Category Archives: Auto GP

2014 Auto GP Calendar Revealed


The 2014 Auto GP World Series calendar has finally been announced, and the series will run alongside the World Touring Car Championship, DTM and European Le Mans Series this year.

It has also been confirmed that Eurosport will show Auto GP live throughout all eight rounds of 2014.

The opening three rounds will follow the WTCC to Marrakech in Morocco, Paul Ricard in France and to the Hungaroring in Hungary.  The fourth event sees the Coloni-run series support the Italian GT Championship at Monza.

A race weekend at the Spielberg track in Austria supporting the European Le Mans Series follows in July, before supporting the DTM series at the Nurburgring in August.

The final two rounds have yet to be announced.  Last year saw two races held in the United Kingdom, supporting the Blancpain Series at Silverstone before racing at Donington Park supporting the Superstars series.  The other race that is currently not on the schedule that was in 2013 is the race at the Masaryk Circuit in the Czech Republic.

“Auto GP is very pleased to continue the collaboration with the WTCC, a consistent partnership that has enabled our drivers to race in an excellent environment and with spectacular crowds over the last few years,” said Enzo Coloni, the Auto GP series boss.

“The same goes for the DTM. We started cooperating with them last season and we look forward to a successful path for the future.

“For the first time we will also line-up together with the ELMS championship.

“We will shortly announce the two final round of the season and there might be some great surprises coming…”

  • April 12-13 – Marrakech, Morocco – WTCC
  • April 19-20 – Paul Ricard, France – WTCC
  • May 03-04 – Hungaroring, Hungary – WTCC
  • May 30-June 01 – Monza, Italy – Italian GT
  • July 19-20 – Spielberg, Austria – ELMS
  • August 16-17 – Nurburgring, Germany – DTM
  • TBA
  • TBA

An Interview with… Luciano Bacheta!

Luciano Bacheta is a British racing driver and reigning Formula 2 Champion, having won the final season of that championship in 2012.  He competed in Auto GP for a number of rounds this year too, winning a race early on in the season.  He stepped out of the drive mid-season, and has his eyes set on a good drive in one of Formula One’s feeder categories in 2014.  I am delighted to say I had the opportunity to ask Luciano some questions to which he gratefully replied!

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Paul Hensby: How did it feel becoming the last (at the present time at least) Formula 2 Champion?

Luciano Bacheta: it felt great winning the championship, I had a lot of pressure on me throughout the year to win, especially after the first 4 races, it would have been easy to have a silly slip up and lose it all, I’m glad I didn’t, and worked hard to make sure it ran smoothly.

PH: You won four times in a row at the beginning of your Championship season, including a Silverstone double, how does it feel racing, and winning, in front of the British fans?

LB: I didn’t expect to win so early in the season, I knew I had to catch up to the knowledge of the established guys in the championship, I guess this made me work harder pre season, it turned out I did more than catch up to them, I spent hours watching previous F2 races, talking to past F2 racers to learn as much as possible. I also met with Yokohama and learnt as much about the tyre as I could.. Nobody else did this, and I believe this is why I had the early advantage.

PH: You earned a Williams Formula 1 test for the win, how was that?  Did it give you any additional motivation to get there in the future?

LB: The F1 test went very well, and of course I would jump at any F1 opportunity that comes up, it definitely motivated me more and gave me more self belief.

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PH: I watched you this year on the Sunday’s race 2 at Silverstone in Auto GP, where you finished P8. Pre-race in the paddock you looked really relaxed, how do you manage to stay so calm when you’ve got so much power under your foot?

LB: Nothing changes my approach whether its a practice session or a championship deciding race, this makes everything easier to deal with when the pressure is on. So I looked calm because I was calm, I had prepared as always and from my point of view I was ready.

PH: You recently stepped out of the Auto GP series, is that it for the year 2013 for you in regards to racing? I believe the target is a 2014 GP2 drive, is that correct?  Are you hopefully something will come your way?

