|Drivers' champion||Jolyon Palmer|
The GP2 Series, GP2 for short, is a form of open wheel motor racing introduced in 2005 following the discontinuation of the long-term Formula One feeder series, Formula 3000. The format was conceived by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, while Ecclestone also has the rights to the name GP1. In 2010 the GP3 Series class was launched, as a feeder class for the GP2 series.
Designed to make racing affordable for the teams and to make it the perfect training ground for life in Formula One, GP2 has made it mandatory for all of the teams to use the same chassis, engine and tyre supplier so that true driver ability is reflected. All but three races have taken place as support races at Formula One race weekends to boost the series' profile, to give drivers experience of the Grand Prix environment, and to take advantage of the infrastructure (marshalls, medical facilities etc.) in place for a Formula One event. GP2 mainly races on European circuits, but has appearances on other international race tracks as well with their most recent races in the 2012 season at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia and the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore.
Many drivers have used GP2 as a stepping stone into Formula One. The 2005 Champion Nico Rosberg was hired by the Williams team for the 2006 F1 campaign, 2006 GP2 winner Lewis Hamilton made the transition to F1 the following year with McLaren and the 2007 Champion Timo Glock to Toyota for the 2008 F1 season. 2009 GP2 champion Nico Hülkenberg moved up to a Williams F1 race driver in the 2010 Formula 1 season. In addition, all runners up —Heikki Kovalainen (2005), Nelson Piquet, Jr. (2006) and Lucas di Grassi (2007)— became Renault test drivers the following year. All three earned F1 seats, but have since been replaced.
Karun Chandhok, Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov were also granted an F1 seat in 2010. For 2011 Pastor Maldonado was granted the hot seat at Williams. This meant that Nico Hülkenberg was deposed by Williams. Sergio Pérez was given the drive alongside Kamui Kobayashi, another former GP2 driver and GP2 Asia Series winner, at Sauber. Jérôme d'Ambrosio got his Virgin Racing drive for the 2011 season. However, some drivers have reached Formula One without competing in GP2, for example Paul di Resta, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Éric Vergne, Valtteri Bottas, and Kevin Magnussen.
During 2011, it was announced that in 2012 the GP2 and GP2 Asia Series would combine to make a single, longer GP2 series.
GP2 Series cars
The GP2 Series car is used by all of the teams, and features a Dallara carbon-fiber monocoque chassis powered by a Mecachrome normally-aspirated fuel-injected V8 engine and Pirelli dry slick and rain treaded tyres.
- The 2009 specification GP2 Car has been designed by Dallara Automobili. The 2006 GP2 car featured a biplane rear wing, with the triplane rear wing used in previous seasons only to be used at the Monaco race. The front upper and lower wishbones have been reinforced, as have the front and rear suspension uprights.
- The 4.0-litre normally-aspirated fuel-injected Mecachrome V8 engine features internal, cartographic and software upgrades designed to improve performance and fuel consumption. The engine produces 612 hp and 500Nm torque @ 8000 rpm. GP2 Series engines are rev-limited to 10000 rpm and need a rebuild after 4000 to 4500 km. The valve train is a dual overhead camshaft configuration with four valves per cylinder. The crankshaft is made of alloy steel, with five main bearing caps. The pistons are forged aluminum alloy, while the connecting rods are machined alloy steel. The electronic engine management system is supplied by Magneti Marelli, firing a CDI ignition system. The engine lubrication is a dry sump type, cooled by a single water pump.
- The 2009 gearbox has been manufactured by GearTek and features an 8-position barrel with ratchet body and software upgrades as well as a new transverse shafts fixing system designed to facilitate improved gear selection.
- Similar to the 2011 change for Formula 1, Pirelli is now the sole tyre supplier for the series. The GP2 series runs the same compounds as F1.
- Other parts
- Brembo is supplying monobloc brake calipers and disc bells, which are exclusive to GP2.
The car also features internal cooling upgrades, a new water radiator, radiator duct, oil/water heat exchanger, modified oil degazer, new oil and water pipes and new heat exchanger fixing brackets.
- According to research and pre-season stability tests, the 2005 model can go 0 to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 6.7 seconds. The car has a top speed of 320 km/h (198 mph) meaning that it is the fastest single seater racing car behind Formula One and Indy cars.
