Before last season no-one had really heard much about Dutch driver Robin Frijns, but the past 18 months or so have propelled him to the brink of a Formula 1 race seat. He is already a reserve driver for the Sauber F1 team for 2013, and finds himself competing competitively in the GP2 Series.
The fact that Frijns only began his single-seater career in 2009, in the Formula BMW Europe Series, shows just how far he has come in so little time. He won the series at the second time of asking. The following season he won the Formula Renault 2.0 series with the Josef Kaufmann Racing team, winning on five occasions.
Prior to 2012, no rookie had ever come into the Formula Renault 3.5 series and won it at the first time of asking. However, Frijns was about to change all that. Driving against one of the most competitive and highly-rated fields to date, Frijns won three races with the Fortec Motorsport team and the overall championship to boot, defeating drivers including Jules Bianchi, Sam Bird & Antonio Felix da Costa. It also earned him a Formula 1 test at the Young Driver’s test for the Red Bull Racing team.
The Sauber F1 team were highly impressed by Frijns’ driving and approached him to be the third driver to its race drivers Nico Hulkenberg & Esteban Gutierrez for 2013. However, a lack of opportunity to get any seat time (car or simulator) meant the Dutchman had to try and seek racing somewhere else, and the opportunity arrived when Hilmer Motorsport in the GP2 series came calling.
His first races in Bahrain was full of tyre issues, but he learnt his lessons and had a brilliant race weekend in Spain, culminating in his first win in just his third race. He backed that up with a run to second place in the sprint race the following day. Monaco wasn’t a great weekend for him, but that wasn’t down to anything he did wrong, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time after Johnny Cecotto Jr’s erratic driving at the start which eliminated a whole host of drivers.
Hopefully Robin Frijns remains with Hilmer Motorsport throughout the 2013 GP2 Series season, and fights for more wins and possible the championship. From what has been seen over the past few years is anything to go by, this guy is a natural talent behind the wheel, and deserves all the plaudits he has recieved in that time. Whatever the series he seems to be able to drive the car well. F1 should beckon him soon, he seems to be one of the brightest racing talents to come out of the Netherlands in a long, long time.