|Just two days after the last race of the 2013 GP2 Series all the teams are back in action in Abu Dhabi for the annual post-season test.
Racing Engineering will be giving six drivers the opportunity to drive their cars on the 5.554km Yas Marina circuit. On Tuesday the 5th of November the English driver Jolyon Palmer and Indonesian Rio Haryanto will be in the Spanish team’s cars and on the following day, Wednesday the 6th, it will be the turn of Brazilian André Negrão and Swiss Nico Müller. For the final day, Thursday the 8th, it will be the turn of New Zealand’s Mitch Evans and Italy’s Raffaele Marciello.22 year old Jolyon Palmer, the son of former F3 and F2 Champion and Grand Prix driver Jonathon, began his career in karts before moving up to T Cars and then Formula Palmer Audi, finishing 3rd in the 2008 championship. He then did two seasons in the FIA Formula Two Championship, finishing 2nd in 2010, before moving up to the GP2 Series in 2011. His first season saw him finish 28th and he improved to 11th in the following year, taking his first win in the Monaco Sprint Race with two more podium finishes at Silverstone and Monza.
The 2013 season has seen Jolyon race very competitively all year to take wins at Budapest and Singapore and he finished 7th in the 2013 GP2 Series.
Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto is 20 years old and he first came to prominence when he won the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific Championship, winning 11 out of the 15 rounds in the series. The following year Rio took part in the GP3 Series winning, at Istanbul Park and taking two other podiums for 5th in the Championship, he continued in the Series in 2011 adding victories at the Nürburgring and the Hungaroring. After a one-off GP2 drive in 2011 he did a full season in 2012 with a best result of 5th at the Nürburgring and in 2013 he continued in the category finishing 2nd in the Sprint Race at Silverstone and took 19th place in the Drivers’ Championship.
21 year old André Negrão, who was born in Sao Paulo the birthplace of racing legends Ayrton Senna and Emerson Fittipaldi, has been racing in the World Series by Renault for the last three seasons. In 2013 André took pole position at the Hungaroring and finished 3rd at Paul Ricard and ended the season in 10th place with 51 points, his best season in this category.
Prior to this Andre raced in the Formula Renault 2.0 series in Italy and Portugal and in 2010 moved up to the FR 2.0 Eurocup where he proved his developing talent with a pole position and a podium finish in this very competitive series. He has also raced in the Brazil F3 Open taking a pole position and scoring several podium finishes. André has previously tested for Racing Engineering at Barcelona in October 2012.
Nico Müller is Swiss and the 21 year old started racing Karts in 2004 before moving up to Formula Renault 2.0 in 2008 and winning the Swiss Championship in 2009. For 2010 Nico moved up to GP3 and, in a very impressive debut season, he won at Valencia and the Hungaroring to finish 3rd in the Championship. Remaining in GP3 for 2011 he won at Silverstone and finished on the podium at Spa and Monza. Two seasons in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series followed with a best result in 2012 of 2nd at the Nürburgring and in 2013 Nico won at Monaco and the Hungaroring to finish 5th in the Championship.
New Zealander Mitch(ell) Evans is 19 years old and, after starting in Karts, he raced in the Australian Formula Ford Championship, finishing as runner-up before moving up to Australian Formula 3 where he finished 2nd and the Toyota Racing Series which he won in both 2010 and 2011. Mitch also competed in the 2011 GP3 Series winning at Barcelona and finishing 9th in the Championship. For 2012 Mitch stayed in GP3 winning at Barcelona, Valencia and Hockenheim to become the Series Champion. This year has seen the young Kiwi competing in the GP2 Series where he has shown a lot of speed taking podiums at Sepang, Monaco (twice) and the Hungaroring and finishing the season in 14th place.
Raffaele Marciello is an 18 year old Italian (born in Switzerland) who has already shown that he has a promising future in front of him. After five years of karting Raffaele switched to single-seaters in 2010 as he raced in the Formula Abarth Championship finishing 3rd. It was Formula 3 racing in 2011 as the young Italian finished 3rd in the Italian Championship with two wins. Continuing in the same class in 2012 Raffaele finished 3rd in the Formula 3 Euro Series with 6 wins and 2nd in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with 7 wins. In 2013 Raffaele won the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with 13 wins in the 30 race series.