The place are they now? The 12 totally different champions of the defunct GP2 sequence : PlanetF1

The Method 2 sequence has turn out to be a longtime proving floor for F1. Beforehand often known as GP2, the sequence has given lots of at the moment’s drivers their large headstart…

Method 2 has devised as a particular feeder class for F1 again in 2005, though it was initially christened ‘GP2’ till its rebranding for the 2017 season.

Wanting again over the listing of the champions of the sequence, there are some very outstanding names – in addition to others who’ve light from reminiscence.

Let’s look by the names and uncover what every GP2 Champion is as much as these days.

Nico Rosberg (2005)

Racing for ART, Nico Rosberg turned the inaugural GP2 Champion in 2005 as he scored 5 wins and 4 podiums en path to the title.

He was rewarded for his efforts with an F1 drive at Williams, helped by the marketability of the Rosberg title together with his father Keke successful the F1 championship with Williams in 1982.

He made an immediate impression, scoring the quickest lap and two factors for seventh place in his very first race. Nevertheless, 2006 proved to be a troublesome 12 months for him and Williams – one other seventh place on the Nurburgring being his solely different factors end.

Rosberg made a fame for himself over the next three years, with a finest championship end result coming in 2009 as he scored factors in 11 of the 17 races.

He landed a seat alongside the returning Michael Schumacher at Mercedes for 2010, and proved to have the measure of the seven-time World Champion over the next three seasons as Schumacher’s powers had waned throughout his years away.

The dynamic was to alter for 2013, with Lewis Hamilton coming onboard as his teammate after Schumacher’s last retirement, as the previous childhood mates shortly found racing alongside one another on the similar staff led to tensions rising.

Mercedes turned the dominant staff in F1 in 2014, with Rosberg and Hamilton battling one another relentlessly – resulting in a number of on-track clashes. Hamilton would win the titles in 2014 and 2015, with Rosberg successful it in 2016 after a very bitter title combat. Two days after clinching the title in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg promptly retired from F1 and has by no means proven a want to return to the game.

Today, Rosberg plies his commerce as a broadcaster (recurrently showing on Sky F1 as a pundit), and has invested in a number of start-up corporations within the areas of sustainability, e-mobility and know-how, and is a shareholder in Method E.

He is also the brains behind the Greentech Pageant commerce truthful, and established the Rosberg x Rosberg Excessive E Staff.

Nico Rosberg waving. Abu Dhabi November 2016

Lewis Hamilton (2006)

Additionally racing for ART, Hamilton adopted within the footsteps of Rosberg as he claimed the GP2 title in his first 12 months within the sequence. Whereas Hamilton may solely handle one pole place that 12 months, he additionally achieved 4 victories as he beat Nelson Piquet Junior by 12 factors general.

The retirement of Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in 2006 had knock-on results for Hamilton, as McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen moved to the Scuderia to exchange him. Following the mid-season departure of Juan Pablo Montoya, it left McLaren with the choice of operating junior driver Hamilton or skilled tester Pedro de la Rosa alongside Fernando Alonso for 2007.

McLaren, below Ron Dennis, would decide on taking a danger on Hamilton, with the British driver instantly proving aggressive as he raced to a podium end first outing in Australia. He would end on the rostrum at each race till the tenth spherical of the season, together with taking his maiden win on the Canadian GP.

Inner battle at McLaren meant that neither Hamilton or Alonso would beat Raikkonen to the title, however the departure of Alonso on the finish of a fraught 2007 meant Hamilton assumed the defacto staff management position in 2008. Going up in opposition to Ferrari as soon as once more, Hamilton would get the higher of Felipe Massa and gained his maiden title within the dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix.

In 2009, McLaren failed to reply effectively to the dramatic rule modifications and, whereas the staff would win races yearly till 2012, Hamilton was by no means fairly capable of maintain a title problem in opposition to Pink Bull and Ferrari.

