's Note:

With the cancelation of Formula One at the Spa-Franchochamps circuit in Belgium, the odds of the season finale on September 17th for the GP2 Series remaining on the 2006 calendar are at this time a probable for being removed from the schedule.

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Scott Speed , Tristan Gommendy , Timo Glock , Hiroki Yoshimoto , Jose Maria Lopez , Borja Garcia , Ernesto Viso
Teams Toro Rosso