Arthur Pic has signed to race for AV Formula in their first season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2013.
The younger brother of Formula 1 driver Charles, Pic will switch to the new squad established by former racer Adrian Valles. A former F1 tester for Spyker, Valles finished second to Robert Kubica in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2005 and brought the Superleague Formula title to Liverpool in 2009.
It will be Pic’s second year driving for a team new to FR3.5, after claiming two pole positions and a race win for new entrant DAMS in 2012 before finishing eighth in the final standings.
A significant part of the draw for the 21-year-old Frenchman in joining AV Formula was the appointment of compatriot Philippe Gautheron as Technical Director at the fledgling outfit. Gautheron moves across from GP2 Series frontrunners Addax, where he engineered Sergio Perez and Charles Pic amongst others in their successful race-winning seasons before they graduated to Formula 1.
It was that existing relationship between Gautheron and the Pic family that led Arthur to AV Formula. He helped them out at their maiden test at the Circuit de Catalunya, topping the timesheets on just their second day of running.
“I’m thrilled to have signed with AV Formula for the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 season and am already eager to resume testing with the team,” said Pic. “It’s great to have my plans for next year in place before Christmas and I feel extremely positive about the crew Adrian Valles is assembling.
“In particular, the opportunity to work closely with Philippe Gautheron was simply too good to pass up. He is one of the top engineers outside Formula 1 and his results in GP2 speak for themself. What’s more, having worked with my brother Charles during 2011 I know that he is a great guy both professionally and away from the circuit.
“Adrian meanwhile has an outstanding record in single-seater racing, not least with his Superleague Formula title and his runner-up finish in Formula Renault 3.5, and is now translating that success into team management.
“I have recently undergone surgery on my shoulder after dislocating it twice during the season, which undoubtedly hampered my progress. I’m recovering well and am now fully focussed on getting back into the car and building towards 2013 with my new team.”
Gautheron added: “From the moment we received an entry for 2013 Arthur was our first choice to drive for AV Formula. I got to know the family when working with his brother Charles in GP2 and was hugely impressed by Arthur’s dedication. In particular, the resolve he displayed after a difficult 2011 campaign really caught my eye. I worked with him in post-season testing and was extremely pleased with his attitude. He then built on this by showing very well for DAMS in 2012.
“Last month’s test in Barcelona went perfectly. We completed our programme and then went fastest on the final day. Thanks to his experience, Arthur was able to lead the team and that’s exactly what we were looking for.
“Our target next season must be to fight for the title. Arthur will move to Barcelona so as to fully integrate himself within the team and we will put in a great deal of effort between now and March to achieve our goals.”