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GP Week : Issue 31
Short Straights GP3 to launch in 2010 n Renault supremo Flavio Briatore has admitted for the first time that he intends to take a step back from his role at the F1 team in 2009. The Italian is expected to appoint a new Director to take over a number of Briatore’s race responsibilities. Briatore will remain involved with the team in a reduced capacity. n Toro Rosso may not be for sale after all! A combination of the current economic climate making investment unlikely and Toro Rosso’s new found form are thought to have played on team co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s mind – to the degree that he has subsequently admitted that his 50 percent stake may no longer be up for sale. n Donington Park’s F1 project took a step closer towards realisation last week when the Tilke GmbH designs were accepted by local authorities. A decision over their suitability is expected towards the end of the year or early in the new year, giving Donington just over a year at the most to bring the venue up to scratch. n Beijing Gouan FC increased its lead in the SuperLeague Formula at the weekend with a win in race two at Zolder. Race 1 had gone to Liverpool who sit in third after the third round of the championship. PSV Eindhoven sits second, 22 points ahead of Liverpool and 14 behind Beijing. GP2 Series organisers have released the first small pieces of information about their much-vaunted GP3 Series. As the FIA F2 championship begins to take shape for a 2009 launch, GP2 organisers have announced that GP3 is set to make its debut in 2010, and will form a part of GP2 race weekends, meaning that GP3 will also become a Formula 1 support race. GP2 organisers announced that they have already been contacted by a number of manufacturers and that a decision on the designer, manufacturer and engine-supplier for the championship will be decided in due course. Also confirmed is that the car itself will be powered by a 2 litre 250bhp engine. This would seem to cement suggestions that the favourite basis for the GP3 Series will be the existing ‘Formula Master’. The news that the FIA’s F2 championship will feature as a support event at WTCC races, gives further credence to the Formula Master rumours, as FM has, until 2008, been a WTCC support championship and is likely to be edged out by F2. GP2 Organiser Bruno Michel said: “the philosophy behind the GP3 Series will be very similar to what we did in GP2 regarding the performance of the car, the control of the costs, the show, the safety and the training to access to the following category, but adjusted to the level of this new Series. “We will make sure that this Series will be as successful as GP2 in revealing young drivers able to jump to the next step. We are looking forward to 2010!” The concept has also gained the support of Bernie Ecclestone, who ultimately decides the support race package for F1 weekends. “After the tremendous success of the GP2 Series, I believe this GP3 Series will be an opportunity for drivers, engineers and mechanics who are making their way to Formula 1,”said Ecclestone. “I wish good luck to this Series.”