It has been 152 days since the GP2 field last hit the track on a race weekend, but the wait is over as the first of 10 rounds kicks off this weekend in Bahrain.
This season will see new challenges as the cars have been fitted with DRS (Drag Reduction System) the same system used by the Formula 1 cars. All 24 drivers have been able to test the new addition to their cars during the six pre-season testing days in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.
This season is being labelled as the strongest GP2 field in half a decade, as there are many seriously quick drivers in the field along with seven race winners (Marco Sorensen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Alexander Rossi, Mitch Evans, Raffaele Marciello, Arthur Pic and Nathaniel Berthon).
In pre-season testing it was the usual suspects of DAMS, ART Grand Prix, Carlin and Racing Engineering topping the timesheets. DAMS recruit Pierre Gasly – who raced for Caterham for three rounds last year – finished quickest on two days of testing. His team-mate and current GP3 champion Alex Lynn also topped a session, which suggests that DAMS are ready to defend their title from the get go in Bahrain.
Hilmer Motorsport will miss the start of the season which means there will be 24 cars racing this weekend.
Qualifying will be held at night in cooler temperatures; however the two races will occur during the daytime, which will see tyre degradation become a big factor in both the Feature Race and the Sprint Race. Hot temperatures combined with high level of asphalt roughness will accelerate tyre wear and will make the race hard on drivers who aren’t good at preserving their tyres.
The entry list:
|DAMS||1||Pierre Gasly||Moved from Caterham Racing|
|2||Alex Lynn||GP2 debut; reigning GP3 Series champion|
|4||Marco Sørenson||Moved from MP Motorsport|
|ART Grand Prix||5||Stoffel Vandoorne|
|6||Nobuharu Matsushita||GP2 debut; reigning Japanese F3 champion|
|Racing Engineering||7||Jordan King||GP2 debut; formerly European F3|
|8||Alexander Rossi||Moved from Campos Racing|
|Russian Time||9||Mitch Evans|
|Trident||11||Raffaele Marciello||Moved from Racing Engineering|
|12||René Binder||Moved from Arden International|
|Campos Racing||14||Arthur Pic|
|15||Rio Haryanto||Moved from Caterham Racing|
|MP Motorsport||16||Sergio Canamasas||Moved from Trident|
|17||Daniël de Jong|
|Rapax||18||Sergey Sirotkin||GP2 debut; formerly Formula Renault 3.5|
|19||Robert Vișoiu||GP2 debut; formerly GP3 Series|
|Arden International||20||André Negrão|
|21||Norman Nato||GP2 debut; formerly Formula Renault 3.5|
|Status Grand Prix||22||Marlon Stöckinger||GP2 debut; formerly Formula Renault 3.5|
|23||Richie Stanaway||GP2 debut; formerly GP3 Series|
|27||Zoël Amberg||GP2 debut; formerly Formula Renault 3.5|
Image via GP2 Series Media