With the GP2 Series getting underway this weekend, numerous drivers will be preparing to get in their cars and take to the track at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after a six month break, including Swedish driver Gustav Malja.
Malja, who competed in a handful of rounds last season, will line-up the grid with Rapax this weekend and hopes to score points consistently. “My goal this year will be to score points consistently, and I want to be the best of all drivers without a full season in the series,” the 20-year-old Swede, told The Checkered Flag.
“Obviously experience is key in GP2 when you consider the nature of the Pirelli tyres and also the limited testing and practise, so I will work hard to learn from every session in order to keep on becoming better in every aspect of the race weekend.”
In 2015, Trident and Rapax gave Gustav Malja the opportunity to compete the GP2 Series at Spa and the final two rounds, therefore the young driver is no stranger to the way the series works. “Obviously experience is key in GP2 when you consider the nature of the Pirelli tyres and also the limited testing and practise, so I will work hard to learn from every session in order to keep on becoming better in every aspect of the race weekend.
Last year I did 1 round with Trident in Spa and then I did the last two rounds with Rapax, which is very positive. In terms of my personal development with the car and the tyres, and it is very positive with the team.
We already know each other very well now and we also get along very well, and we have made big steps forward together already. I am confident I am in a really great place in Rapax.”
Although he has some experience in the car and series, Malja still knows he needs to do a lot of work throughout the season in order to be the best of the best. “I am an underdog in terms of experience in both high powered cars and in GP2 against a lot of other drivers but I will fight hard from the very beginning and I am aiming to score as many points as possible,” he admitted.
As well as competing in a few GP2 Series races’ last year, the Swede raced in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with Strakka Racing. After seventeen races, and two podiums in Hungary and Germany, Malja ended his 2015 season in ninth position with a total of 79 points overall.
Training becomes an essential when you race in any Motorsport series, the sport is physically demanding and requires the hardest working people on the planet who have the biggest drive and determination. “I’m training every week,” commented the Swede. “I have never been stronger both physically and mentally.
I am working with Formula Medicine, a training institute from Italy, and we have been working together since last year to improve me both on and off track in my athletic and mental condition. As a driver you need to be able to fully focus and also to be able to fully relax. I am dedicating time to improve both of these abilities.”
Gustav Malja will race for Rapax alongside former Campos Racing driver, Arthur Pic. Pic will enter his third year in the series, and Malja has admitted that he is looking forward to working alongside the Frenchman during the season: “…Arthur is a good driver and he has 3 years of FR3.5 and also 2 years of GP2 so obviously for him going in to his sixth year of high powered cars and also 3rd year in GP2 he has a lot more experience.
It will be good to have him as a benchmark but my own data and development will be the one I prioritise the most.”
Throughout the preseason, Malja explained that he had been working in the simulator back at the Rapax factory. “We have worked hard at the work shop,” he said. “I have also been in the simulator in order to prepare the tests. Obviously the 6 testing days we had were the most important days of preparation for this year and we had a lot of work done without any big problems, which felt very good.”
“There is an extremely high level of quality in both teams and drivers in GP2,” said Malja. “It should be that way as it is the last step to Formula 1. I think experience will play a role. I am just focusing on my own season and doing the best I can with my team.”
You can see Gustav Malja and the Rapax team take to the circuit in Barcelona, on Friday 12th May when the racing weekend gets underway.