LB: Things are looking well for next year, hopefully we can speed up that process and get back out towards the end of this season, I’ve been keeping sharp in my kart in the mean time.

PH: Who’s been the biggest or most challenging on-track rival for you so far in your career?

LB: So far I haven’t had any on track rival who has made me lose any sleep, I usually find myself in a battle with someone different race by race! If anyone, Mihai Marinescu used to give me something to think about in F2 last year, his defending and attacking methods were….different.

PH: What’s the best race track you’ve ever raced on?

LB: Silverstone, I love it there.


PH: Are there any particular races you really want to compete in before your career comes to an end? Could you see yourself racing at Le Mans one day perhaps, for example?

LB: Nothing in particular, apart from F1 races.

PH: At what point did you know that you wanted to become a professional racing driver? Do you remember what or who made you want to get into the sport?

LB: I wanted to become a racing driver as soon as I found out I was good in a go kart, when i was 12 years old at my local circuit. I got into the sport totally by chance, nobody introduced me to it.

PH: Whilst growing up, did you have any racing heroes?

LB: Not really, because I didn’t follow racing much, I didn’t know much about racing until I started myself. Since then I’ve watched and studied Senna, and his story is incredible.

PH: If you could choose any driver, past or present to be your first F1 teammate, who would you choose and why?

LB: I wouldn’t mind any team mate, it doesn’t bother me.

PH: Thank you again for taking the time to reply to these questions.  Good luck for your quest to get to Formula 1, I for one will be following your progress with a keen eye!

Many thanks to Luciano Bacheta for taking the time to respond to my questions.  You can follow Luciano on twitter (@LucianoBacheta) or on Facebook.

An Interview With… Robert Visoiu

Robert Visoiu is still only 17, yet is racing competitively in the GP3 and Auto GP World Series in 2013, all that whilst still being at school.  He took some time out of his extremely busy schedule to answer some of my questions!

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Paul Hensby: You’ve been racing in both the GP3 and Auto GP series’ this year. How different are the two cars to drive, and what do you have to do differently in each?

Robert Visoiu: The two cars are really different: from the position of the driver to the aerodynamics and the engine power. More, the tires are from different parts of the Universe also, so driving the two cars is really exciting and demanding. Adapting to each track with the two cars is really something which keeps me focused at all times. It’s really fun!

PH: Romania has never had a driver race in Formula 1 before, Is F1 your ultimate aim / goal?

RV: I think every kid in karting dreams of becoming a Formula 1 star, so yes… it’s really the ultimate aim for me also. As time goes by and you come closer to F1 by racing in the support series’, you really get to smell the success and you want to be part of it. This is what drives me and what gives me strength, because it’s a difficult path and I know I have to work very hard to get there.

PH: What made you want to be a racing driver, especially at such a young age?  Do you remember the time when you made the conscious decision to race cars fast?

RV: I’ve been racing karts since I was only 4, so I really can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a racing driver. I grew up with the dream and when I made the switch to single-seaters I was really determined to be as fast as possible and today I have the same determination.

PH: What was it like to break your GP3 duck and win in Valencia, and then follow it up a few races later with the Hungary win?

RV: I was so close last year when I finished second in Barcelona that I said to myself that this must be the season to start winning and I’m very glad I was right, especially since the new GP3 is a huge step up compared to the old car: you have more power and very, very experienced and fast drivers to compete with. It felt amazing!

PH: You’ve got two Red Bull backed drivers alongside you in GP3 in MW Arden in the form of Carlos Sainz Jr & Daniil Kvyat, how does it feel to have won twice and be competitive this year alongside two highly rated drivers?

RV: MW Arden really has a very good line-up this season. I knew before the start of the season that both Daniil and Carlos are very fast drivers and that this season was going to be great! It felt really good to be able to be the first one of the group to win and to do it twice was a huge bonus, but I know I still have lots of things to learn and that both of my colleagues are really, really fast.

