British racer Oliver Turvey has said that continuing to race in the GP2 Series next year will depend on raising a sufficient budget after the loss of funding from the Racing Steps Foundation.
The 23-year-old secured sixth in the standings in his debut year in the Formula 1 feeder category with a strong final weekend at Abu Dhabi. He has since been testing for McLaren in the Young Driver Test and Pirelli tyre testing sessions alongside team test and reserve driver Gary Paffett.
The Racing Steps Foundation, which sponsors promising young British drivers who lack funding, has supported Turvey since it was founded in 2008. However, Turvey says he now needs to find new backing in order to race in GP2 in 2011.
“All teams ask drivers to bring a budget or sponsorship with them and the budget for next year will be £1.9 million,” said Turvey, speaking to Cumbrian newspaper News & Star. “The Racing Steps Foundation have been happy with my results but they haven't got the funds to support me for another season.”
Turvey explained that his team iSport International were working to find the money to run Turvey next year, while other teams had also shown an interest in running him. “It is a lot of money to find but there are sources of funding out there and I'm optimistic a deal can be sorted,” he said. “My team, iSport, are working hard to raise the money but there is also interest from other teams who may want me to compete for them.
Turvey added that he wants to stay in GP2 next year and attempt to win the title before stepping up to F1. “We're still looking at all the options but there probably won't be the opportunity to move into F1 next year as there isn't the driver movement. I also feel another year in GP2 would be beneficial and I really want to go for the championship. I've got stronger in the championship and improved in every round.
“We've scored points in the last 12 races and I was third in Monza and second in Abu Dhabi in the last two rounds. Next year I want to win the championship and, if I can do that, there is a strong chance of me stepping up to F1.”
Speaking about his recent testing for McLaren, Turvey said: “We were focusing on testing the car and the development of the car for next year. I tested last year in Spain and they were pleased with that and to be asked again was a fantastic honour. It's been my dream to drive for McLaren since I was young and I've been working hard for many years to try to achieve that.”