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GP2 and GP3 Set to Expand in 2012

December 17, 2011

Next season will see the GP2 Series expand its horizons with trips to Asia and the Middle East alongside its traditional European rounds.

Beyond their usual Formula 1 support slots, GP2 will also see rounds take place in Malaysia, Bahrain and Singapore in 2012, with another stand-alone event in Bahrain is also due to take place one week after Formula 1 visits in April.

It will mark the first time GP2 has visited the streets of Singapore, although the category has previously travelled to both Sepang and Sakhir in its GP2 Asia format.
The calendar has proved somewhat controversial with regards to the inclusion of two rounds in Bahrain, during what is still a considerably potent and volatile period in the nation’s history.

Another point of contention is the potential increased costs involved for competitors. Rumblings of budgets beyond the €2 million mark had been touted at the beginning of 2011 – a number that may rise significantly with trips to the Far East now included in the package.
Should budgets be pushed to the limit, late season driver changes may become a common sight in coming seasons.

The second event in Bahrain may also prove a difficult prospect – with Formula 1 absent and GP2 acting as the lead event, attendance at the circuit may drop far below previous numbers.

2012 GP2 calendar:
Date Venue
28 Feb-1 March      Jerez, Spain
6-8 March           Barcelona, Spain
23-25 March         Sepang, Malaysia
20-22 April         Sakhir, Bahrain
26-28 April         Sakhir, Bahrain
11-13 May           Barcelona, Spain
24-26 May           Monte Carlo, Monaco
22-24 June          Valencia, Spain
6-8 July            Silverstone, Great Britain
20-22 July          Hockenheim, Germany
27-29 July          Budapest, Hungary
31 Aug-2 Sept       Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
7-9 Sept            Monza, Italy
21-23 Sept          Marina Bay, Singapore

The 2012 GP3 schedule looks like sticking to eight rounds if series organisers have their own way.

As of now, there are seven confirmed rounds, although an eighth event to support the Monaco Grand Prix is still being discussed.
GP3 did initially look to grabbing a place in Monaco for this year’s Grand Prix, only for the request to be turned down due to an overly compacted schedule. However, Formula Renault 3.5 has still yet to confirm its position at Monaco next year, potentially leaving the door open for GP3 to slip in.

There are also three pre-season test sessions at Estoril, Barcelona and Silverstone for the GP3 series with a fourth coming mid-season at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia.
With Turkey now off the Formula 1 calendar, neither GP2 nor GP3 are set to visit the Istanbul Park Circuit next year.

2012 GP3 calendar:

Date Venue
21-22 Feb           Estoril, Portugal
12-13 March         Barcelona, Spain
11-12 April         Silverstone, Great Britain
14-15 June          Valencia, Spain
11-13 May           Barcelona, Spain
24-27 May           Monte-Carlo, Monaco*
22-24 June          Valencia, Spain
6-8 July            Silverstone, Great Britain
20-22 July          Hockenheim, Germany
27-29 July          Budapest, Hungary
31 Aug-2 Sept       Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
7-9 Sept            Monza, Italy

* Subject to ASN approval
  1. GP2 drivers at Singapore’s chicane could be, er, even more ‘entertaining’ than at Monaco. Are we sure this is a good idea? 🙂
    Going to Bahrain twice is twice as stupid as F1 and WEC going there.
    I like the idea of extending the series to non-European venues into the main series. The Asia Series didn’t really add anything since it featured a selection of the same drivers against weaker competition who were only there to pay for the flights or get a “test” run. Ultimately I’d love to see GP2 race alongside F1 as often as Moto2 does with MotoGP (only missing one round per year) but I also know that could only happen if budgets were slashed somehow, and I don’t know how.

  2. Leigh O'Gorman permalink

    Problem at the moment is budgets are already at stretching point – I had heard from various sources that GP2 in 2011 for a front-to-midfield team required in and around €2-2.5 million. I have no idea how the 2012 season measures up to that in terms of cost.

  3. Very surprised that Abu Dhabi isn’t also part of the GP2 schedule, even if it wasn’t supporting the GP. Makes more sense than a second event in Bahrain less than a week later.

    • Leigh O'Gorman permalink

      There doesn’t appear to be much on at Yas marina in April, but it’s possible some events are yet to be confirmed.
      As an aside, the circuit organise cycling and running events every Tuesday. They also run open drag racing events every couple of weeks – so there you go…

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