PH: What’s the atmosphere like within MW Arden with Sainz & Kvyat? Do you all get along, share information and the like?

RV: We have a great relationship. We immediately understood that it’s important to have a good working relationship and that by pushing each other we could all evolve. It’s really a positive atmosphere and we make the most of it. They are really cool guys also, and we respect each other both on and off track.

GP3 series Barcelona, Spain 10-12 May 2013

PH: At the same time, you were the lone driver for the first few rounds of Auto GP, how much has gaining Kevin Giovesi as a teammate helped you and the team?

RV: Kevin is a really fast driver and he immediately became one of the front runners in Auto GP. His presence is a big plus, as we understand each other very well and the team profits from this. Team Ghinzani Arco is at its first season in Auto GP, but they are real professionals and this makes a huge difference on the long run.

PH: What’s been the highlight of your career to date? 

RV: I think the first thing that comes to mind are the two wins in this season’s GP3 Series, but actually I think the highlight would be the fact that I am always learning and I am always evolving. I’m happy with my learning curve and I think on the long run this is the most important thing for me.

PH: Who’s been your fiercest rival on track so far in your career?  

RV: I’ve had some great battles in karting with really fast drivers like Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon, but if it comes to cars I will always remember the fights I had in the Formula Abarth with my team mates from Jenzer Motorsport: Patrick Niederhauser and Sergey Sirotkin. It’s been really fun to race against them and to battle it out sometimes, but it’s not really a rivalry as we all respect each other and understand that this is the way to get better and better. We’re all friends when the flag drops.

PH: What’s the best track you’ve ever raced on, and on the flip side, what’s the worst?  

RV: I don’t think I could say if a track is good or bad, but I could say there are tracks which I like more than others. I will always be attached to Valencia and the Hungaroring after wining there, but I also like Barcelona a lot. This season I’ve raced on the Donington Park track and I was really captured by its design and history.

PH: Are there any tracks you’d like to race on one day, maybe Le Mans or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

RV: Sure, I love the old tracks with a lot of history behind them and Le Mans and Indianapolis are really high on the list. Laguna Seca is also a “must have”, as well as Paul Ricard.

PH: What do you do to relax in between races?  How can you relax with so many races on your schedule?! 

RV: Racing is a way of life, so you don’t really get “time off” from it. To be honest, I don’t really want to escape racing so I am always doing some simulator training or other forms of preparations. I play tennis and I like to swim. When I’m home I try to go out with my friends as often as I can, but between training and school there’s not to much time for anything else.

PH: What would be your ideal plans for 2014?  Would you concentrate on one series or continue in two again?

RV: We have a pretty good idea about what we need to do in 2014. First of all I need to get better in some aspects in which I know I still have to learn. The goal is to always be faster and more constant and for this I think it’s crucial to have a good strategy from start on. I can’t tell you just yet what the plan for 2014 is, but I’d like to have a go in more powerful cars during the winter, to test things out a bit…

PH: Thank you for taking the time to look & respond to my questions! Good luck for the rest of the season and beyond! 

RV: Thank you for your really interesting questions. I wish you good luck with your website!

Visoiu 3

Many thanks for Robert Visoiu for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions.  Also thanks to Horia Totu, his Public Relations specialist for forwarding the questions to Robert and the answers back to me!

Robert Visoiu currently drives for MW Arden in the GP3 Series and for Team Ghinzani Arco in Auto GP World Series.  I wish him luck for the rest of the season, and hope to see his career develop over the next few years!

The Next Generation of British Racing Drivers

In recent years, British hopes in Formula 1 had been carried on the shoulders of David Coulthard & Jenson Button, and more recently Button, Lewis Hamilton and Paul di Resta.  However if you look deeper down into the motorsport ladder, you’ll see many up-and-coming drivers that could possibly be the ones to watch in F1 over the next 10 to 15 years.

