The long-standing need for sponsor support has now become a real “problem” for new drivers trying to break into formula one.
That is the claim of Andy Soucek, who in 2009 became the F2 champion but during the course of the 2010 season gave up his role as a test driver with Virgin.
The new Formula 2 champion is Dean Stoneman, who tested for Williams in Abu Dhabi. “I hope he gets the opportunity to progress to GP2,” said the British team’s engineering boss and co-owner Patrick Head.
Spaniard Soucek, on the other hand, is pushing for a 2011 role in formula one, but he admits the difficulty of the task.
“I am negotiating with several teams, some to be the main driver and others to be the third driver.
“As a driver you’ve always needed sponsors and support, but now I see a problem,” he is quoted by AS newspaper.
“In the current situation with reduced marketing and sponsorship in the world, there are other drivers that are backed politically or even by their countries.
“It means the prices (for F1 seats) have gone above what is ‘normal’, and the teams desperately need the money.
“You win in F3, F2, you do a test with Williams, you drive in GP2, Superleague, but compared to others who are already in F1 you see they have no such achievements.
“In the end it’s not important only to be good,” insisted Soucek.
But he is hopeful.
“We have to be patient, because I think the four or five (heavily backed) drivers I am referring to will need to show their talent, not just their finances.
“Those guys are coming first and from there the teams will look for better opportunities,” said Soucek.
He revealed that he is also talking to teams in Indycar and DTM.
“I will give everything to get to F1, but there are other options,” he admitted.
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