ART Grand Prix
ART Grand Prix is a French motor racing team that competes in formula single-seaters in Europe. In 2012, it competed in the GP2 Series and GP3 Series as Lotus GP to reflect sponsorship from British sports and racing car manufacturer Lotus. The team competed as Lotus ART in 2011.
ART Grand Prix was created in 2005 as a collaborative project between Frédéric Vasseur, the principal of ASM Formule 3, and Nicolas Todt, the son of Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) President Jean Todt. Vasseur wanted to expand his championship-winning Formula Three team into the newly created GP2 Series that supports Grands Prix in Europe, while Nicolas Todt had expressed an interest in team management. He had become involved in motorsport as a driver manager, and was notable for representing Felipe Massa. Todt took charge of the new team's commercial and promotional interests, while Vasseur managed the day-to-day running of the operation. ART is based at the ASM workshops at Villeneuve-la-Guyard in the département of Yonne, France.
Formula Renault and Formula Three
ASM had already competed in European and French Formula Renault 2.0 before expanding its operations to include the Formula 3 Euroseries in 2003. In 2004, the team dominated, with drivers Jamie Green and Alexandre Prémat finishing first and second in the drivers' championship, and the trend continued after ART was formed: the team won five straight teams' titles from the award's inauguration in 2005 to 2009, and won the drivers' championships in these years with Lewis Hamilton, Paul di Resta, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hülkenberg and Jules Bianchi respectively. Future Formula One drivers Adrian Sutil, Sebastian Vettel and Kamui Kobayashi also achieved success with the team. In 2010, ART's stranglehold on the championship was broken by French rivals Signature, who fielded Edoardo Mortara to victory in a Volkswagen-powered car, ahead of ART's lead driver Valtteri Bottas, who was the lead Mercedes-powered driver. At the end of the season, ART withdrew from the F3 Euroseries to concentrate on the GP and GP3 Series.
ART Grand Prix was one of several teams to enter the new GP2 Series in 2005. In the team's debut season, it employed F3 Euroseries graduates Alexandre Prémat, of France, and Nico Rosberg, of Germany. Against drivers who had prior experience at this level, from Formula 3000, Rosberg became the inaugural GP2 Drivers' Champion. He showed consistency, with points scoring results at every race meeting, and his championship challenge became stronger as the year progressed. Prémat was 4th in the championship, which was enough to provide ART with the Teams' Championship title. Rosberg's increasingly rapid rise to the top continued when he graduated to Formula One with Williams. Prémat remained with ART in 2006, and was joined by Britain's Lewis Hamilton. He was a logical choice, having dominated the F3 Euroseries with ASM Formule 3, ART's sister team. Hamilton took an impressive title in his debut season, though his performances faltered slightly mid-season against an increased challenge from the eventual runner-up, Nelson Piquet, Jr.. Prémat was a consistent and reliable number two to Hamilton; his third position in the Drivers' Championship contributed to ART's second consecutive Teams' title.
For the 2007 season, ART signed Michael Ammermüller and Lucas di Grassi. Ammermüller's campaign was hampered by injury, and he was later dropped in favour of Sébastien Buemi, with Mikhail Aleshin also deputising. Di Grassi emerged as the team's leader, his consistent finishing record allowing him to finish as runner-up in the drivers' championship to Timo Glock despite winning only a single race. The points he accumulated also allowed ART to salvage second in the teams' championship, in spite of the fact that the drivers of the team's other car scored a mere ten points between them. ART's driver line-up changed again for 2008, with the experienced Luca Filippi partnered by series rookie Romain Grosjean. Grosjean quickly established himself as the number one, winning two races and taking several additional podium finishes en route to fourth in the drivers' championship, only 14 points behind champion Giorgio Pantano. By contrast, Filippi was dropped after scoring points just twice in the first half of the year; he was replaced by Sakon Yamamoto, who also failed to trouble the leading runners despite his Formula One experience. The team slipped to fifth in the championship.
The 2009 season saw another complete overhaul of the team's driving strength, with Pastor Maldonado joining from Minardi Piquet Sports and Nico Hülkenberg graduating to the series as the reigning Formula 3 Euroseries champion. The season soon developed into a contest between Hülkenberg and the two Addax drivers, Grosjean and Vitaly Petrov. Grosjean left the series mid-season after being called up by the Renault F1 team, and Hülkenberg prevailed over Petrov with a total of five victories and 100 points. Maldonado started the year brightly with two sprint-race wins in the first half of the season, but his form tailed off later on, restricting him to sixth in the championship. Nevertheless, ART's tally of points was enough for the outfit to win its third teams' championship in five years. Another clear-out for the 2010 season resulted in the team signing Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird, two rookies from the F3 Euroseries, which Bianchi had won the previous season with ART. The two were closely matched and featured at or near the front of the field for much of the season, but their inexperience precluded them from challenging for the championship as the GP2 Series became more established with a growing number of experienced drivers. They finished third (Bianchi) and fifth (Bird) in the drivers' championship, with ART finishing in third place in the teams' championship.