Over the past couple of weekends, British drivers in the GP2 series and GP3 series have shown just how good they are, and the ones in Formula Renault 2.0 series and 3.5 series are showing likewise.  Its time to show off the outstanding British talent coming through the ranks.  Here’s my run-down on the best British drivers currently coming to the top.

  • Sam Bird – Age 26 – GP2 driver for Russian Time
    Already a test driver for the AMG Mercedes F1 team, has won 3 races already this season and has proved himself year after year to be a capable, intelligent, strong racing driver.  Running out of time though to make it to the top level of motorsport.
  • Jolyon Palmer – Age 22 – GP2 driver for Carlin
    Son of former Formula 1 driver Jonathan, shows far more talent than his father did.  One of the best GP2 over-takers around, but to often has to fight back from a poor qualifying effort, and often gets caught up in other peoples accidents while out of position.
  • Jon Lancaster – Age 24 – GP2 driver for Hilmer Motorsport
    Finally getting a chance to shine in GP2, and taking the opportunity with both hands with a couple of wins. Finances have held him back, talent has never been an issue.
  • James Calado – Age 24 – GP2 driver for ART Grand Prix
    Really quick when the car is working under him, one of the championship favourites in GP2 still despite a slow start to the season.  Double podium in Germany showed his true talent.
  • Adrian Quaife-Hobbs – Age 22 – GP2 driver for MP Motorsport
    Last years Auto GP champion has begun his first year in GP2 well, taking a podium in Monaco, all while driving for a new team in the series too.  Certainly talented behind the wheel of a racing car.
  • Will Stevens – Age 21 – Formula Renault 3.5 driver for P1 by Strakka Racing
    Frontrunner and regular podium finisher in Formula Renault, and signed up by the Caterham F1 team as a development driver recently.  Strong racer and one to watch in the next few years for sure.
  • Oliver Webb – Age 22 – Formula Renault 3.5 driver for Fortec Motorsport
    Still only 22 but has experience on both sides of the Atlantic having driven in Indy Lights in 2012.  Returned to Formula Renault this year and is proving to be a steady driver with multiple points finishes.
  • Nick Yelloly – Age 22 – GP3 driver for Carlin
    Beginning to be a regular podium visitor in GP3, and was a race winner in Formula Renault 3.5 before that.  Has shown flashes of talent that should get GP2 and Formula 1 teams interested.
  • Jack Harvey – Age 20 – GP3 driver for ART Grand Prix
    The reigning British Formula 3 champion is showing well in his first season in GP3, winning his first race in front of his home fans at Silverstone.  He’s up against two strong teammates, and isn’t fazed by anything.
  • Melville McKee – Age 18 – GP3 driver for Bamboo Engineering
    Honestly I’d never heard of him before this year, but he GP3’s newest race winner at just the age 18.  If he can continue this form, he’ll be a GP3 championship contender next year.
  • Lewis Williamson – Age 23 – GP3 driver for Bamboo Engineering
    Rebuilding his career after being ditched by the Red Bull young drivers programme, and doing it well.  Battling driver who knows how to overtake and defend.  Should have a bright future ahead of him, and will be out to prove Red Bull made a mistake.
  • Dino Zamparelli – Age 20 – GP3 driver for Marussia Manor Racing
    Very talented British-Italian driver, with amazing car control and reactions.  Is on the climb up the racing ladder, and is showing well in his first GP3 season, finishing in the points a handful of times already.
  • William Buller – Age 20 – Formula Renault 3.5 driver for Zeta Corse
    Has stopped his European F3 campaign to concentrate on the more powerful Formula Renault 3.5 cars in which he showed well in his debut event in Russia.
  • Alex Lynn – Age 19 – European Formula 3 driver for Prema Powerteam
    A driver coming through the ranks, and a victor already this season in the Euro F3 series at Brands Hatch.  Should be in the thoughts of GP3 teams for a possible drive in 2014.
  • Oliver Rowland – Age 20 – Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 driver for Fortec Motorsport
    Currently leading the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 championship with two wins, and has been showing a lot of talent.  Could and should be the next British driver in the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2014.
  • Luciano Bacheta – Age 23
    Last years Formula 2 champion, and a race winning driver in the Auto GP World Series this year.  Has stopped running now to prepare for a possible GP2 season in 2014, but definately talented behind the wheel.
  • Alice Powell – Age 20 – Formula 3 cup driver for MotorSport Vision
    The best female driver Britain has got.  Very good young driver, with heaps of talent and a winning mentality.  Should have been in GP3 this year had it not been for finances.
  • Alex Brundle – Age 22 – World Endurance Championship driver for Oak Racing
    Following his father Martin’s path into Le Mans having began in single-seaters.  Highly likeable and quick driver, finishing P2 in LMP2 this year.  May have given up on his F1 dream but should he return to single-seaters would definately be one to watch.
  • Matt Parry – Age 19 – Formula Renault 2.0 NEC driver for Fortec Motorsports
    Has Formula 1 aspirations, and saw him dominate both races at Silverstone this year in NEC.  Another one to watch come through the ranks, with the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 & Formula Renault 3.5 in his sights in the next few years.
  • Alexander Sims – Age 25 – Blancpain Endurance Driver for Hexis Racing
    Quite possibly one of the most talented drivers around.  Very quick in his McLaren in the Blancpain Endurance series, and took Status Grand Prix’s first podium finish of 2013 when he stood in for them in Germany.  He is happy in GT Racing, and if he remains so, it’ll be F1’s loss.  And a big loss at that.

