Spanish GP2 Series team Racing Engineering are preparing for the 2010 season with both the drivers and teams Championships as their aims. They've resigned Spaniard Dani Clos for a second season with the outfit and German Christian Vietoris for his maiden season in the series. Both drivers competed in the GP2 Asia campaign; Clos entered the second Abu Dhabi round and the finale at Bahrain, both times for Italian outfit Trident Racing, while Vietoris completed a full campaign with French outfit DAMS.
Vietoris took a race win during the eight race series, the sprint race during the opening weekend of the series, alongside the FIA Formula One World Championship finale, and ended tenth overall, while team mate Clos failed to score in his four races during the series.
The president of the team, Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon saw one of his 2009 drivers graduate into Formula One. Lucas di Grassi is now with the new Virgin Racing Formula One outfit and the team principles said about his former driver's prospects for the 2010 season: “Well, he is an amazing driver, so no doubt that with a good car, he will be able to get great results. Said that, I have to admit that he is with a new team and they are having many of the problems new teams are facing. Sadly, he has not finished a race so far this season, but that is mainly due to hydraulic problems. Once that is solved, I think he will be able to finally work on making the car quicker.”
With the team's line-up confirmed for the 2010 campaign, Orleans-Borbon gave the reasons as to why his outfit resigned Clos and Vietoris: “With Dani it was easy. We always knew that he is an excellent driver and after a difficult learning year, he is ready to battle for the championship. So it's his year. As for Christian, he is one of the most talented young drivers out there and we think he is also a championship contender. Although I think he will have a lot to learn since GP2 is very different to F3.” Commenting on his expectations for both drivers in the 2010 season, he added: “I expect that both can win the championship, especially Dani. As for Christian, I think we will see surprises from him. But I don't want to give too much away. Let's wait and see. That said we have possibly the strongest driver line up for this season.”
The team are going into the final communal GP2 test at Barcelona, one of the venues which the series will visit as part of the European FIA Formula One World Championship race meetings. Orleans-Borbon wouldn't give any insight to what the team achieved at the previous test at Paul Ricard, but was happy to state the their aims for the Barcelona test: “Continue our work from Paul Ricard and make sure the drivers know how to take advantage of every aspect of their car and the team. We are in full season mode now. There is no turning back. We all know exactly what we have to do and will do it to the best of our ability.”
So who does Orleans-Borbon see as his driver's main challengers in the 2010 season? There are only two drivers he sees as a main threat: “I think the main rival will be Maldonado or Bianchi. They are both extremely quick and Maldonado is the most experienced driver in the field.”
The Racing Engineering outfit are looking forward to their home races of Barcelona and Valencia, but as Orleans-Borbon said, it's not just the Spanish rounds the team are looking forward to: “Monaco and Spa would be great since they are such special tracks, although we feel quite comfortable at all tracks. So we aim to win at as many of them as possible if everything goes as planned.”
The team will open their 2010 season with the GP2 Main Series races at Barcelona on the 8/9 May, alongside the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Photo credit: Malcolm Griffiths/GP2 Media Service