The latest addition to the GP2 Series pitlane, Team AirAsia, is ready to make its competitive debut at the opening round of the GP2 Asia Series at Abu Dhabi.
The team enjoyed a successful four days of pre-season testing at the Yas Marina Circuit, which ended with drivers Davide Valsecchi and Luiz Razia topping the timesheets in the final session.
Team Manager Phill Spencer says the test has given the team confidence ahead of its first race. “We are all confident going into our first race week, although a little nervous,” said Spencer. “After our strong performance in testing the pressure is on but that is a great motivating factor. We have been practicing pit stops and race starts, which both play a critical role in maximising track performance and the whole team is ready for the challenges ahead. Now we need to try and repeat our practice performance in qualifying and the races this weekend. Let's see what happens!”
Razia believes that the good work done in testing will help them to be on the pace. “We have had four good days of testing and I think we have found a good set up for the new car, so I am feeling really positive about qualifying tomorrow,” he said. “Competition is very tight so it will be important to qualify in a good position – all we do now is go out there tomorrow and give it our best shot.”
Reigning GP2 Asia champion Valsecchi echoed his teammate's feelings. “After testing here last week I feel we are in a strong position and our aim is to qualify tomorrow in the top five,” said Valsecchi. “It's a new team and a new car, but I feel confident that we have what it takes to get on the podium this weekend. I am really looking forward to the opportunity.”
Team Principal Riad Asmat is delighted with how the team has performed so far, and is looking forward to the season ahead. “We go into our first race as Team AirAsia having already exceeded expectations for a new team,” said Asmat. “Everyone has gelled together perfectly and the performances in practice have shown we are ready to fight right at the top of the grid. I have been so impressed already with the dedication and passion everyone in the team has to get the job done, and I hope their hard work and energy is rewarded this weekend, and throughout the season.”