Have I missed anyone you think will be an one to watch over the next few years in the lower formulae and could possibly be Formula 1 bound?  Please comment and let me know!

Robert Visoiu – The Great Romanian Hope?

There has never been a Formula One driver from Romania, but Robert Visoiu offers the country the best opportunity for the future to change that fact.  The 17-year-old from Pitesti currently drives in the GP3 series and the Auto GP series in 2013.

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The fact he’s already in those two series when he only made his debut in single-seater cars in 2011 is quite frankly unbelievable.  Starting out in the Formula Abarth Italian Series with Jenzer Motorsport, he had a very respectable first season, winning once in Misano and finishing 6th in the standings, with two other podium visits.

He also competed in the European Series of the Formula Abarth championship, this time netting two victories, one in Misano, the other in Catalunya, and finishing fourth in the final standings.  He also had a few races in the Formula Pilota China series, grabbing two podiums in the four races he raced in.

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Onto 2012, and Visoiu progressed to the Italian Formula 3 Championship with Ghinzani Arco Motorsport, a team owned & run by former Formula 1 racer PierCarlo Ghinzani.  The Romanian had another decent season (for his age!) and won once in Mugello and finishing ninth in the Championship, in a season he missed two events because of a clash with the GP3 series he was already competing in, back again with Jenzer Motorsport.  Sixteen races in GP3 yielded a solitary podium in Barcelona, but a whole lot of experience was gained in front of the eyes of the Formula 1 paddock.

2013 sees Robert Visoiu racing in two series’ again, firstly remaining in the GP3 series with MW Arden, whilst joining the Auto GP World Series, reuniting this time with Ghinzani Racing.  His first GP3 win in Valencia was well deserved, and it looks like the Romanian is continuing his upwards swing to the top of motorsport.  The kid is still only seventeen and is competing at the top with other highly rated drivers including Conor Daly, Kevin Korjus & Tio Ellinas, and is doing very well at it! Expect big things in the upcoming years from him, time is certainly on his side, and the fact he has plenty of talent can only do him well.

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It would not surprise me to see Robert Visoiu in Formula 1 within the next few years.  I will be keeping a keen eye on him.

Kevin Ceccon – Italy’s Next Hope?

