Barcelona: Round two preview

The second round of the inaugural season of the GP2 series sees the championship arrive in Barcelona for what promises to be another exciting weekend. Heikki Kovalainen (Arden International) leads the drivers' standings on 14 points, four ahead...

The second round of the inaugural season of the GP2 series sees the championship arrive in Barcelona for what promises to be another exciting weekend.

Heikki Kovalainen (Arden International) leads the drivers' standings on 14 points, four ahead of his closest rival, Adam Carroll (Super Nova International). Jose Maria Lopez (DAMS) is third in the standings on eight points, the same number as Gimmi Bruni (Coloni Motorsport). In the teams' battle Arden International lead the way on 18 points. Super Nova International finds itself in second spot on 10. ART Grand Prix, Coloni Motorsport and DAMS are all tied on eight points.

Two new rule changes have been introduced to the GP2 series sporting regulations. They will come into effect immediately. From Barcelona, each driver will only have to make one compulsory pitstop in Race 1, at which his team must change at least two tyres on the car. The second change has to do with the regulations for fastest lap. The new rules state that a driver must be classified in the final race results in order to qualify for fastest lap of that race. The cut-off point for race classification is 90% of the total race distance.

The final pre-season GP2 series test session took place in Barcelona, with 13 drivers covered by less than a second on both days of the test. With this as our starting point, a thrilling weekend of close racing is sure to be on the cards. All the teams and drivers have prior knowledge of the track and its quick and technical characteristics, which are sure to suit the Dallara chassis with ground effect, 600 bhp Renault engine and Bridgestone grooved tyres.

Three questions to Bernard Dudot GP2 Series Head of Engineering

GP2: What was your assessment of the first weekend in Imola?

Bernard Dudot: I think that for a first race it was not too bad. For sure we still had some small problems which need fixing, but we knew this to be the case. The big advantage is that we have young teams and young drivers who are very enthusiastic and never give up. They made a wonderful race. So I'm positive.

GP2: What changes have been made for Barcelona?

BD: Reliability and electronics mainly. We spent two days at Paul Ricard with the development car where we tested electrics, cooling and oil levels. We found out a lot about the car and step by step we are improving the reliability. We should have a good level for Barcelona, but the target is to have everything perfect by Nürburgring (27th-29th May).

GP2: How well will the car be suited to the Barcelona track?

BD: Barcelona is a very special circuit. You need a good chassis and great balance to get the most out of it. If you have that, you will be very quick. For GP2, this circuit is the perfect place to show what the car can do. The ground effect and the skirts will make cornering speed very impressive. We saw that in testing when the quickest lap was 7.6 seconds faster than last year's F3000 pole. I'm sure that kind of speed will be evident this weekend, too.

-gp2

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Heikki Kovalainen , Adam Carroll , Jose Maria Lopez
Teams DAMS , ART Grand Prix , Arden International