NOVEMBER 11, 2013

GP2 struggling to make mark as F1 feeder

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko has joined his McLaren counterpart in criticising the official F1 feeder series, GP2.

The 2012 GP2 champion, Davide Valsecchi, has sat out the entire 2013 season so far as Lotus' reserve driver.

And Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that first and second in this year's series, champion Fabio Leimer and runner-up Sam Bird, have "no chance" of moving into F1 for 2014.

At the very same time, the completely separate Formula Renault 3.5 series has seen the McLaren-backed juniors Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne dominate in 2013.

And behind the McLaren pair this year was Red Bull's Antonio Felix da Costa, even though the energy drink company plucked Russian Daniil Kvyat straight out of GP3 to move into F1 with Toro Rosso for next season.

McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh recently said the Renault 'world series' is a "much higher quality championship than GP2".

Red Bull's Dr Marko agrees: "It (GP2) is far too expensive. It costs EUR 5 million per driver, while in GP3 it (the cost) is 600,000."

Marko also criticised the quality of the latest GP2 drivers, explaining that no Lewis Hamilton (2006) or Romain Grosjean (2011)-like standout has emerged recently.

The latest reports, meanwhile, suggest new Formula Renault 3.5 champion Magnussen is now on the verge of being confirmed as Sergio Perez's race replacement at McLaren for 2014.

Runner-up Vandoorne, meanwhile, is in McLaren driver Jenson Button's management stable.

But the 2009 world champion said: "F1 (in 2014) would be a year too early for Stoffel."