The GP2 Asia Series has just had its full calendar released… and it comes down to only three race weekends at only to circuits in the Middle East.
The series will begin on the weekend of February 11th/12th at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit, before heading to the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain one week later. The series will then run its course three weeks later with another round in Bahrain, which will also act as a support race for the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Championship build-up will consist of two official test sessions, both at Yas Marina, during the opening week of February. At this stage, 26 entries have been confirmed for the shortened championship, although drivers for those cars have yet to be named.
Part of the reason for the short calendar, is because GP2 is running with brand new machinery from next year onwards and rather than début the new car in the Main Series, organisers have chosen to give the new chassis a run in the Asia Championship.
That the GP2 organisers are launching the car in Asia is a particularly interesting move. Whereas past seasons have seen many higher regarded drivers skip the Asian rounds to concentrate on preparation the European races, débuting the new car at Abu Dhabi in February may wet the taste buds of young drivers looking to secure an advantage for the Main Series.
Other wise, a three round series holds little of any interest for anyone, especially when a much more highly rated Main Series begins less than two months later, with races consistently in front of the Formula 1 paddock.
The GP2 Asia Series has been run on three occasions, with its winners including former-Renault driver Romain Grosjean, current Sauber pilot Kamui Kobayashi and GP2 Main series competitor Davide Valsecchi.
GP2 Asia Series official test sessions
Feb 2-3 Abu Dhabi – Yas Marina Circuit
Feb 6-7 Abu Dhabi – Yas Marina Circuit
2011 GP2 Asia Series
Feb 11-12 Abu Dhabi – Yas Marina Circuit
Feb 18-19 Bahrain – Sakhir
Mar 12-13 Bahrain – Sakhir