|Just four days after the last race of the 2014 GP2 Series all the teams are back in action in Abu Dhabi for the annual post-season test which starts on Thursday 27th November and continues on Friday and Saturday. The six drivers are Italy’s Raffaele Marciello, Canadian Nicholas Latifi, Frenchman Norman Nato, Malaysian Jazeman Jaafar, Swiss Simon Trummer and New Zealander Mitch Evans.
Canadian Nicholas Latifi is nineteen years old and he started his racing career in Canadian karting from 2009 to 2012 winning the Florida Winter Tour in a Rotax DD2, he then competed in the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge driving a Mustang before switching to the Italian F3 European Series, winning at Vallelunga and finishing 7th in the series. Nicholas then concentrated on F3 competing in the Cooper British F3 International Series where he finished 5th and in the FIA Formula 3 Championship taking 15th place. In 2014 Nicholas raced again in the FIA Formula 3 Championship taking 10th and finishing 5th at the Macau Grand Prix, he also competed in the Renault World Series taking a best position of second in the final race of the year at Jerez. In the final race of the 2014 GP2 Series at Abu Dhabi Nicholas made his debut showing a competitive turn of speed.
Twenty-two year old Frenchman Norman Nato began karting in 1998 winning the French K72 Championship before moving to the Formula Renault F4 Eurocup in 2010 finishing as runner-up with two wins. In 2011 he moved up to Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 taking two podiums as well as a podium in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup. Norman continued in the Eurocup in 2012 winning his first race at Spa and finishing 4th in the Championship as well as finishing runner-up to current F1 driver Daniil Kyvat in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps. 2013 and 2014 has seen the Frenchman racing in the World Series by Renault where he was 13th in his debut season and 7th this year with two wins and two podiums.
Jazeman Jaafar is twenty-two years old and was born in Malaysia and he began his career in karting, racing in Malaya and Belgium before moving up to Asian Formula Renault in 2006 at the age of thirteen taking 3rd place after four podium finishes and in 2007 Jazeman won the Formula BMW Asia Championship. For the next two years he raced in European Formula BMW finishing 14th in 2008 and 9th in 2009 and in 2010 he switched to the British F3 Championship where he raced for three years finishing 2nd in his final season. 2013 saw Jazeman compete in World Series by Renault with a best finish of 3rd at Monaco and in 2014 he took 10th in the Championship with podiums at Monaco and Spa.
Swiss driver Simon Trummer is twenty-five years old and he began racing in karting in 2003 before graduating to single-seaters in 2006 racing in Formula Lista Junior. In 2007 and 2008 he raced in the Formula Renault 2.0 Suisse Championship finishing 7th in his debut season and runner-up in the following year. After two seasons in the GP3 Series Simon then made his debut in the GP2 Series in the 2011 non-championship end-of-year race at the Yas Marina circuit before running full seasons from 2012 to date. His best finish so far was this season when he finished 2nd in the opening round at Bahrain.
New Zealander Mitch Evans is twenty years old and he won karting championships in his home country before moving on to Formula Ford where he was a consistent winner. He continued to win races in both the Australian F3 Championship and New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series. Mitch then moved to international racing in 2011 when he entered the GP3 Series and won at Barcelona finishing 9th overall. He continued in GP3 in 2012 and he won three races and took three other podium places to win the Series. In 2013 Mitch had his first season in GP2 where he finished 14th after four podium positions and this year he has taken 4th in the Series with two wins and four other podium finishes and he has been a consistent front-runner throughout the year.
Raffaele Marciello (Lello) has of course been racing this season with the Racing Engineering team and the nineteen year old Italian (born in Switzerland) has already shown that he has a promising future in front of him. After five years of karting Lello 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 he 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 Lello won the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with 13 wins in the 30 race series. In 2014 he took his first win is GP2 with a commanding win in appalling conditions at Spa as well as four podium finishes, a pole position and a fastest lap.