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GP Week : Issue 48
Launching GP2 French GP 1994 Manager, before switching his attention over to running the SuperTech engine programme in 1997. Many of the people he’d worked with at Ligier were brought in to help set up the GP2 project, amongst them Didier Perrin as Technical Director and Bernard Dudot, also with strong Renault links, as Director of Engineering. The GP2 team is one that has a lot on its plate. At the start of 2008 GP2 launched the GP2 Asia Series and Michel’s small operational team of series organisers had a doubled workload. With the launch of a new GP3 imminent as a feeder for GP2, does he intend to use the same team again? “Let’s say that for the moment I have not hired anybody for GP3, so it means that all the development of the project has been done through the GP2 team. Now we are assessing the way we are going to get organised, knowing that of course GP2 and GP3 are going to be very close together. I think we need to use the experience of the people of the GP2 team in running GP3, but on the other hand they won’t be able to do everything. At some point, if I’m not careful, they’re all going to die so I need to be careful.” But what exactly is going on with GP3? A recent press release told us that Dallara and Renault will make the transition from GP2 to GP3, but that it will be Pirelli providing the tyres for the new championship. With GP2 firmly established now as the best route to F1, Michel hopes 3 that GP3 will come to be seen as the best route to GP2. “GP3 will be run on F1 weekends in Europe plus when GP2 does a stand-alone race GP3 will come along with GP2. It will be very much derived from what has made the success of GP2. So the car is going to be of high performance, quite difficult to drive, exactly the same concept as we have in GP2 to try to create the same kind of show. We will also learn from the mistakes we had in GP2 and from what has not been working to try to make it work for GP3, try to make sure that the costs are kept as low as possible for this kind of performance of car and to make sure that the market can absorb this series and make it successful.” With the global economic crisis affecting every branch of motorsport, Michel is well aware that his championship, as every other, has to tighten its belt. “We have introduced quite drastic cost reduction measures for the GP2 main series that are starting to be implemented with a number of employee caps for instance, and limited track, wind tunnel and seven post rig testing. We have decreased the cost of the most consumed parts of the car. Asia was already in the middle of the season when the crisis arrived, so we are looking at the situation for Asia. The third year will take place at the end of this year and we will look into trying to cut the costs in Asia which can be achieved I would say a little bit more easily through