JULY 4, 2004
Bridgestone to supply GP2
The official launch of the GP2 series took place at Magny-Cours with an announcement that Bridgestone will become the tyre supplier of the new championship.
There was a clear intention in the press conference to convince teams that the series will be cost-effective with news of a $1m bonus scheme. The cars will be sold ready to race for $250,000 each. This does not include spares nor the running costs of the teams and it will therefore be interesting to see how many teams decide that the new series makes economic sense. What is clear is that the current Formula 3000 teams have all the equipment necessary to continue with the same cars next year and do not seem to be particularly keen on investing in new machinery which they think is more costly than the cars they are now running.
It is worth noting that the current round of seat-hopping in Formula 3000 is largely driven by the fact that there are a lot of drivers with insufficient budgets to get through this year. Astromega ran into trouble at the weekend as a result of the last-minute decision by Jeffrey van Hooydonk to drive for Super Nova Racing. The Super Nova drive became available after Patrick Friesacher moved to Coloni Motorsport. That switch ousted van Hooydonk and he was set to go to Astromega to replace Jan Heylen but he changed his mind at the last minute and took Friesacher's seat, leaving Astromega with no driver. This resulted in a fine of $5000 although this was suspended because of the circumstances.
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