Austria racer René Binder received an early birthday present when he joined Arden International prior to the Christmas break.
A race winner in the ATS Formula 3 Cup, Binder has endured a tricky spell in GP2 since signing with perennial backmarkers Venezuela GP Lazarus toward the end of the 2012 season.
The Austria does not underestimate the lessons learned with the Italian squad and is keen to make 2014 the year where he climbs the order. “I learned a lot from Tancredi Pagiaro [Venezuela GP Lazarus Team Principal] and his team, and I’m very thankful to them for that, but now I feel ready to take the next step with Arden.”
Following some initial meetings, a test was secured at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit, eventually leading to the deal between the parties. Binder commented that, “They had approached me in August already and invited me to the winter tests after a first meeting. It seems that Arden has been watching me for some time, but the tests in Abu Dhabi were the clincher.”
The 22-year-old scored eleven of Venezuela GP Lazarus’ twelve points in 2013, although a lack of stability on the other side of the garage skewered the balance of the team. Scoring his complete tally in the opening four rounds, Binder appeared to be building a respectable total, until the monetised merry-go-round began.
While the Austrian may have publicly considered these to be additional opponents, it is more likely that the constant driver swapping merely made it more difficult for the team to progress. “Thank goodness I was after all able to deliver a few good results in the first half of the season, such as 6th and 7th place during my début in Monte Carlo,” noted a rather relieved Binder. “With Kevin Giovesi, Fabrizio Crestani and Vittorio Ghirelli, I also had three different team colleagues against whom I was able to prevail. And Vittorio did after all win the Auto GP Series…”
Binder joins an Arden team that also had a tricky 2013 season. With Mitch Evans and Johnny Cecotto Jr on board, the British team slipped to 8th in the Teams’ Championship after scoring 97 points. Whereas Evans secured four podiums, Cecotto Jr earned mostly criticism for what can be best described as “robust driving standards”.
Despite this, Arden do have plenty of potential and past success as race winners in the GP2 Series and they will no doubt be aiming for higher this season. Meanwhile Binder is aware of the increase in pressure that comes with this change of team. “My goal is to make the breakthrough with Arden […] and ideally to deliver one or the other top result even before Spielberg.” Binder continued, “I always try to concentrate on the essentials and to make as few mistakes as possible. We will have to wait and see what happens next year in this new environment.”