For the 2011 season, ART reached an agreement with Lotus Cars to run under the Lotus ART moniker. The team switched from its traditional white-and-red livery to a Team Lotus-inspired green-and-yellow scheme, although this was somewhat confusing as Lotus Cars (sponsoring the Renault team) was involved in a legal dispute in Formula One with a new incarnation of Team Lotus (now Caterham) over the use of the name. Team Lotus was also competing with a green-and-yellow livery, whereas Renault (competing as Lotus Renault GP) was running a black-and-gold colour scheme reminiscent of the original Team Lotus's association with John Player Specials. As for the drivers, Bianchi was retained alongside Esteban Gutiérrez, who was promoted to GP2 after winning the inaugural GP3 Series championship with ART. Bianchi retained his third place in the championship but his season was slightly disappointing as he failed to mount a championship challenge despite his greater experience and his status as a pre-season favourite, whilst Gutiérrez played himself in with a single victory on his way to 13th place in the championship. ART again slipped to fifth in the teams' championship. The deal with Lotus was extended for the 2012 season, with the team name adjusted to Lotus GP and the colour scheme now altered to match the black-and-gold livery used by the Lotus F1 team, the Renault name having been dropped and the dispute with Caterham solved. With Bianchi moving to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, another ART GP3 graduate, James Calado, was signed to partner Gutiérrez. The second-year driver improved to third place in the drivers' championship with three victories, albeit someway behind title protagonists Davide Valsecchi and Luiz Razia, whilst Calado impressed by winning twice and finishing fifth overall as the season's top rookie driver.
ART signed up for the first season of the new GP3 Series, the feeder category of GP2, in 2010. The team immediately replicated its success in other series, with Esteban Gutiérrez becoming the inaugural champion. Team-mates Alexander Rossi and Pedro Nunes finished fourth and 24th respectively, and ART won the teams' championship. The 2011 season saw ART's success continue, with the championship distilling into a battle between its two leading drivers, ART F3 Euroseries graduate Valtteri Bottas and James Calado, with the former winning by seven points. The remaining seat was initially taken by Nunes, but he was dropped after a disappointing run and replaced by Richie Stanaway, who also scored points and helped ART to its second straight teams' championship. All three of ART's 2012 drivers were competitive, securing a third straight teams' championship, but neither won the drivers' title: Daniel Abt's late-season charge brought him up just short of victor Mitch Evans, whilst his early-season rival Aaro Vainio fell away to take fourth, and Conor Daly was also a consistent frontrunner in sixth place overall.
Formula one entry bid
ART launched an entry into Formula One as one of many candidates to fill in the 13th slot for the 2011 Formula One season with a possible partnership from the now-defunct Toyota Racing Grand Prix team. Also the team announced that it was going to phase out its Formula 3 operation because it wanted to focus only on GP3 and GP2. The 2010 Formula 3 season proved to be ART Grand Prix's last. ART Grand Prix announced their entry bid for Formula 1 on 13 May 2010.
On 24 June 2010, Autosport magazine said that ART were set to become the 13th team for 2011. However, on 7 July 2010, ART announced in its official statement withdrawal of its entry bid. ART declared in its official statement that "ART Grand Prix had forged strong bonds with several technical and financial partners but with unfavourable economic conditions they could not gather the necessary guarantees to ensure the stability of the project in the long term." As revealed by one of the Formula One insiders during Czech TV NOVA 2010 British Grand Prix live coverage, one of the crucial partners was Michelin, who didn't succeed in their efforts to become an official Formula One tyre supplier from 2011.
Complete series results
* Season in progress.
* Season in progress.
Complete former series results
GP2 Asia Series
|GP2 Asia Series Results|
Formula Three Euroseries
|Formula Three Euroseries|
|2003||Dallara F303-Mercedes HWA||Alexandre Prémat||1||2||2||50||7th||N/A†|
|2004||Dallara F303-Mercedes HWA||Alexandre Prémat||3||4||3||88||2nd||N/A†|
|2005||Dallara F305-Mercedes HWA||Lewis Hamilton||15||8||10||172||1st||1st†|
|2006||Dallara F305-Mercedes HWA||Sebastian Vettel||4||1||5||75||2nd||1st†|
|Paul di Resta||5||3||1||86||1st|
|Giedo van der Garde||1||1||0||37||6th|
|2007||Dallara F305-Mercedes HWA||Kamui Kobayashi||1||1||0||59||4th||1st†|
|2008||Dallara F308-Mercedes HWA||Nico Hülkenberg||7||6||7||85||1st||1st|
|2009||Dallara F308-Mercedes HWA||Jules Bianchi||9||6||7||114||1st||1st|
|2010||Dallara F308-Mercedes HWA||Valtteri Bottas||2||1||4||74||3rd||2nd|
† ART Grand Prix competed under the name ASM Formule 3 from 2003 to 2007.
- Geoni, Filiberto (10 January 2012). "Lotus ART change name to Lotus GP". GP2 Fanatic (Filiberto Geoni). Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- Premat renews with ART, autosport.com (5 January 2006).
- Hamilton confirmed at ART, autosport.com (19 January 2006).
- ART pulls out of Formula 3
- "Champions ASM renamed ART". autosport.com. 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2007-11-28.