After a 12 months of disappointment in 2012, Hamilton jumped ship to Mercedes alongside Rosberg and shortly discovered his ft. Profitable the intra-Mercedes combat in 2014 and ’15, his defeat to Rosberg in 2016 was merely a blip in a juggernaut of titles as Hamilton was paired up with a extra subservient Valtteri Bottas from 2017 onwards.

It took till 2021 for Hamilton to be toppled once more, with Pink Bull’s Max Verstappen ending the streak. Hamilton continues to race for Mercedes, and can accomplish that once more in 2023.

Timo Glock (2007)

The German driver turned the 2007 GP2 Champion, the primary to take action having already raced in Method 1.

Having served as a check driver for Jordan in 2004, Glock stood in for Giorgio Pantano on the Canadian Grand Prix – scoring seventh place after a number of automobiles have been disqualified for technical infringements.

However, as a consequence of what he known as ‘political video games’, Glock was missed for a seat in 2005 because the staff modified fingers. With no affiliation to a different staff, Glock was pressured to take a step backward to be able to attempt to regain momentum in his motorsport profession.

Transferring to america to race in Champcar, Glock would end in second after a terrific battle with Oriol Servia in Montreal, however opted to return to Europe to compete within the 2006 GP2 Championship. Beginning off with BCN Competicion, a transfer to iSport halfway by the 12 months noticed him meet with fast stronger outcomes.

That momentum carried on into 2007, the place Glock gained the title with 5 victories and an 11-point lead over future F1 teammate Lucas Di Grassi.

Glock was signed up by Toyota to affix their F1 squad for 2008, changing Ralf Schumacher, though needed to undergo the method of the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board to take action having already signed a testing contract with BMW.

Racing with Toyota led to largely midfield mediocrity, though some eye-catching drives included a podium on the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix, in addition to two fourth-places.

Glock would end in second place in his last race with Toyota, Singapore 2009, earlier than a crash in qualifying at Suzuka resulted in him being changed by Kamui Kobayashi for the Brazilian Grand Prix – Glock having suffered a cracked vertebra.

Toyota withdrew from F1 on the finish of 2009, with Glock having to scramble to discover a seat elsewhere. New entrants Manor, racing as Virgin, signed him for 2010, however there was little success for the financially tiny staff.

Glock would by no means rating an F1 level once more, together with his finest end result being a twentieth of 26 place end within the Drivers’ Championship in 2012. Whereas he had a contract with the staff for 2013, then known as Marussia, he and the staff break up methods earlier than the season began – Glock transferring to the DTM as an alternative.

Between 2013 and 2020, Glock turned a veteran of the sequence as he raced for BMW. His first win got here at Hockenheim in 2013, together with his finest championship end result being fifth within the 2018 sequence.

Glock’s 2022 racing schedule has seen him take part in some DTM rounds, with Ceccato Motors, in addition to teaming up with Felipe Massa for a Inventory Automobile Brasil race earlier this 12 months.

Timo Glock racing in DTM. Hockenheim October 2021. Former Method 1 driver Timo Glock prepares for a race in DTM. Hockenheim October 2021.

Giorgio Pantano (2008)

Like Glock, Pantano raced in GP2 after making his F1 debut. Driving for Jordan in 2004, Pantano was with out a drive for 2005 and switched to GP2 to race with SuperNova.

A troublesome first half of the season yielded no outcomes, however he got here alive within the second half with a number of podiums as he scored 49 factors throughout 12 races.

Pantano additionally took half in two IndyCar races with Chip Ganassi, however couldn’t safe a full-time drive – he additionally carried out some testing in Champcar.

For 2006, Pantano moved to FMS in GP2 and completed in fifth place general, together with a victory on the Magny-Cours spherical. For 2007, racing for Adrian Campos’ eponymous staff, his championship end result improved to 3rd with two victories.

2008 was the excessive level of his time within the sequence, successful the title outright for Racing Engineering with 4 victories throughout the season. Nevertheless, his success meant he couldn’t stay within the sequence and, for 2009, Pantano needed to look elsewhere.

