Lotus junior team AirAsia confirms 2011 GP2 line-up

Brazil's Luiz Razia and Italy's Davide Valsecchi will race for team in the GP2 Asia and GP2 main series

By Gareth Llewellyn
team air asia
(Photo: Team AirAsia)

team air asia

Team AirAsia has revealed an experienced driver line-up for its debut season in the GP2 Asia and GP2 main series for 2011.

Brazilian Luiz Razia and Italian Davide Valsecchi have both competed with various teams in GP2 since 2008 and recently tested for Tony Fernandes’ team at the Yas Marina ahead of the start of the GP2 Asia Series later this month.

Valsecchi won the GP2 Asia championship last year and finished a credible eighth in the main series for iSport International. The 24-year-old previously raced for the now defunct Durango team in 2008-09 before switching to Barwa Addax and then iSport.

Razia first entered GP2 Asia for the 2008-9 season with Trust Team Arden, before moving to Fisichella Motor Sport for the 2009 GP2 main series for Fisichella Motor Sport and then again to Scuderia Coloni.

He then spent a full season with Rapax for the 2010 championship in which he finished 11th.

“Luiz and Davide will be driving for us this season,” confirmed team principal Riad Asmat. “They bring us a wealth of talent and experience in GP2 with a proven record of strong results, so we are very excited about the season ahead. Team AirAsia is the perfect platform for young talent to develop.”

The drivers were widely tipped to be confirmed as the team’s drivers after they were selected to test in Abu Dhabi and Valsecchi showed promise by finishing in the top 10 in both sessions on day two.

“I am so happy to be part of Team AirAsia this season,” said Valsecchi. “It’s such a great championship and the team and I have a lot to look forward to in GP2. I intend to draw on my GP2 experience and work closely with the team to get the best results possible with one aim–to win the 2011 championship.”

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Team AirAsia and bringing my sponsors to be part of the 2011 GP2 series,” said Razia.

“My relationship with the team is already fantastic and Team AirAsia has a very exciting future ahead. I’ll use my experience to give my best in the GP2 championship and I’m sure that with the calibre of people involved in Team AirAsia we will achieve success very soon and be challenging for points, podiums and race wins whenever possible.”

Team AirAsia is one of two new entrants to GP2 this season along with Carlin, as Durango and David Price Racing formally leave the Series.

The team, seen as a junior outfit for Fernandes’ Formula 1 entry Team Lotus, shares its headquarters with Team Lotus in Hingham, Norfolk and will share resources and technical staff.

It is expected that both drivers will be given the opportunity to take part in Friday morning practice sessions with Team Lotus throughout the 2011 with a view to securing a drive in the sport.

Alongside his GP2 duties in 2010, Razia was also the official test driver for Team Lotus rivals Virgin Racing, while Valsecchi made his F1 testing debut with Hispania Racing.

The first race of the GP2 Asia Series takes place at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina on 11-12 February with the main series kicking off as a support race to the Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park on 7-8 May.

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