Home Features Pirelli offers F1 test prize to GP2 champion

Pirelli offers F1 test prize to GP2 champion

by Peter Allen

Photo: GP2 Media Service

Tyre supplier provides reward to this year’s winner of the premier F1 feeder series…

This year?s GP2 Series champion will receive the prize of a day?s test in an Formula 1 car thanks to tyre supplier Pireli.

The Italian company provides rubber to both GP2 and GP3 as well as F1, and Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said the test fitted in with Pirelli’s aims of helping young drivers prepare for the top of the sport.

?For the first time this season we will offer the winning GP2 driver the opportunity to test a Formula One car for a day,? he said.

?It fits in perfectly with our philosophy and that of GP2 of preparing young drivers as well as possible for the demands of Formula One.

?Our test driver told me once that after his first day of testing with us, he had learned more about tyres than he had in his whole Formula One career up to that point. So we wanted to give another driver this opportunity as well, which makes GP2 even more relevant to drivers aiming for the pinnacle of motorsport.?

GP2 chief Bruno Michel added: ?This is a fantastic gift from Pirelli and a great incentive for all of our GP2 drivers whose ultimate goal is to step into Formula 1.

?We and Pirelli have the same ambition: prepare young blood for F1 where tyre management is crucial as everyone knows. We are very happy to give this opportunity to future F1 young drivers.?

PaddockScout comment

Pirelli should be lauded for its latest initiative to support young drivers on their way to F1. GP3 champion Mitch Evans will gets to graduate to GP2 this year thanks in part to a ?200,000 prize fund provided by Pirelli, but this is another step from the tyre supplier.

Other than the Renault-provided test for the FR3.5 champion and Marussia’s prize for its top GP3 performer each year, this is the only F1 test offered as a reward for junior series achievement. While it’s good of Pirelli to do it, it’s a shame we have to rely on the tyre supplier when the teams have a dedicated young driver test they should be using for that very purpose. As I suggested back in October, places at the test could be reserved to the top performers from the categories directly below F1.

To use it as a revenue-gaining opportunity instead of giving a chance for deserving F1 drivers of the future is shameful. At a time when race drives are being sold off to the highest bidder to cover season-long costs, an effort should be made to put aside just one day of running for the talent of the future before it gets forgotten.

Well done Pirelli, but the F1 teams must now follow your lead.