|The 2014 GP2 Series gets underway this weekend in Bahrain and Racing Engineering will be entering their two new drivers, former GP2 race-winner Stefano Coletti and FIA European F3 Champion Raffaele Marciello. Below Racing Engineering’s President Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón looks back at the Spanish team’s time in GP2 and forward to the new 2014 season.
2014 is the 10th GP2 season and Racing Engineering has participated in the championship since the very beginning. Before looking at the upcoming season, are you happy with what Racing Engineering has achieved in GP2 so far?
We have consistently been among the top teams during these 10 years, so the results have been on par with the effort the whole team has put in. The driver championships for Giorgio Pantano in 2008 and Fabio Leimer in 2013 have been the culmination of this work and we are extremely proud of it. Our intention has never been to win the team championship, but if it did happen, it would be a great achievement, but it is not our priority. What is impressive is that most of the team members have been with us since the beginning of the championship or even before. This not only adds stability, but also makes the workload more fluid and with fewer mistakes because everyone knows each other. It is privilege to work with such a great group of people.
The first race of the 2014 takes place this weekend in Bahrain, where Racing Engineering had a very strong performance in 2013. Can we expect a similar result in 2014?
We hope so, but with some of the changes Pirelli has made, there are still some parameters that need to be considered. I won't go into details, but there is still a lot of work to be done. With the experience of Coletti, if we manage to qualify in a decent start position, it should be a good race. As for Marciello, he is learning at an amazing pace, so we should see some interesting results for him this weekend as well.
With Stefano Coletti and Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering has a very strong line-up. What are the expectations for this season?
Coletti comes with a great deal of experience, although we had to do a lot of work during the pre-season testing to adapt the car to his liking. The disadvantage has been not to have tested him at the end of last season, so we had to learn about his style of driving during pre-season testing and work from there. As for Marciello, the fact that he tested with us at the end of last season has allowed us to prepare everything with much more time and hit the ground running at the first test. It was quite useful since we had a good amount of data to work with this winter for him. As a driver, he is quite impressive. You can see that racing in Euro F3 has prepared him well. He is great to work with and a good team player. He and Coletti work well and understand each other, something that is rare in a team, but a great advantage for them.
The 2014 field looks very strong and it can be expected that we see a lot of great races with tight battles. Who are the main contenders for the championship?
Both our drivers are contenders for the title, which is why we chose to work with them. There are other drivers who are very strong this season such as Jolyon Palmer or even Mitch Evans. But in the end, our main objective is to get both our drivers in the top positions. I think that if we get both in the top three this season, it is very ambitious, but perfectly feasible since they both have the talent and the speed to achieve this.