The 2011 model can go 0 to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 6.6 seconds. The car has a top speed of 332 km/h (206 mph) with the Monza aero configuration.
On Friday, drivers have a 45-minute free practice session and a 30-minute qualifying session. The qualifying session decides the grid order for Saturday's race which has a length of 180 kilometres.
During Saturday's race, each driver has to make a pit stop in which at least two tyres have to be changed.
On Sunday there is a sprint race of 120 kilometres. The grid is decided by the Saturday result with top 8 being reversed, so the driver who finished 8th on Saturday will start from pole position and the winner will start from 8th place.
- Pole for Saturday races: 2 points
|Point system for race 1|
|Point system for race 2|
- Fastest lap: 1 point in each race. Driver recording fastest lap has to drive 90% of race laps. The driver must now also start the race from his allocated grid position and as of 2008 must finish in the top ten of the race to be eligible for the fastest lap point.
With this points system, the most number of points anyone can score in one round is 20 by claiming pole position, winning both races with the fastest lap in each race. This feat has only been achieved twice in GP2 racing's short history. By Brazilian Nelson Piquet, Jr. in the 9th round of the 2006 season in Hungary and by German Nico Hülkenberg in the 5th round of the 2009 season in Germany.
- 2012 onwards
|Point system for race 1|
The top eight finishers in a sprint race receive points as follows:
|Point system for race 2|
Pole position for the feature race will now be worth 4 points, and 2 points will be given for the fastest lap in each race. Therefore, the maximum number of points a driver can score at any round will be 48.
Drivers graduated to F1
At the start of the 2014 Formula One season 25 out of 136 drivers have raced or will race in Formula 1 (18.4%).
|Driver||GP2||F1||Other major titles|
|Bianchi, JulesJules Bianchi||2010–2011||38||1||10||2013–2014||Marussia||34||0||0||0|
|Buemi, SébastienSébastien Buemi||2007–2008||31||2||5||2009–2011||Toro Rosso||55||0||0||0||FIA WEC (2014)|
|Chandhok, KarunKarun Chandhok||2007–2009||61||2||5||2010–2011||HRT||11||0||0||0|
|Chilton, MaxMax Chilton||2010–2012||62||2||4||2013–2014||Marussia||35||0||0||0|
|d'Ambrosio, JérômeJérôme d'Ambrosio||2008–2010||58||1||7||2011–2012||Virgin||20||0||0||0|
|di Grassi, LucasLucas di Grassi||2006–2009||75||5||21||2010||Virgin||19||0||0||0|
|Ericsson, MarcusMarcus Ericsson||2010–2013||84||3||13||2014||Caterham||15||0||0||0|
|Glock, TimoTimo Glock||2006–2007||42||7||15||2008–2012||Toyota||91||0||0||3|
|Grosjean, RomainRomain Grosjean†||2008–2011||54||9||21||2009, 2012–2014||Renault||64||0||0||9||GP2 Asia Series (2008, 2011), Auto GP (2010)|
|Gutiérrez, EstebanEsteban Gutiérrez||2011–2012||41||4||9||2013–2014||Sauber||38||0||0||0|
|Hamilton, LewisLewis Hamilton||2006||21||5||14||2007–2014||McLaren||148||33||38||70||Formula One (2008, 2014)|
|Hülkenberg, NicoNico Hülkenberg||2009||21||5||10||2010, 2012–2014||Williams||77||0||1||0|
|Kobayashi, KamuiKamui Kobayashi†||2008–2009||40||1||2||2009–2012, 2014||Toyota||76||0||0||1||GP2 Asia (2008–09)|
|Kovalainen, HeikkiHeikki Kovalainen||2005||23||5||12||2007–2013||Renault||112||1||1||4||World Series by Nissan (2004)|
|Maldonado, PastorPastor Maldonado||2007–2010||73||10||18||2011–2014||Williams||77||1||1||1|
|Nakajima, KazukiKazuki Nakajima†||2007||21||0||6||2007–2009||Williams||36||0||0||0||Formula Nippon (2012), Super Formula (2014)|
|Pérez, SergioSergio Pérez||2009–2010||40||5||9||2011–2014||Sauber||77||0||0||4|
|Petrov, VitalyVitaly Petrov||2006–2009||69||4||11||2010–2012||Renault||57||0||0||1|
|Pic, CharlesCharles Pic||2010–2011||38||3||8||2012–2013||Marussia||39||0||0||0|
|Piquet, Jr., NelsonNelson Piquet, Jr.||2005–2006||44||5||13||2008–2009||Renault||28||0||0||1|
|Rosberg, NicoNico Rosberg||2005||23||5||12||2006–2014||Williams||166||8||15||26|
|Senna, BrunoBruno Senna||2007–2008||41||3||9||2010–2012||HRT||46||0||0||0|
|Speed, ScottScott Speed||2005||23||0||5||2006–2007||Toro Rosso||28||0||0||0|
|van der Garde, GiedoGiedo van der Garde||2009–2012||82||5||17||2013||Caterham||19||0||0||0||Formule Renault 3.5 (2008)|
|Yamamoto, SakonSakon Yamamoto||2007–2008||21||0||1||2007, 2010||Spyker||14||0||0||0|
- In green 2014 Formula One drivers
- Gold background denotes GP2 champion.