Since Jarno Trulli departed Formula One at the end of 2011, there hasn’t been an Italian driver in the sport, which is a big disappointment.  Twenty years ago in 1993 a total of ten Italians raced at some point during the year, but ever since the numbers have been dwindling.  There have been moments when Italian drivers were making inroads on the junior classes, however most of these came to abrupt endings, and leaves 2013 without a single driver from Italy on the F1 grid.

Last year, Davide Valsecchi made a very big impact on the world of the GP2 series, winning the championship for the DAMS team.  However a Formula One race seat failed to materialise, and he was left to pick up the pieces and sign for the Lotus team as their third & reserve driver, a role that does not involve much driving.  In fact the only bit of driving Valsecchi has done so far is one morning of pre-season testing when Kimi Raikkonen was ill.

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With Valsecchi not racing this year, the spotlight is falling on Kevin Ceccon.  The 19-year-old from Clusone in Italy currently sits 9th in the GP2 Series championship, having achieved his maiden podium finish in Monte Carlo earlier this year, driving for the Trident Racing team.

Ceccon made his single-seater debut in the European F3 Open Championship back in 2009 as a fifteen year old, and scored 34 points in finishing eleventh in the championship.  He also contested some events in the Italian Formula Three Championship.  2010 he continued in both series, and won his first single-seater race in the European F3 Open Championship before finishing fourth in the standings.

AutoGP Mugello, Italy 01-02 October 2011

2011 was certainly the Italians outstanding season so far, as he joined the Auto GP series.  Driving for Ombra Racing, Ceccon won the championship with 130 points, beating highly-rated Luca Filippi by 3 points. The only disappointment I imagine Ceccon would have had about that year, was he only won once during the year.  But F1 fans will remember that its certainly possible to win World Championships like that.  Ceccon also made his GP2 debut in 2011 for the Scuderia Coloni team, replacing the injured Davide Rigon, but opted to concentrate on Auto GP after only 8 races.

2012 saw Ceccon drive for Ocean Racing Technology in the GP3 Series, but with not much success as the team struggled with finances.  A single podium finish (in Monaco) saw him finish 9th in the championship with 56 points.  He was the highest placed driver of the three within the team however, as neither Robert Cregan or Carmen Jorda troubled the points.

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2013 saw him return to the GP2 series with Trident, and he scored his first series points in round 5 in Spain, and has scored in every race since, including his podium in Monaco.  He has begun to imprfess in the bigger cars.  He also has Formula One experience under his belt after running for Toro Rosso in the 2011 Young Drivers Test in Abu Dhabi.


So what’s the future for Kevin Ceccon?  While winning the championship in GP2 is unlikely this year, he should hopefully keep his momentum going and challenge for more podiums and even a win.  As he’s so young, another year in GP2 won’t hurt him as much as it would do if he was older, and he should be a championship favourite if he does return next year.  F1 should then be on the horizon for the young man, and it would be fantastic for Italy to have an Italian back on the grid.  The kid certainly has talent, his confidence will be increasing now he’s a regular points scorer, and if he can keep his momentum & confidence, then the sky’s the limit, and F1 should be his final destination.  Only time will tell.

2013 Auto GP World Series Season Preview


2013 Auto GP World Series Season Preview

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs won the 2012 Auto GP championship and promptly moved onto GP2, so its obvious that this championship is worth something.  In fact there is a €200,000 purse up for grabs every race weekend, one of the richest pots in motor racing.  The series has 15 full-time entrants for 2013, with a 16th entrant (Daniel de Jong) running a part-time schedule alongside his full-time campaign in GP2.

So lets take a look at the teams & drivers for the 2013 Auto GP World Series Season.

Super Nova International have an all Italian line-up with Antonio Spavone & Vittorio Ghirelli, Ghirelli has raced in GP3, Formula Renault 3.5 & Formula 2 in the last few years, whilst Spavone has GP3 experience also, and ran in Auto GP in 2012.