He joined the short-lived Superleague sequence that 12 months, successful once more at Magny-Cours. Since then, Pantano’s profession behind the wheel has been piecemeal – with occasional IndyCar outings in 2011 and ’12. Racing absolutely within the 2014 Blancpain Dash Sequence, en path to 14th general, Pantano’s racing profession since then has dried up.

Nico Hulkenberg (2009)

The German driver entered GP2 from Method 3 Euro Sequence, remaining with ART for the change of championship. Hulkenberg proved unstoppable throughout his season in GP2, successful 5 races and wrapping up the title with two races remaining.

Hulkenberg replicated the profession development of Rosberg by instantly signing up with Williams for 2010 and had an affordable season with seven factors finishes. Claiming his maiden pole place in Brazil, a collision throughout the race meant he solely completed in eighth place and, regardless of a strong 12 months, he was missed for a seat for 2011.

As a substitute, Hulkenberg switched to Pressure India as a check driver however secured a return to the grid for 2012 with the identical staff.

Hulkenberg turned a well known midfield runner over the following eight years, driving for Pressure India, Sauber, and the Renault groups – by no means managing to safe a podium end in that point.

Except for F1, Hulkenberg gained the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2015 alongside Porsche teammates Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy.

His final full-time drive was with Renault in 2019, though he has appeared in its place driver at Racing Level/Aston Martin in each the 2020 and 2022 seasons – his most up-to-date look being on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as a stand-in for Sebastian Vettel.

Hulkenberg additionally seems as a daily pundit for Germany’s F1 protection, and has been linked with a potential F1 return with Haas in 2023.

Nico Hulkenberg talking to an engineer at the Saudi Arabian GP. Jeddah March 2022. Nico Hulkenberg speaking to an engineer on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Jeddah March 2022.

Pastor Maldonado (2010)

Venezuelan racer Pastor Maldonado had a protracted profession in GP2, having first entered the sequence in 2007 with Trident Racing. Profitable his first race in Monaco that 12 months, Maldonado picked up a fame for being quick however erratic – a fame he carried with him all through his whole top-level motorsport profession.

Profitable the Spa dash race in 2008 was the spotlight of his second season in GP2, having switched to Piquet Sports activities, whereas a transfer to the aggressive ART squad for 2009 noticed him transfer as much as sixth general with two victories.

His 2010 season with Rapax lastly noticed Maldonado come good, as he gained six races en path to the title. Between that, and his big monetary backing by Venezuelan oil firm PDVSA, Williams opted to signal Maldonado rather than Hulkenberg for 2011.

Maldonado’s error-prone fame continued to hold over him, with the Venezuelan managing simply two factors finishes earlier than he claimed an astonishing victory on the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix – Maldonado not placing a wheel unsuitable throughout race-long stress being utilized by Fernando Alonso.

Regardless of the victory, Maldonado couldn’t get close to replicating the end result once more and he completed fifteenth general that season – he would handle only a single level in 2013.

A transfer to Lotus for 2014 didn’t meet with a lot success both, though he doubled his factors whole (to 2 factors!). His last season, in 2015, netted him 27 factors by six factors finishes.

With no race drive for 2017, Maldonado turned a check driver for Pirelli, earlier than switching to the World Endurance Championship in 2018. Racing with Dragonspeed within the LMP2 class, Maldonado gained the Daytona 24 Hours alongside his Dragonspeed teammates in 2019.

Nevertheless, Maldonado’s driving choices seem to have dried up since, with no top-level motorsport appearances since 2019.

Romain Grosjean (2011)

Transferring as much as GP2 from Formule 3 in 2008, Grosjean made an immediate affect by successful his fourth race and coming residence fourth general.

Persevering with that momentum into 2009, driving for Campos & Addax, Grosjean acquired the decision as much as the Renault F1 staff to exchange Nelson Piquet Junior because the true story behind the controversial 2008 Singapore Grand Prix emerged.

Nevertheless, Grosjean was forged apart by Renault on the conclusion of 2009, with former Addax teammate Vitaly Petrov being signed up as an alternative.

This meant Grosjean needed to go scrambling for a drive, discovering one in GT1 and likewise with DAMS within the Auto GP sequence. Linking up with DAMS proved vital, as he returned to GP2 in 2011 with DAMS and put in a dominant season – successful 5 races to win the title by 35 factors.

