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GP Week : Issue 29
> F1NEWS> Zanarini backs Pantano F1 bid F1 DRIVER manager and GP2 Team Principal Enrico Zanarini has told GPWeek that GP2 Champion Giorgio Pantano is the only driver from the category who deserves a shot at Formula 1 in 2009. In an exclusive interview with GPWeek, Zanarini divulged that while Pantano will face an uphill battle against misconception and politics, the Italian is the only driver of the current generation who is ready for the next step. “He is a fantastic driver and he showed his speed and his capabilities this year in winning the championship,” Zanarini confirmed. “Giorgio is one of the best drivers around. The problem for him is that Formula 1 probably will not want him because of his age and because he’s been there before. But certainly he deserves the attention of every manager. “If it can happen for [2007 champion, Timo] Glock then it can happen for Giorgio.” Despite Pantano’s main rival Bruno Senna being linked with almost every team on the F1 grid, Zanarini believes that the Brazilian needs another season in GP2 before he is fully prepared for F1. “I think he’s not ready,”he said. “Obviously in the car he’s a very good driver, but he’s not ready yet. He’s not Hamilton or Rosberg.” Zanarini did, however, make special mention of Renault tester Lucas di Grassi, who finished just one point shy of Senna in the championship, but who may yet ultimately be overlooked by the Renault F1 Team in favour of Romain Grosjean. “Lucas showed that he is better than Grosjean and that he deserved all the consideration of his management group and should be helped in finding a place somewhere [in F1] because he’s a very nice guy and a very good driver. “He has all my respect.” Read the full interview on page 22 10