GP2: Line-up for pre-season test in Abu Dhabi confirmed

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The full entry list for the upcoming GP2 Series pre-season test in Abu Dhabi has been confirmed as teams begin their final preparations before the start of the new racing year.

Formula 1 may resume racing next weekend in Australia, but its premier feeder series won’t be back in action until the middle of April in support of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

However, the GP2 drivers and teams will get their first taste of on-track action in 2015 at the Yas Marina Circuit on Monday, with the first of two pre-season tests getting underway.

The majority of the teams have confirmed their drivers for the season, but a handful will get a chance to impress in Abu Dhabi and make a last-ditch bid to secure one of the remaining seats.

MP Motorsport will run with Italian driver Vittorio Ghirelli in Abu Dhabi alongside Daniel De Jong, with the latter being firmed up for a second season with the Dutch team.

As reported on Saturday, Status Grand Prix will field Richie Stanaway for all three days of testing in Abu Dhabi as he bids to graduate from GP3 in 2015. Swiss driver Zoel Amberg is also hoping to impress for Lazarus GP with the seat vacated by American driver Conor Daly up for grabs.

The only team that is yet to confirm either of its drivers for 2015, Hilmer Motorsport, runs two former GP2 drivers in this first pre-season test: Sergio Canamasas and Axcil Jefferies.

Following this three-day test, the teams will meet once again in Bahrain from April 1-3 for the final running before the season opener at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 18.

GP2 Pre-Season Test Abu Dhabi – Entry List

CAR
DRIVER
COUNTRY
TEAM
01
Pierre Gasly
FRA
DAMS
02
Alex Lynn
GBR
DAMS
03
Julian Leal
COL
Carlin
04
Marco Sorensen
DEN
Carlin
05
Stoffel Vandoorne
BEL
ART Grand Prix
06
Nobuharu Matsushita
JAP
ART Grand Prix
07
Jordan King
GBR
Racing Engineering
08
Alexander Rossi
USA
Racing Engineering
09
Mitch Evans
NZL
RUSSIAN TIME
10
Artem Markelov
RUS
RUSSIAN TIME
11
Raffaele Marciello
ITA
Trident
12
Rene Binder
AUT
Trident
14
Arthur Pic
FRA
Campos Racing
15
Rio Haryanto
INA
Campos Racing
16
Vittorio Ghirelli
ITA
MP Motorsport
17
Daniel De Jong
NED
MP Motorsport
18
Sergey Sirotkin
RUS
Rapax
19
Robert Visoiu
ROU
Rapax
20
André Negrao
BRA
Arden International
21
Norman Nato
FRA
Arden International
22
Marlon Stockinger
PHI
Status Grand Prix
23
Richie Stanaway
NZL
Status Grand Prix
24
Sergio Canamasas
ESP
Hilmer Motorsport
25
Axcil Jefferies
ZIM
Hilmer Motorsport
26
Nathanaël Berthon
FRA
Lazarus
27
Zoel Amberg
SUI
Lazarus

 

New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

James Black/IndyCar
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Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

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