Asia: My Qi-Meritus.Mahara signs Italy Bonanomi for Bahrain

My Qi-Meritus.Mahara signs Italy Bonanomi for Kingdom of Bahrain Sakhir event Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia - Monday, January 19, 2009 - The My Qi-Meritus.Mahara GP2 Asia Team is today pleased to announce that it has signed Italian Marco Bonanomi...

My Qi-Meritus.Mahara signs Italy Bonanomi for Kingdom of Bahrain Sakhir event

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia - Monday, January 19, 2009 - The My Qi-Meritus.Mahara GP2 Asia Team is today pleased to announce that it has signed Italian Marco Bonanomi as a Driver for the remaining four events of the GP2 Asia second 2008-2009 season. The 23-year-old, from Lecco, Italy will thus participate in the Bahrain event at the Sakhir track on January 23-24 where the Malaysia-based team is competing the third event of the season.

Bonanomi will team with rookie New Zealand Earl Bamber and replaces 32-year-old Alex Yoong, Malaysia's most successful racing driver having successfully competed in a number of series right from Formula Asia to Formula One.

Bonanomi can boast of an impressive motor racing career having secured in his career so far 141 races managing to earn ten wins and 19 podiums. Marco Bonanomi snatched his first GP2 Asia win in the 2008 GP2 Asia series finale in Dubai with team Piquet Sport. Earlier in his career. He was runner up in Formula 3000 Italy and in Euroseries 3000 in 2006.

"I had always held out hope that I would make it back to GP2 Asia after my first win in 2008. I am obviously very pleased that Peter Thompson has now given me a chance to show what I can do," comments Bonanomi. "I'm sure that my experience in a variety of single seater race cars will allow me to adapt quickly to the demands of GP2 Asia, so that I can start to provide the team's engineers and the Bridgestone technicians with useful information on car set-up and tyre performance. Hopefully, what I have learned last year will benefit the team's performance in the race. I now have a good opportunity to repeat what I did last year and will push hard. It is the sort of work I really enjoy, and I'm certainly looking forward to my first run with My Qi-Meritus.Mahara and first outing at the Bahrain track.

Team Principal, Gianfranco Bielli says, "My Qi-Meritus.Mahara is very pleased to have concluded a contract with Marco Bonanomi that will see him become our driver, running alongside Earl Bamber at all events until the end of the season. He has a lot of useful, and relevant, racing experience under his belt, as well as the added advantage of quickly adapting to the different circuits. I'm sure he will prove to be a real asset to the team and help us to maximise its potential for the remaining of the season. With what I believe is a strong driver line up now in place, we can start to focus on the serious business of improving our performance."

Peter Thompson, Team founder: "I want to thank Alex Yoong for participating in the two first Grand Prix: Shanghai where GP2 Asia was one of the support races to F1 week-end and the strange Dubai second weekend where Rains washed away My Qi-Meritus.Mahara team's Dubai goals and the radically wet weather stopped the team's effort."

Q & A With Marco Bonanomi

Q1 - Are you happy to be back in GP2 Asia?

A - I'm more than happy - I'm over the moon!

Q2 - When was last time that you drove a racing car?

A - I tested for an Indy Light team "Smith Motorsport" on the Kentucky oval which was quite an experience.

Q3 - How did the contact with My Qi-Meritus.Mahara occur?

A - In the previous season I had met quite often Peter Thompson, the team founder. He is a nice man. We had a good feeling and got well on together. Also I got to know well Gianfranco Belli, the Team Principal and we speak quite often, in Italian of course!

Q4 - Will you be ready for the next race of the season?

A - Sure! Even if it is a while since I have driven a GP2 car. I suppose you never forget!

Q5 - What do you think about the technical regulations and the racing rules?

A - The series is well organised. It is quite standard and good fun to drive in the series.

Q6 - What attracted you to GP2 Asia in the first place?

A - I like the magic of Asia. I just really like the continent.

Q7 - How do you rate the GP2 Asia cars?

A - The GP2 chassis are amongst the best cars that I have ever driven. There should not be too many technical problems despite a not too powerful engine. It is a very competitive series.

Q8 - Where did you race last year?

A - Most recently, I drove in the 2008 World Series by Renault (15 races). With Red Devil Team Comtec. I also drove GP2 Asia Series and scored 1 podium (1 win in Dubai) with Piquet Sports. In 2007 I drove World Series by Renault and International Formula Master and in 2006, Euroseries 3000. I have always kept quite busy.

Q9 - Tell us about your fitness training.

A - I am fit and I like to exercise. I do everything focused on the racing season including a lot of running, swimming and even yoga. Yoga is very important for a driver and helps to focus on concentration.

Q10 - What is your favourite racing memory?

A - To win in F3 for Lola cars in Imola, in 2003. It was not so much the win, nor the fact that it was a home win for me, but the fact that it was a landmark: Lola's historical first win after 12 years without winning. A great memory! I can still see the fans calling me from everywhere in the world, including from Japan. All this emotion went straight to my heart.

Q11 - What circuits have you found the most demanding in your career?

A - Macao is one of the most difficult and Malaysia is one of the best circuits.

Q12 - What kind of impact do you think that GP2 Asia series will make on motorsport fans around the world in its second year of existence?

A - GP2 Asia is a new vision of motorsports. The interest from fans is growing everywhere. It is pretty big now in the UAE and in India.

Q13 - What is your best quality?

A - I like to be sincere with the engineers and the team - I am always straight and say what I want and what I feel.

Q14 - What is your best racing quality?

A - I am good in qualifying.

Q15 - What do you hate most?

A - When I see people lying


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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Alex Yoong , Marco Bonanomi , Earl Bamber