Wondering what to expect from the upcoming GP3 series, due to make its debut at Barcelona in May this year?
Well, here are some insights from the people that will be managing the new teams – including former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, now involved in the management of Germany’s RSC Mucke Motorsport team.
They cover aspects of the new series including the opportunities for drivers to develop skills, the exposure offered to teams and how it might feed into specific driver training programmes. It also offers a chance to learn about some of the people making the decisions. Read on…
GP3 Series: Formula One is an extremely technically-advanced sport. From your experience as a driver, why do you think GP3 is the place to be in order for young drivers to develop their driving skills?
Ralf Schumacher, Team Principal, RSC Mücke Motorsport: “GP3 is great for young drivers because a lot of the technical aspects you find on an F1 car you can find also on a GP3 car, including a paddle shift and two pedals. The drivers will also have to pay close attention to tyre wear, something which is particularly important in F1. Plus, racing on F1 circuits will also help them prepare for the next step in their careers towards F1.”
GP3 Series: Addax now has teams in both GP2 and GP3. Why was important for you to get involved in GP3 Series on top of your GP2 Series commitment?
Alejandro Agag, Team Principal, Addax Team: “From the beginning it was clear that GP2 was the platform to Formula 1, and it’s been a great overall success. Now we are also involved in GP3, a new class which will be the step before GP2 and this means we can work with younger driving talents. We are taking on this new expansion within the infrastructure of the Addax Team with a great sense of motivation. It is also a way of being actively involved at the highest level and in the most important championships in the world of motor-racing.”
GP3 Series: Manor has announced a driver training programme in association with Virgin Racing F1 Team. How important is to start at an early age a specific training programme for young drivers, and do you think that a combination of physical and mental training could be the key to success?
Graeme Lowdon, CEO Virgin Racing: “Manor has a great record of training drivers for future Grand Prix success and we intend to continue this approach with the new Manor Racing GP3 Team. The physical and mental preparation is a key aspect of a driver’s development. We are offering a Formula One test to our highest placed GP3 driver so clearly the physical preparation has to start now. With our F1 team we will apply our blueprint to our GP3 drivers, developing them to Grand Prix standard, and we can now demonstrate a clear path through to F1. Lucas Di Grassi raced for Manor in F3 Euro Series and we are delighted that we can give him the opportunity he deserves to make the Grand Prix debut with us in VirginRacing Formula One Team.”
GP3 Series: GP3 will be supporting Formula One in all but one of their European events this season. How important is it for teams and drivers to have Formula One exposure?
Simon Cayzer, Team Manager, Status Grand Prix: “The dream for all drivers participating in the GP3 Series is to get to F1, so it’s essential they get noticed by the people who can provide that opportunity. The GP3 races are going to be great entertainment in terms of overtaking and action, and they will get watched by those at the track – so the names of the drivers that shine will be on the lips of all F1’s key decision makers. The series is also not just a platform for drivers, but also for mechanics and engineers who want to work in an F1 team while ambitious teams, such as Status GP, can only benefit from business opportunities that arise by being in the F1 environment.”
GP3 Series: GP3 being a new championship, how do you view the championship fight from the outset, considering everyone will be starting from a level playing field?
Simon Abadie, Team Manager, Tech 1 Racing: “The fight of this new series will be very interesting because everyone will start at the same level, so the teams have to be clever, faster than the others in the set up solutions. We will see!”
Q&A published courtesy of GP3 series.