The GP2 Main Series has announced a nine-round schedule for its seventh year of competition.
Unlike this year’s calendar, the Championship will run exclusively in Europe, with the end of year Abu Dhabi race dropped; most likely to return to the 2011-12 GP2 Asia Series.
In order to accommodate the end retirement of the GP2 08/10 chassis, the 2010 season concluded in the Middle East; however with the new car ready for action, such an arrangement will not be necessary in twelve months time.
The new GP2 cars will be ready to race when the Asia series begins at Abu Dhabi in February. At this stage, it remains to be seen whether the 2011-12 Asia Series will be filled out with extra races between November and February.
A final series of tests has also been organised for April, with a pair of sessions been run at Silverstone (April 5-6), followed by three days of running at Barcelona (April 19-20).
The Main series will kick off in Istanbul in May and will support Formula 1 through its European season, eventually finishing at Monza in September. Along the way, there will be rounds at Barcelona, Monaco, Valencia, Silverstone, Nurburgring, Budapest and Spa-Francorchamps.
There is a gap of four weeks between the Monaco and Valencia rounds, while Formula 1 travels to Canada. Unlike this year, no provisions have been made to detour the GP2 series to Portimao – that race was eventually cancelled prior to the start of the 2010 Championship.
Several drivers also made announcements in the last few days – Charles Pic, Giedo van der Garde have confirmed that they will drive for Barwa Addax, while Jules Bianchi is to be teamed up with Sauber Formula 1 reserve pilot, Esteban Gutierrez at Lotus-ART. Already seated for 2011 are Jolyon Palmer (iSport International), Fabio Leimer (Rapax), Michael Herck (Scuderia Coloni) and Stefano Coletti (Trident Racing).
All of the above will also be contesting the 2011 GP2 Asia Series with their respective squads, bar Bianchi and Coletti.
Another schedule confirmed this week was the 2011 Superleague Series. The single-seater Championship has announced twelve race weekends; however only nine of them have been solidified.
It does seem rather worrying at this late stage that the last three rounds of 2011 are simply listed as “Non-European” events. Should they be finalised, rounds ten and eleven will run in October, with the final race weekend taking place in November.
Along with seven weekend fixtures in Europe – including one in the re-opened Donington Park in early August – there are to be two rounds in China; the first at Ordos, followed by a return to the street circuit in Beijing. This season’s Beijing adventure ended up being a non-Championship event, due to the circuit failing some relatively basic track safety directions. The other six confirmed race weekends take in Monza, Portimao, Assen, Nurburgring, Navarra and Zolder.
2011 GP2 Main Series Calendar: Test - Silverstone, UK (April 5/6) Test - Barcelona, Spain (April 19/20) -------- Round 1 - Istanbul, Turkey (May 7/8) Round 2 - Barcelona, Spain (May 21/22) Round 3 - Monte Carlo, Monaco (May 27/28) Round 4 - Valencia, Spain (June 25/26) Round 5 - Silverstone, Great Britain (July 9/10) Round 6 - Nurburgring, Germany (July 23/24) Round 7 - Budapest, Hungary (July 30/31) Round 8 - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (August 27/28) Round 9 - Monza, Italy (September 10/11) Provisional 2011 Superleague Formula Calendar: Round 1 - Monza, Italy (April 16/17) Round 2 - Portimao, Portugal (May 7/8) Round 3 - Assen, Holland (June 4/5) Round 4 - Nürburgring, Germany (June 18/19) Round 5 - Navarra, Spain (July 2/3) Round 6 - Zolder, Belgium (July 16/17) Round 7 - Donington Park, UK (August 6/7) Round 8 - Ordos, China (September 10/11) Round 9 - Beijing, China (September 17/18) Round 10 - TBC Non-European (October) Round 11 - TBC Non-European (October) Round 12 - TBC Non-European (November)