Photo: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service
GP2 endured a rocky start to its 2013 season on Friday, with the qualifying incident surrounding Johnny Cecotto – and subsequent (false) reporting of how the stewards dealt with it – prompting usual widestream criticism of the series on the web.
Sadly it seems, these days at least, that GP2 only gets any attention when something negative happens. When it does, the whole championship and everyone associated with it – intentionally or not – is criticised, rather than just the drivers involved. And that is grossly unfair on many.
As I have quite outspokenly written on more than one previous occasion, GP2’s costs are out of control and need to be tackled. The total quality of the grid is not the same as it once was, with a number of drivers only getting drives in the championship because they are in a minority with the necessary budget, rather than because of any achievements in the lower categories.
But the same should not be said for all 26 drivers. Some drivers have titles in competitive lower categories, and more than deserve to be on the GP2 grid. Given a chance, these drivers will prove to be the ones deserving of an F1 opportunity.
Driving standards have also come under scrutiny, with GP2 bearing the brunt of the criticism for high profile incidents in Formula 1 last year. Sometimes, there is some unacceptable driving. Sometimes, it isn’t punished appropriately. That’s another thing that does need to be tackled.
But not everyone is guilty of that unacceptable driving. There are drivers who can overtake cleanly and fairly. There are drivers who are mature enough not to intentionally drive a rival off the track when things don’t go their way. These drivers are the ones who will show themselves deserving of an F1 opportunity.
But even if they win this weekend, nobody will care. Because they’re in GP2, that championship where every driver is a spoilt rich kid. That championship where everyone is a dangerous driver who would cause a fatal accident if they bought themselves an F1 seat.
And that’s not fair.
It’s not fair on the good drivers. The drivers who have won year-on-year on their way up the ladder. The drivers who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth. The drivers who have had to work hard over the winter months to secure their place on the grid, who used their talent and results to secure external funding. And it’s not fair on those backers, who have stumped up millions of their own cash because they quite rightly believe in the talent of their drivers.
While Cecotto will have to make his 62nd GP2 race start from the back of the 26 car grid tomorrow, his new teammate, GP3 champion Mitch Evans, will make his debut from P5.
Don’t tar every GP2 driver with the same brush.