After the two race weekends planned for Bahrain were cancelled due to the political unrest in the gulf state, the 2011 GP2 Asia Series will have its second and final round this weekend at Imola in Italy.
Logistics and time constraints meant that GP2 organisers were forced to look to Europe for a circuit suitable of holding the follow-up event to the season opener held at Abu Dhabi in early February. The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari was the venue chosen.
GP2 last raced at the circuit in 2006, when it last hosted the Formula 1 San Marino Grand Prix. Since then the circuit has undergone a host of modifications.
Lotus ART driver Jules Bianchi heads the standings coming into the weekend, after winning the feature race in Abu Dhabi. Two points behind him is fellow Frenchman Romain Grosjean of DAMS. Davide Valsecchi is third for newcomers Team AirAsia, just one point further back after a third and a fourth place finish at Yas Marina. He is tied on points with iSport's Marcus Ericsson.
Imola will be the second race weekend for new GP2 tyre suppliers Pirelli. Mario Isola, Racing Manager at Pirelli, explains the conditions created by the circuit: “Imola is a very interesting track that is highly technical and incredibly demanding, with several heavy braking zones and limited opportunities for the rubber to cool down. In these conditions we need to give drivers tyres that are very durable but do not in any way compromise safety and road holding. This is why we decided to opt for our medium compound slicks, which cope well with the demands of the track as well as its unpredictable weather conditions. Our medium compound GP2 rubber has shown itself to have a very good balance between durability and artificial degradation. This was the case at Abu Dhabi earlier this year and I'm sure it will be the same at Imola.”
Two 30 minute practice sessions will be held on Friday, at 10am and 11am. Qualifying will then be held at 3.30pm on Friday. The 35 lap feature race will begin at 2pm on Saturday, with the 25 lap sprint race at the same time on Sunday.