The effects of global meltdown are seeping into motorsport and the GP2 series hasn’t remained immune to it either. While the teams are ready to test their new cars for the 2009 season in March, almost half the drivers’ seats are still up for grabs.
India’s Karun Chandhok, who was associated with UK-based iSport last year, is yet to finalise a deal.
“There are 5-6 teams that I am looking at,” the 25-year-old said on the sidelines of the JK Tyre Baja SAE event in Indore.
“In the next two weeks I will decide which team is offering the best contract.” The Indian is most likely to sign up with Italian F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella’s GP2 team, Fisichella Motor Sport International.
“This is the most difficult part of the season, it’s what I call the insomnia period. Once the season starts you slip into the routine of things.”
While the fixed costs of teams in GP2 remains pretty much the same, the onus is on the drivers to bring in the sponsors.
“I have to raise sponsors to the tune of 5 million euros, which has been difficult this time. It’s not just me but all the drivers who are suffering. Generally by December 31 we like to have the deals done.”
To further dent their hopes, Red Bull, who was shouldering one-third of their sponsorship has pulled out of GP2. A void, Chandhok admits, that is extremely difficult to fill during recession. “Maybe it won’t be that difficult if I decide to race in Formula 2, but at this moment that would be a step back in my career.