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GP Week : Issue 29
>>F1 INSIGHT Lucas di Grassi Nationality: BRA Age: 24 F1 Experience: Test / reserve driver Renault F1 Team Career Highlight: GP2 top 3, 2007 & 2008. 2005 Macau F3 Champion Enrico Says: “Lucas showed he is better than Grosjean. He impressed me and he has all my respect.” Bruno Senna Nationality: BRA Age: 25 F1 Experience: Demo runs in a number of his Uncle’s F1 cars. Career Highlight: 2nd in 2008 GP2 Series including victory in Monaco. Enrico Says: “He’s not ready for F1. He needs another year of GP2.” I’m not sure if they do believe so … this is why they have so many problems. Finally then, Lucas di Grassi. How impressive do you think he was given that he missed a third of the season? Lucas di Grassi showed that he is better than [fellow RDD driver, Romain] 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. Again, I’m not sure if he’s Formula 1 material 100 percent but he’s better than the other guy who for sure will be given another chance, because Grosjean will be given another chance in GP2 to show to everybody that he’s strong. But if you go back into history, all the drivers that made it into Formula 1 didn’t have to go for a second season. On the contrary, all these guys are doing it three or four times and this is what the team managers look at, you know? Is that not a problem with the simple fact that there are no drives coming up in F1? As you say, this season there’s probably only one seat at Toro Rosso. So if Giorgio Pantano is ready for F1, di Grassi has shown himself to be very good … if there aren’t the seats to move into, surely you spend another year doing GP2? This is quite correct. Lucas certainly seemed more relaxed this year than last, I think because he never thought he had a realistic shot at the title so he was just racing for fun. Do you think that made the difference? It’s difficult. When you don’t work with a driver, it’s almost impossible to read what’s inside his head. But definitely he impressed me because coming in like that and immediately showing such authority, contributing to the final victory of Campos in the championship, they must have been delighted. They were given a driver [Ben Hanley] who was going nowhere and has now disappeared completely from the face of the earth, and coming into a team which was already a bit shocked and a bit uncertain about their potential, and he pushed so hard to bring the result home. He has all my respect. Lucas has all my respect. So moving back to the champion one final time, what percentage chance has Giorgio Pantano of being in Formula 1 in 2009? 50:50. And the best team for him in Formula 1? Anybody that has a seat … either that or help from the gods. And where do you expect him to be in 2009? Maybe a team will consider him again. If not, GP2 could be a class for him. I mean, he gets paid to race, so why not race again? I’m sure there would be a team that will offer him a seat again. But it’s up to his manager for their strategy, it’s not up to me to tell him what to do. 27