Following the sudden death of Russian Time team boss Igor Mazepa, the Motopark squad that operated the squad in 2013 have split with the team, citing that their role was ‘untenable’. The iSport management team that Russian Time bought out have re-taken over the running of the GP2 team.
The team have announced the drivers that they hope to retain their team’s championship trophy they won in their debut year in 2013, with New Zealander Mitch Evans being joined at the team by Russian driver Artem Markelov.
Mazepa died suddenly at the age of 40 at the beginning of February, but the ‘lawyers and advisors’ of his heirs did not share the same vision that Mazepa and Motopark team boss Timo Rumpfkeil.
“The conditions they had in mind would have resulted in us not being competitive anymore,” said Rumpfkeil to Autosport.
“However, it had always been the aim of both Igor Mazepa and ourselves to establish Russian Time at the very top of every championship we enter.
“We showed that we are capable of doing so by winning the GP2 teams’ title in our maiden season last year. This was where we should have continued.
“As this seems no longer possible, the cooperation between my Team Motopark and Russian Time unfortunately has come to an end.”
Motopark’s departure has affected the driver line-ups in both GP2 and GP3, as Tom Dillmann was set to continue in GP2 with the team, while three drivers were lined-up to race in GP3.
“I feel especially bad for our GP2 driver Tom Dillmann and our estimated GP3 drivers Marvin Kirchhofer, Jimmy Eriksson and Markus Pommer, who are left out in the open and without a drive when they were sure they had their ducks in line for the year.”
Ultimately, 2012 GP3 Series champion Mitch Evans has joined after a year at Arden International where he took four podium finishes, while German Formula 3 runner-up Artem Markelov becomes the first Russian to drive for Russian Time.
“I am super pumped for the season and cannot wait to get started,” said Evans.
“I can’t thank the team enough for the opportunity. Time to get to work, we have a championship to win!”