iSport International have announced their driver lineup for the 2011 GP2 Asia and main Series. Sam Bird and Marcus Ericsson, who both won a race in their debut seasons in GP2 in 2010, will join the team.
British driver Bird, 23, joins iSport from ART, with whom he finished fifth in the drivers' standings. He took one win, in the Monza sprint race. At the end of the season he drove for Mercedes GP at the Young Driver tests at Abu Dhabi.
Swede Ericsson, 20, moves to the team from Super Nova. He too scored one victory, at Valencia, but could not score regularly enough to finish above 17th in the final standings.
The driver pairing was announced at the Autosport show in Birmingham on Thursday (13 January). Speaking on stage at the show, team boss Paul Jackson said he was pleased that the pair had joined the team.
“We’ve had the good fortune to have a number of very good drivers over the years,” he said. “I feel we will continue that this year with these two. Both ran in GP2 last year, had promising results and showed a lot of potential. We feel they’re ready to realise that potential in some good solid results and challenge for the championship.”
Bird said: “I’m really excited. It’s the right move at the right time in my second year of GP2. I think iSport has the engineering expertise to push me hard and I have a team-mate to push me hard. I think we’re ready for a title push now. Last year was a great year, but I need to go a few steps better this year and I’m definitely with the right people to do that.”
Ericsson added: “My first year was tough, but I learned a lot and I feel iSport is the right team to go with this year. They have a very successful history in GP2 and I’ve known them for quite a long time now – I’ve tested with them three years in a row and it feels natural, I really believe in iSport.
“As usual in GP2 there are going to be a lot of guys who are very strong. Addax has a strong line-up with [Charles] Pic and [Giedo] van der Garde, of course ART is always up there, and there will be plenty more good drivers. It’s going to be a very tough year.”