- Drivers marked with a † started Formula One on mid-season.
- Glock had four Grand Prix starts in 2004 for Jordan; his first Formula One team since driving in GP2 2006–07 was Toyota.
- Romain Grosjean returned to GP2 after losing his 2010 Formula One seat. He signed a contract with Lotus Renault for 2012 and returned to Formula One.
- 2008 GP2 champion Giorgio Pantano drove the 2004 season in Formula One for Jordan before driving in GP2. He had previously driven in F3000.
- Gianmaria Bruni and Antônio Pizzonia also both raced in Formula One before making race appearance in GP2.
- Sakon Yamamoto raced in F1 with Super Aguri in 2006. For the next year, he moved down to GP2, before returning to F1 with Spyker mid-season.
The 2005 season began on April 23, 2005 on the weekend of the San Marino Grand Prix at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy. In the pre-season test to decide the inaugural season's car numbers, the iSport International and HiTech/Piquet Racing teams showed a competitive edge. The latter team was largely funded by the former Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet in order to aid his son's route to the premier Formula sport.
It was also notable for being the only season that GP2 used grooved tyres like F1 cars rather than slicks.
The 2006 Season was the second of the series. After championship holder Nico Rosberg's move to the WilliamsF1 team, and runner-up Heikki Kovalainen's move to be reserve driver at Renault F1, Nelson Piquet, Jr. in the Piquet Sports car was installed as the early title favourite, though the ART Grand Prix cars of Alexandre Prémat and Lewis Hamilton also had fairly short odds, given ART were reigning champions.
For the first time, the season began on a calendar separate to the 2006 Formula One calendar, starting out at the Circuit de Valencia, in Valencia, Spain on April 8, 2006 with Piquet, Jr. the first victor.
Piquet raced into an early lead, before Lewis Hamilton came back into the fray. A dominant run by the Briton took him into the championship lead, before the balance came back into Piquet Jr.'s favour.
After an exciting championship battle lasting 20 races, Hamilton claimed the title in the penultimate race, at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, in Monza, Italy, and celebrated with a second place in the 21st and final round.
The 2007 GP2 Series season began on 13 April at the Bahrain International Circuit, and completed on 30 September at the Circuit de Valencia. Eventual champion Timo Glock was a driving force throughout the series, but came under stiff competition from Lucas di Grassi in the closing stages- however, with a convincing win at the last race in Valencia, Glock sealed the championship.
The 2008 GP2 Series season featured the same teams as in previous seasons. It was the first season to feature a new car design from Dallara, the GP2/08, the only non-F1 car to pass the 2007 FIA crash test in full. In the United Kingdom, the 2008 GP2 Series season was exclusively aired on ITV4 from April 2008. It was won by Giorgio Pantano for Racing Engineering, with Bruno Senna finishing distant runner-up.
The 2009 season began and ended on the Iberian peninsula, with the first race weekend at Circuit de Catalunya (9–10 May) and ending in the stand-alone headline event (i.e. not supporting a corresponding Formula One event) at Portugal's Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (19–20 September). The title was won by German rookie Nico Hülkenberg at the penultimate round of the championship at Monza, the second time the championship had been won before the last race.
