Nathanael Berthon will drive for Racing Engineering in this year's GP2 Series, the team have confirmed today.
The 22-year-old Frenchman has previously raced for the Spanish outfit in GP2 on three occasions. He contested the two Asia Series races in early 2011 in Abu Dhabi and Imola with the team, and returned for the non-championship race in Abu Dhabi in November. A few days later he made his Formula 1 test debut at the same Yas Marina circuit with HRT.
Berthon makes the step to GP2 after competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series for the past two seasons. He was a race winner on his way to seventh in the standings in his maiden season out of Formula Renault 2.0 in 2010, but didn't have as good a time of it last year – slipping to 13th.
More recently he has been keeping himself race-ready by travelling to New Zealand and taking part in the Toyota Racing Series. The announcement of his GP2 seat meanwhile comes after testing with Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon's team at Jerez last week. He joins third-year driver Fabio Leimer at the team.
“I am really delighted to be part of GP2 in 2012, especially with Racing Engineering,” said Berthon. “It’s a very strong team where I feel very comfortable. 2012 is going to be one of the most important seasons for me and it will be a very work intense year in order to fight at the top. I would like to thank everyone, who made this possible as without their trust and belief in me, this couldn’t have happened.”
De Orleans-Borbon added: “I am happy to have Nat back in the team with us for the 2012 season. He is extremely quick and has shown in Abu Dhabi his passing abilities. We now have to work with the aim of qualifying him as far forward on the grid so he can show his talent and finish the season in the top five positions.”