Virtuosi UK have another Italian in Andrea Roda driving for them alongside Russian Max Snegirev.  Roda joins from Formula 3, whilst Snegirev returns for a second season in the series having also spent time in Formula 2.

Zele Racing have potentially one of the strongest line-ups on the grid, with reigning Formula 2 Champion Luciano Bacheta joined by F1 & HRT refugee Narain Karthikeyan.  Bacheta has to be one of the favourites for the championship, whilst Karthikeyan will want to prove to the world & himself that it was the car that was holding him back in his F1 career.

Ghinzani Racing have moved from the cancelled Italian F3 series to Auto GP this year, and haved signed highly rated Romanian Robert Visoiu for its only car so far.  Visoiu spent 2013 running a joint campaign in GP3 & Italian F3, where he was racing with ex-F1 racer Piercarlo Ghinzani’s outfit.

Euronova Racing have an all-Japanese line-up for 2013 with Kimiya Sato being joined by Yoshitaka Kuroda.  Sato raced in German F3 in 2012, having previously competed in the Formula 3 Euro Series.  Kuroda joins from Italian F3 having raced previous in Formula Abarth.

Another new team in the series is the Ibiza Racing Team.  Another couple of Italian drivers have been signed here, with Sergio Campana & Giuseppe Cipriani taking the drives.  Campana is in his second season in Auto GP having moved from Italian F3, whilst Cipriani, the oldest driver on the grid at 47, is in his third season.

MLR71 are an Italian team owned by & raced in by Michele la Rosa.  He is joined at the team by Giacomo Ricci, who’s raced for this team in the series last year, having moved on from GP2.

The final team is Manor MP Motorsport.  They have two full time entrants in Italian Riccardo Agostini & Dutchman Meindert van Buuren, whilst another Dutchman Daniel de Jong will race when his GP2 commitments allow.  Agostini is highly rated and is another driver who has come from Italian F3.  Van Buuren adds Auto GP to his Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup duties, a series he raced in last year.  De Jong’s main series this year is GP2, where he raced in collaboration with Auto GP last year too.

2013 Auto GP World Series Season Schedule

Round 1+2: Monza – 23/24 March; Round 3+4: Marrakech – 06/07 April; Round 5+6: Hungaroring – 04/05 May; Round 7+8: Silverstone – 01/02 June; Round 9+10: Zandvoort – 06/07 July; Round 11+12: Nurburgring – 17/18 August; Round 13+14: Donington Park – 31 August/01 September; Round 15+16: Masayrk Circuit – 05/06 October.

The next F1 generation

I’m not just a Formula 1 fan. Oh no. I like to keep an eye on drivers who, with a bit of luck, should make it to Formula 1. Here is a list of drivers who I feel are good enough to potentially reach the dizzy heights of Formula 1 in the next few years or so!

  • Antonio Felix da Costa – Portugal. Looks like the real deal, impressed in GP3 and then took Formula Renault 3.5 by storm when he joined mid-season.  Likely to be the next driver from the Red Bull family to get into Formula 1, remaining in Formula Renault 3.5 for 2013.


  • Robin Frijns – Netherlands. Formula Renault 3.5 champion.  Now signed as the test & third driver for Sauber.  The Netherlands have not had many drivers in Formula 1, though the lack of an actual race seat might harm his progress after two championships in two years in Formula Renault 2.0 & 3.5.


  • Felipe Nasr – Brazil. Looked very strong in his first GP2 season, and now signed up for a second season, switching from DAMS to Carlin, a team he is familiar with having raced for them in British Formula 3.  Should be one to watch.


  • Patric Niederhauser – Switzerland. First year in GP3 and won a few races, and was strong in other races too.  Returning to GP3 with Jenzer Motorsport and should be one to watch out for and potentially a championship favourite.


  • Mitch Evans – New Zealand.  Current GP3 Champion.  Signed for Arden International in GP2, after winning the championship in GP3 with them in 2012.  One of Mark Webbers proteges and is more than likely going to be within the Red Bull family sooner rather than later as hes in GP2 with Christian Horner’s team.


