Colombian racer Julián Leal has committed to a fifth season in the GP2 Series and a 2nd with Carlin.
The 24-year-old scored two podiums at the beginning of the season in Bahrain, but found life tough going thereafter and eventually finished 10th in the standings.
While the results on paper may not instantly impress, the former Italian Formula 3000 champion did show improved speed and was more than occasionally close to his F1-bound teammate Felipe Nasr.
In a statement Leal was keen to press home how vital Carlin were in his development this year. “With all the teams I have worked with this is the best one for me,” said Leal. “It’s a team that listens to what you say and follows you and advises you and this is good for me because I can learn a lot in a good environment.”
Team boss Trevor Carlin added, “Based on the pace we have as a team and Julian has as a driver, together we should have had better results this year. Next year we intend to deliver our full potential with Julian who is a delight to have at Carlin; he is a great team player and great to work with.”
It would be interesting to note if Leal thinks he a genuine title contender or a driver keen to learn more before moving on to pastures anew. Back to Leal: “I’m very happy for this opportunity. I want to prepare a lot and work hard for next year and get the car as perfect as we can. I want to start the year as we did this year [with a podium] but then maintain that performance for the whole season.”
Leal enjoyed a reasonable three days testing at Abu Dhabi, with the Colombian setting plenty of times around the mid-table range – but since when has that ever told the story in testing.