[Original images via AUTOSPORT & F1 Prospects]
It would seem that several GP2 drivers are aiming to follow in the footsteps of Sauber sign-up Sergio Pérez, with the likes of Giedo van der Garde (far left) and Johnny Cecotto Jr (left) scouting around for potential F1 berths in 2011.
As ever, however, sponsorship backing will have a big part to play in it all…
Twenty-five-year-old Dutchman van der Garde has had previous F1 connections as a test driver for Super Aguri and Spyker, and is apparently in talks with several F1 teams, according to his manager.
“There are concrete offers from two teams,” his manager Jan Paul ten Hoopen told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper. “We have received one contract we could sign immediately. But for that we need partners.”
It is believed that the two teams reportedly interested in his services are Lotus and Virgin Racing, with former F1 driver Jos Verstappen reporting these connections in his latest column for De Telegraaf.
However, with sponsorship backing very much proving key to a junior driver cracking the F1 market, ten Hoopen remains hopeful that a deal could be secured by the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“It makes no sense to spend a lot of money on a seat if Giedo’s career will be finished for the following year. It wouldn’t be the first time it has happened to a driver,” his manager added.
Another GP2 driver looking to move up to F1 is none other than Johnny Cecotto Jr, son of world champion motorcycle rider and former F1 driver Johnny Sr.
The German-born son, 21, contested a half-season in GP2 and is rumoured to be linked with Lotus boss Tony Fernandes’ new Air Asia GP2 venture next season. It is believed that such a role could include a test driver role with the Lotus F1 squad.
“In recent weeks I have had constant communications with the management of one formula one team who would have me for next season,” he told Venezuela’s Agencia Venezolana de Noticias.
“It’s an exciting proposal that would allow me to start as a test driver in November in Abu Dhabi.
“We are focused on putting together the budget that allows us to be not only a test driver in F1 but to also compete in GP2 with one of the top teams and fight for the [championship] win,” he added.
It is understood that one of Cecotto’s backers is Venezuelan telco CANTV.