Grosjean thus acquired the nod to return to F1, returning again to the Renault staff (now known as Lotus), as he teamed up with Kimi Raikkonen.

Grosjean had a troubled begin to his F1 profession, proving himself able to immense drives to podium finishes, in addition to getting caught up in frequent accidents that led Mark Webber to model him a ‘first lap nutcase’. Triggering an enormous first nook crash at Spa, Grosjean turned the one driver in current historical past to choose up a race ban as a consequence of his driving requirements.

The ban appeared to assist calm Grosjean, who put in a sterling 2013 season to far more intently match the performances of an more and more disinterested Raikkonen. A continuing podium finisher within the last races, Grosjean completed seventh general – the best level of his F1 profession.

Two years of battle have been to comply with in 2014 and 2015 as Lotus fell off the boil, however Grosjean was provided a brand new lifeline because the American staff Haas entered the fray. Grosjean turned one of many heroes of the midfield between 2016 and 2020, sometimes pumping in eye-catching drives to excessive factors locations.

Nevertheless, with Haas needing a monetary injection for 2021, Grosjean was dropped because the staff changed each of their drivers for rookies. Grosjean’s profession in F1 got here to an finish a race early, as a consequence of a terrifying fireball crash on the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, that resulted in him choosing up burn accidents to his fingers.

With no F1 drive for 2021, Grosjean converted to IndyCar and picked up three podiums in what was a part-time programme. For 2022, becoming a member of frontrunners Andretti Autosport, Grosjean now competes fulltime within the American sequence.

Nico Hulkenberg Romain Grosjean Nico Hulkenberg with Romain Grosjean

Davide Valsecchi (2012)

The excitable Italian raced in GP2 between 2008 and 2012, with outfits like Durango, Addax, iSport, and Caterham. Nevertheless, regardless of a win in yearly other than 2009, it wasn’t till 2012 that Valsecchi actually got here to life – successful 4 races en path to the title.

Participating within the Younger Driver Take a look at in Abu Dhabi with HRT on the finish of the 2010 season, and having taken half in observe for the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix with Caterham, Valsecchi signed up as a check driver for the Lotus staff for 2013.

With Kimi Raikkonen sitting out the ultimate races of the 12 months, Valsecchi was hopeful of getting the nod to exchange him. However, with the staff frightened about their standing within the Constructors’ Championship, skilled Finn Heikki Kovalainen was given the cockpit – not that it made a lot distinction, as he failed to attain any factors both.

Except for a handful of races in Blancpain in 2016, Valsecchi hasn’t raced in top-level motorsport since – he turned a broadcaster by becoming a member of Sky Italia in 2016 and hasn’t seemed again in that profession path ever since.

Fabio Leimer (2013)

Leimer gained the FP2 championship on the fourth time of asking, as he drove for Racing Engineering. With three wins and common podiums, his 201 factors tally was sufficient to beat Sam Chicken by 20 factors by season finish.

Nevertheless, whereas Chicken has gone on to have a profitable motorsport profession, Leimer’s profession nearly instantly collapsed following his title win.

Becoming a member of Revolt Racing within the WEC for 2014, the primary half of the championship went with out a single level for him and his teammates, though the second half of the 12 months netted him a complete of 19 factors and seventeenth general.

Leimer was all set for a transfer to Japan’s Tremendous Method for 2015, however monetary issues meant his contract with Mugen was terminated earlier than the season started.

He was signed as Manor’s reserve driver for 2015, participating in FP1 on the Hungarian Grand Prix, in addition to racing for Virgin for 2 races within the Method E championship.

Leimer’s most up-to-date outstanding race was at Mugello in 2017, when he gained a Trofeo Pirelli Professional spherical driving a Ferrari 488.

Jolyon Palmer (2014)

The British driver, son of F1 racer Jonathan Palmer, gained the GP2 title in 2014 whereas driving for DAMS.

Profitable 4 races and taking three pole positions, he beat Stoffel Vandoorne by 47 factors.

