GP2 - GP2 to keep current car to cut costs

The GP2 Series will reuse its existing chassis for the fourth three-year lifecycle that begins next season as part of a cost-cutting exercise, AUTOSPORT can reveal.

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GP2 chief Bruno Michel has targeted a budget reduction of "more than 10 per cent" for his teams from 2014 in reaction to the ongoing economic crisis.

Already this season, two teams - iSport and Ocean Racing Technology - were forced out of the Formula 1 feeder series citing a lack of suitably-funded drivers.

A new Dallara had been produced for the previous three lifecycles, meaning teams have traditionally had to outlay the cost of the new chassis and factor it into their budgets for drivers across the three seasons.

"Ahead of the 10th year of GP2, generally speaking the series has been going very well," Michel told AUTOSPORT, "but the economic crisis has been hitting the industry. Everybody is feeling it.

"We understand now that it's quite difficult to find 26 drivers with that level of budget, so we have taken some steps to lower the cost of the series for next season and beyond.

"I can't give precise figures, because these will vary from one team to another, but these moves will allow them to decrease their costs by a significant percentage.

"We will stick with our current car, which means it no longer depreciates over three years but six.

"We will leave the option open to produce an update kit, like we did with GP3 this year, because the look of the 2014 F1 cars could change with the new engine formula, we don't know yet. But that will be a lot less than the cost of a new car, that's what we want to avoid."

OTHER COST CUTS TARGETED

GP2 has worked with its respective chassis and engine suppliers Dallara and Mecachrome to reduce the cost of spare parts, and is to review its calendar to decrease its freight costs.

It currently includes four flyaway events, but with the potential of adding Moscow (which its European-based teams would not have to fly kit to) and shifting freight by boat rather than plane whenever possible.

"If we achieve that, I believe we can cut our freight costs by 50 per cent," said Michel. "Our aim is to make sure all our teams are sustainable; we understand the market has changed.

"Between using the old car, the discounted spare parts and engines, the reduced freight costs and looking again at our calendar, at the end of the day this is a good package that teams can then pass on to the drivers in terms of the budgets they need. This will definitely make a positive impact on them."

As with previous lifecycles, teams will be invited to tender for the 2014-16 slots in the summer. Michel says that all of his existing squads have registered their interest in staying on, as well as some from outside the series too.

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