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F1 'sponsors' upcoming GP2 and GP3 drivers

NEWS STORY
29/04/2015

It has been revealed that F1 backs certain (unnamed) GP2 and GP3 drivers to "encourage the development of the sport in key markets".

The revelation comes in the prospectus for the planned floatation of the sport on the Singapore stock exchange in 2012 but which was eventually halted by the Eurozone crisis.

At 498 pages from time to time fresh nuggets are still unearthed in the prospectus, and sure enough page 166 contains a section on GP2.

According to a report in Forbes, the prospectus states that "from time to time, we sponsor GP2 and GP3 drivers to encourage the development of the sport in key markets".

The prospectus further states that F1's management "intend to develop and foster, via GP2 and GP3, drivers from new countries, regions and markets who are capable of progressing to Formula 1. Since the presence of a national driver in the competition can be a significant catalyst for the sport's popularity in a given country, we expect this initiative to further drive local market popularity and awareness of Formula 1, underpinning and developing our fan base and the value of our commercial rights."

Founded in 2005, to date only one GP2 champion has gone on to win the F1 title, Lewis Hamilton, though inaugural GP2 champ Nico Rosberg finished runner-up in the Formula One World Championship last year, ironically to Hamilton.

Indeed, other than Hamilton and Rosberg, 2010 GP2 champ Pastor Maldonado is the only title-winner to win an F1 Grand Prix. Furthermore, Maldonado is the only non-European to with the GP2 title.

GP3, which was launched in 2010, has seen three of its champions make the move up to F1, Esteban Gutierrez, Valtteri Bottas and Daniil Kvyat.

Whilst it would be naive to believe that all drivers making it to the so-called pinnacle of motorsport are doing it purely on merit and not courtesy of wealthy backers, there is something worrying about the prospect of certain drivers being helped up the ladder purely in an attempt to stimulate interest in certain regions in order to "encourage the development of the sport in key markets" and "develop the value of F1's commercial rights".

Which begs the question; would F1, in its bid to "stimulate interest" and "develop the value of its commercial rights", assist, for example, a female racing driver. After all, it's widely known that Bernie Ecclestone has taken a strong interest in Carmen Jorda's career.

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1. Posted by petes, 01/05/2015 4:52 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 01/05/2015 8:54)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

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2. Posted by gturner38, 30/04/2015 3:33

"The question to me is simple. Do we want a grid that represents the widest variety of nationalities or do we want a grid that represents the best collection of 20+ drivers in the world? For me, I want the best drivers in the world and I don't care if that means we have 13 Europeans and 5 Brazilians in the field. It's the reason why I have more respect for wins in World Cup skiing than Olympic skiing. When a country like Austria has 10 skiers in the top 25 in the World Cup but can only send 4 to the Olympics, it weakens the competition, and that's what happens when a spot is being saved for a driver based on nationality. "

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3. Posted by Vinicius, 29/04/2015 17:53

"I don't see any problem with that. Having russians, venezuelans, north-americans, mexicans, it's better than having 3 british, 3 brazilians, 2 italians, 5 germans... They are the best drivers in their countries, so it's a good thing to distribute. That's a world championship."

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