Whereas he examined with Pressure India on the finish of that season, he signed up with Lotus for 2015 – changing into a check and reserve driver behind full timers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.

When Renault took over the staff throughout that 12 months, Palmer was given the enhance of being promoted to a race driver for 2016 as he’d line up alongside Kevin Magnussen.

It wasn’t a very good 12 months for both driver, though Palmer didn’t fare fairly in addition to Magnussen – the Dane managing to attain seven factors versus Palmer’s solitary level for tenth at Sepang.

The sample continued into 2017, with Magnussen scoring 19 factors throughout 5 finishes, whereas Palmer managed only one factors end with sixth in Singapore.

Whereas a very good end result, it was too little to save lots of Palmer’s profession, and he was proven the door for 2018. Becoming a member of the BBC as a pundit, Palmer has left his racing profession behind as his media profession has taken off – he’s now a daily contributor to the official F1 web site in addition to his BBC duties.

Stoffel Vandoorne (2015)

Racing for ART, Belgian racer Stoffel Vandoorne turned in some of the dominant GP2 campaigns ever seen as he romped to seven victories in 2015. This gave him a 160 level lead within the sequence, successful outright with 4 races nonetheless remaining.

Turning to Tremendous Method for 2016, Vandoorne acquired his first style of F1 when he stood in for Fernando Alonso on the season opener in Bahrain – taking residence some extent on his debut. He additionally completed fourth general within the Japanese championship.

Jenson Button’s retirement on the finish of 2016 gave Vandoorne a shot at a fulltime drive in F1, teaming up with Alonso. Nevertheless, whereas placing in two moderately respectable seasons alongside the veteran World Champion, Vandoorne’s incapability to match the heroics of Alonso noticed him out on his ear on the finish of 2018.

Vandoorne joined Mercedes placeholder staff HWA Racelab in Method E nearly instantly, ending sixteenth general in his first season, earlier than changing into a Mercedes works driver upon their full entry in 2019.

A victory in Berlin helped Vandoorne to second within the standings, earlier than slipping to ninth general within the 2020/21 season. Nevertheless, Vandoorne lately returned to being a championship winner, as he was topped the 2021/22 Method E World Champion.

He’s set to race for DS Penske within the subsequent season of Method E.

Away from the all-electric championship, Vandoorne additionally raced with Jota Sport in LMP2 on the Le Mans 24 Hours, ending second in school in 2021, following up on ending third in LMP1 with SMP Racing in 2019.

Pierre Gasly (2016)

The Pink Bull junior drove for Prema in GP2 in 2016, pipping Antonio Giovinazzi to the title by simply eight factors. 2016 had been Gasly’s third 12 months within the class, having made his debut with Caterham in 2014 and racing with DAMS in 2015.

Switching to Tremendous Method in 2017, Gasly put a really spectacular marketing campaign to complete second general – lacking out on the title by simply half some extent, his failure to attain in his first two races an early hurdle to get better from.

Gasly additionally had the possibility to impress in Method E throughout a stand-in efficiency with Renault e.Dams, as he completed seventh in his first race, earlier than a near-podium end within the second – a final nook mistake which means he completed in fourth.

Such successes have been sufficient to persuade Pink Bull to present him an F1 alternative, and Gasly made his debut as a substitute for Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso in the direction of the top of 2017.

Scoring 5 factors finishes with Toro Rosso throughout 2018, with 29 factors general, Gasly was moved as much as Pink Bull as a substitute for the departing Daniel Ricciardo, partnering Max Verstappen.

Nevertheless, Gasly struggled for tempo and got here below rising stress to ship because the season wore on. Together with his confidence noticeably battered, Pink Bull dropped him again to Toro Rosso, the place he has raced ever since, though the staff at the moment are known as AlphaTauri.

Changing into a race winner in 2020 as he took the Italian Grand Prix victory, Gasly’s star has ascended noticeably as a key performer within the midfield – he’s at the moment signed to stay with the staff for 2023, though rumours have steered he may very well be set for a swap to Alpine.

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