The GP2 Asia calendar has just been released – but don’t blink, or you might miss it.
The season, which last year ran to six dates in China, Malaysia and the Gulf States, this year will stage just four meetings.
Two of those will be held at Abu Dhabi’s new Yas Marina, with the season opener coinciding with the final Formula One grand prix of the 2009/10 season. The other two will visit Bahrain, the location of two race meetings during the previous season.
As the series press release points out, it will become the first to run on the Yas Marina Circuit at a two-day test on 23 and 24 October, a week before the inaugural race.
Bruno Michel, GP2 Series organiser, explained that the truncated calendar, concentrated in one region, was designed to keep costs down for competing teams.
He said: “I am happy to note that this calendar is in line with the economical strategy we implemented in GP2 Series this year: we put together a programme that will not only generate good racing but will also keep costs in check and therefore will keep our series healthy.
“In fact, organising four rounds this time around compared to six the previous season, and having all of them take place only in the Middle East helps maintaining the freight costs at a reasonable level for everyone. Of course, for the seasons to come, the number of races will be revised.
“After two strong years that generated a lot of interest throughout the world and more specifically in Asia and the Middle East, the GP2 Asia Series is back on a new circuit but also with 50 per cent of its events running alongside Formula One.
“I have no doubt that we will once again enjoy an exciting season with twenty-six drivers fighting every inch on the way to the title.”
However short the season, it does bring at least one British driver within shouting distance of the F1 paddock after Surrey teenager Max Chilton was confirmed for the front-running Barwa Addax team.
The 2009/10 GP2 Asia calendar
- Oct 23/24: Abu Dhabi — Yas Marina Circuit test weekend
- Oct 31/Nov 1: Abu Dhabi — Yas Marina Circuit
- Feb 5/6 Abu Dhabi — Yas Marina Circuit
- Feb 26/27 Bahrain – Sakhir
- Mar 13-14 Bahrain – Sakhir