  • Tio Ellinas – Cyprus. Up and coming GP3 star, winning season finale in Monza, one to look out for if he, as expected, remains in GP3.  Cannot think of another Cypriot in motor sport, let alone one that has talent, and is certainly worth keeping an eye out for.


  • James Calado – Great Britain. Looked very impressive in his first GP2 season, winning a few races and making his highly rated teammate look pretty ordinary.  He should be a championship favourite as he’s re-signed with the ART GP2 team for a second season.


  • Sam Bird – Great Britain. Should be there already, has looked good in both GP2 & Formula Renault 3.5 in the last few years.  Grabbed a late deal with the new RUSSIAN TIME team in GP2 and will hope to prove himself once more in the main support serie for Formula 1.  Mercedes still have him as their test driver so there is still hope for Sam that he’ll make it to F1.

GP2 BARCELONE 20-22 march 2011 © CLEMENT MARIN

  • Kevin Magnussen – Denmark. Son of Jan, looks better than his dad. A few race wins in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2012, joining DAMS for 2013. Tested for McLaren in the Abu Dhabi Young Drivers test in 2012.


  • Alexander Rossi – United States.  The closest the United States have to a Grand Prix driver.  Highly rated by the Caterham set-up and has been given the third driver role within the Caterham F1 team for 2013.  Lack of racing though, like Frijns, could affect his career prospects.


  • Robert Wickens – Canada.  Like Rossi for the USA, Wickens is possibly the closest Canada has for a GP driver right now.  Highly rated by many, winning the Formula Renault 3.5 series and being runner up in GP3 before advancing to the Mercedes DTM set-up.  Could follow Paul di Resta into F1 via DTM.


  • Luciano Bacheta – Great Britain. Potentially the last Formula 2 champion, and was well deserved.  Had options for 2013, and chose to compete in AutoGP World Series rather than either Formula Renault 3.5 or GP2.  Earned a Williams test drive for winning the F2 title and impressed the team during it.


  • Daniel Abt – Germany.  Runner up to Mitch Evans in GP3 in 2012, and advances to GP2 as James Calado’s teammate at Lotus in 2013.  Could be one of the next top German drivers to enter F1 in a few years.  Must keep his momentum however, and will need to impress against one of the GP2 championship favourites.


  • Alexander Sims – Great Britain.  Seems to have given up on single seaters, but one of the quickest drivers out there when he’s driving.  Only the cost of getting to F1 is hindering him.  Racing in the sportscar scene but was willing to test a GP2 car at the end of 2012, perhaps indicating that a return to open wheel racing could be on the cards if the right offer came along.  Very talented.


  • Conor Daly – United States.
  • Fabio Leimer – Switzerland
  • Stefano Coletti – Monaco
  • Matheo Tuscher – Switzerland
  • Arthur Pic – France
  • Nico Muller – Switzerland
  • Albert Costa – Spain
  • Marco Sorensen – Denmark
  • Jack Harvey – Great Britain
  • Adrain Quaife-Hobbs – Great Britain
  • Roberto Mehri – Spain
  • Richie Stanaway – New Zealand
  • Sergey Sirotkin – Russia
  • Stoffel Vandoorne – Belgium
  • Alice Powell – Great Britain
  • Lewis Williamson – Great Britain
  • Brendon Hartley – New Zealand
  • Tom Dillmann – France
  • Robert Visoiu – Romania
  • Daniel Juncadella – Spain
  • Christian Vietoris – Germany
  • Aaro Vainio – Finland
  • Nick Yelloly – Great Britain
  • Sergio Canamasas – Spain
  • Jolyon Palmer – Great Britain
  • Christopher Zanella – Switzerland
  • Will Stevens – Great Britain
  • Nathanael Berthon – France
  • Dino Zamparelli – Great Britain