2010 season contained ten rounds, all of which were supporting F1 World Championship. The series started in May at Catalunya and concluded at Abu Dhabi in November.
Pastor Maldonado won the title in his fourth season in the series. He won a record-breaking six successive feature races mid-season. Sergio Pérez was his closest rival, but the title was sealed already in the penultimate round at Monza.
2011 season contained nine rounds and a final tenth round with no points, all of which were supporting F1 World Championship. The series started in May at Istanbul and concluded at Abu Dhabi in November.
The championship was won by reigning GP2 Asia champion Romain Grosjean at the penultimate round of the series. Following a three-year cycle, the previous GP2 chassis was replaced by a brand new car, the GP2/11, built by Italian racing car manufacturer Dallara. The series will change tyre supplier from Bridgestone to Pirelli for 2011–13. The 2011 season saw the addition of two new teams to the grid, Carlin and Team AirAsia. Meanwhile, DPR was not selected to continue in the series.
The 2012 season contained twelve rounds, eleven of which supported the F1 World Championship and one stand alone round in Bahrain. The series started on March 24 in Malaysia and concluded in Singapore on September 23. Davide Valsecchi (DAMS) won the title by 25 points from Arden's Luiz Razia, with Lotus GP's Esteban Gutierrez third.
For the 2012 season, Team Lazarus replaced Super Nova Racing using the name "Venezuela GP Lazarus". Lotus ART was renamed "Lotus Grand Prix", reflecting their increased relationship with title sponsor 'Lotus Cars'.
The 2013 season contained eleven rounds, all of which supported the F1 World Championship. The series started on March 23 in Malaysia and concluded in Abu Dhabi on November 3.
The 2014 season contained eleven rounds, all of which supported the F1 World Championship. The series started on April 5 in Bahrain and concluded in Abu Dhabi on November 23.
The television rights are held by the Formula One Management, which also manages the rights to Formula One. In the UK, races were being shown on Setanta Sports until the channel ceased broadcasting in June 2009. Setanta took up coverage of the series from ITV, who had shown GP2 in all four seasons to date (highlights only for 2005–2007, live coverage for 2008). However, by the German GP, Setanta GB had gone into administration so UK viewers could have been left without a GP2 broadcaster, but British Eurosport subsequently picked up the UK rights to GP2 for the next two and a half years. Setanta Ireland continues to operate for the Irish market and retain GP2 rights for that country. The races are also broadcast in the United States on Comcast's NBC Sports Network, while in Brazil its broadcast by cable TV channel SportTV, in Venezuela are broadcast by MeridianoTV; in the rest of Latin America, the races from 2012 are shown on delayed in South Cone and live in North Cone on Fox Sports +. About other European countries: In Spain, races are broadcast by MarcaTV, Antena 3 and TV3. In Germany PayTV Channel Sky broadcast all races Live and in Finland Pay-TV-channel MTV3 MAX broadcasts all races and qualifying live. RAI broadcasts only the races. In February 2012, it was announced that Sky Sports F1 had secured the broadcasting rights to the GP2 series and will broadcast every race live in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
- List of GP2 Series drivers
- GP2 Asia Series
- GP3 Series
- Formula One
- Formula 3000
- Formula Three
- Formula Two
- Spurgeon, Brad (2005-06-01). "Formula One experiments with its minor league". The International Herald Tribune. p. 22.
- http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns15388.html grandprix.com August 11, 2005
- http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/71098 autosport.com October 3, 2008
- "GP2 adopts Formula 1-like tyre rules for 2012". autosport.com. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
- "Current teams confirmed for 2008". Autosport.com. 2007-10-19.
- "New car passes F1 crash tests". Autosport.com. 2007-10-05.
- "Teams and Drivers". itv.com. 2008-03-26.
- Maher, Dave (2009-05-01). "GP2, FIA GT, DTM and SF on Setanta". setanta.com (Setanta Sports). Retrieved 2009-05-07.[dead link]
- "Sky Sports to show GP2 & GP3". Sky Sports. 2 February 2012.
Pioneering and Innovation Award